These past weeks, most of us have had a lot more time that is “free.” Due to the current pandemic that has been infecting people across our nation and our world, most of us are home and not running around with our typical activities.
There are those who are out on the frontlines of the medical field that are battling this virus and doing all that they are able to keep us safe and healthy and to help those in need. To those workers, we thank you with all of our hearts for your courage and for your work and for all that you do each day. We thank all those in “essential services” for all that you have done and continue to do to provide for our community, state, country, and world. I am so grateful for each one of you.
I wanted to write about time in this blog as I know first hand that when trauma and tragedy come into our lives that our perspective on time changes. For my daughters and I, when my husband died in August 2011 and my only 18 year old son died in June 2013, then our world and perspectives were forever changed. Suddenly, we knew with each part of us, how quickly time passes and how priceless each moment is. Nothing had prepared us for transitioning from a family of five to a family of three in just 22 brief months. The girls and I look at time very differently now. We miss our guys so much, and we are so thankful for any time that the three of us have together. We know that each moment together is truly a priceless gift that can never be replaced.
For those families that have suffered through this pandemic whether it is by death or serious illness, their perspective of time has changed as well. Tragically, they are desiring more time with the loved one who has died, and they are grieving their loss. Perhaps, they have the blessing to be celebrating their loved one that has recovered and who now they have more time with.
During this pandemic, some have spent their time in anxiety and fear about the possibility of being infected with the virus themselves or that their loved ones may become infected. Many people are spending time in worry regarding their financial needs as they are currently unemployed and are unsure of how they are going to pay their incoming bills. There are essential workers who are feeling much anxiety about also being infected with the virus. All of these feelings are understandable due to the current situation that we all are in together; however, many of our circumstances vary greatly.
The key is what are we doing with the time that we have been given and with these feelings. How are we handling these emotions that we might be experiencing? What are we doing with this time that we have been given?
For those who have had a loved one die recently, then this is a very difficult time to be grieving. Grief is painful and often isolative for those who are walking through it. However, to be grieving during these times of social distancing and sheltering in place hurts my heart for all of those in that season of their lives. For people who are in pain and/or grieving, community is so important for them to know that they are not alone on this journey. How painful it is first of all to experience the death of your loved one, but then for you not to be surrounded by family and friends during this time makes my heart hurt for each one who is experiencing this.
I want to encourage any of you who are grieving and/or in pain to please reach out to others in your lives and to not suffer your losses on your own. I pray that you would know that you are not alone and that God is with you each step of this journey.
“Do not fear: I am with you; do not be anxious: I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. Isaiah 41:10
If any of you know those who are grieving and/or in pain then please make an effort to consistently reach out to them. We can do this through a variety of ways that we have still available to us during this time whether it is through talking on the phone, texting, emailing, messaging, facetiming, etc. We need to pay attention to those in our lives who are in need and are hurting. It is important that we continue to reach out to them, to connect with them, and to remind them that they are not alone. Even if they do not respond the first or second time, then please just continue to reach out in God’s love. Besides loving God Himself with all of our heart, soul, and mind, there is nothing greater that we are asked to do then to love our neighbors as ourselves. Keep reaching out in love to those in need and who are hurting. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. It is crucial that we are all consistent in sharing His love and our time.
For some of you, you may be feeling overwhelmed with the new responsibilities of educating your children and working from home. This time at home may very well give you a new appreciation for the teachers and school personnel throughout our country. Hopefully, when your children return to school, then you will bring this appreciation to the teachers and school staff. Please remind them often of the gratitude that you have for their special roles in the lives of your children. For those of us who have had a child die, it may hurt our hearts to feel that parents are overwhelmed by having their children at home with them when we would give about anything to have our child who died back at home with us. These feelings do not minimize the feelings of the parents who may be struggling at home with their children. This is a part of the changed perspective that I mentioned earlier that trauma and tragedy bring. I share it to plead with you to please treasure each moment that you have with your child…. you will never regret it if you do. 🙂
The trauma and tragedy that we experience in our lives shapes our perspectives and how we view the circumstances that we are faced with. Whatever circumstances that we have already journeyed through can be used to share what we have learned during those times with others. One lesson that I have learned is summarized well from an unknown source that says,
“Time is non-refundable, use it with intention.”
My girls have also learned a great deal about being intentional with their time and actions. It has been a tremendous blessing as their mom to watch their growth in this area. I still continue to challenge myself in this area of being intentional in how I am using my time. As with most of us, I am pleased with some of my progress in this area; however, I still see continued opportunities for growth in this area of my life as well. Will you join me in challenging yourself to be intentional in how you are spending your time? Will you join me in realizing that we will not get any of the moments that have passed returned to us? Will you join me in knowing that each moment that we have is a gift and let’s challenge each other to treat it as such?
Another quote that I love that is centered on the issue of time is from Benjamin Franklin. He said,
“Never leave ’till tomorrow which you can do today.”
This is a great challenge that we can each do right now from our homes. What are we able to accomplish today? How often do we put off something that we can do today because we don’t “feel” like doing it or we choose to use our time in nonproductive ways? In regards to nonproductive time then I am not referring to the issue of rest. I do believe that each of us should take time to rest and treat our bodies well in that area. However, we may be able to cut down some hours of Netflix or tv watching to accomplish some things that we do not need to put off until tomorrow. This is a personal challenge to me. I am trying to evaluate what I can do each day and how to be productive in it. However, that does not mean that each day that this happens. Sometimes, I look back on my days, and I clearly see choices that I made that were not the best decisions in how to spend my time. What I do believe that we should all do in those circumstances is to learn from it and to do our best to make better decisions tomorrow. I don’t believe in dwelling in what we could have or should have done. I believe that we learn from it and then set out to make better decisions tomorrow.
“… making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16
I hope that each of you will join me in making the most of our time. I want to do better each day. Let us look at each area of our lives and improve what we can with the time that we have. Spiritually, let us use this time to grow closer in our relationship with The Lord and to spend more time in His word and in prayer. Let us spend more time reaching out to others in His love so that the people in our lives will be touched and blessed by His love shining through us. Physically, let us use this time to take good care of our bodies through good rest, healthy eating, and exercise. Emotionally, let us continue to heal from past hurts, forgive others who have hurt us, and to focus our hearts and minds on positive and beneficial things for ourselves and others. Let us challenge ourselves to grow in as many ways as we each personally are able to.
“My times are in Your Hands…” Psalm 31:15
Most importantly, let us remember that each moment that we have is a priceless gift from God. Let us seek His will for our lives. Let us tell Jesus that we are sorry for our past sins, receive His forgiveness, and to start anew today. Thank God that His mercy is made new every morning, and that His faithfulness is Greater than we can begin to understand. Thank God that nothing can separate us from His love. Thank God for each blessing that we have in our lives. Let us live in gratitude and pursue growth in all areas of our lives.
The girls and I thank each of you with all of our hearts for the time that you have invested in us whether by prayer, time spent reaching out, or time spent together. We are thankful to God for each moment that we have shared together. We are thankful for all of the love and prayers that you have poured into our lives. We are forever grateful for the special ways that you have blessed us with the gift of your time. We pray that you keep blessing others with your time and sharing His love. We love you all and thank God for each of you. Please continue to reach out on the email that is on here if you would like as we love hearing from and connecting with each of you!!
In closing, we wanted to leave you with the words of the beautiful song “The Prayer” (Celine Dion Lyrics) that are written out below. Additionally, you may listen to the song on the link below sang beautifully by a father-daughter duo 🙂
“I pray You’ll be our eyes, and watch us where we go. And help us to be wise in times when we don’t know. Let this be our prayer, when we lose our way. Lead us to the place, guide us with Your grace, to a place where we’ll be safe. I pray we’ll find Your Light and hold it in our hearts. When stars go out each night, The Light is where You are. Let this be our prayer, when shadows fill our day… Lead us to a place, Guide us with Your Grace, To a place where we’ll be safe. A world where pain and sorrow will be ended and every heart that’s broken will be mended. And we’ll remember we are all God’s children reaching out to touch You reaching to the sky. We ask that life be kind and watch us from above. We hope each soul will find another soul to love. Let this be our prayer… just like every child needs to find a place. Guide us with Your Grace. Give us faith so we’ll be safe.”