by Rebecca Menning
Pastor Joe here. I’ve asked my good friend Rebecca Menning to share some thoughts with us about how she and her family are navigating these times. Rebecca is a passionate follower of Jesus, one of our lay counselors, a Pastoral Development graduate, a volunteer in the community and in ministry, and a disciple-maker. I’m excited for you to hear her thoughts. She writes:
We are a few weeks into lockdown mode in Wisconsin, and it still seems so surreal to my husband Tony, our small children and me. This pandemic is affecting each of us a little differently, but we are all touched by it somehow. It leaves me asking, “How can I cultivate peace in our home right now? How can we survive and even thrive together under such difficult circumstances? How can we nurture and nourish our marriage and relationship?” I’ve been praying about this a lot recently and asking the Lord for wisdom to know what our home and family life should look like right now. I encourage you to do the same, according to this encouraging promise from the book of James:
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
JAMES 1:5, ESV
Here are some reminders that are helping our family right now. I hope they bless yours too:
1. Remember Who you serve
As disciples of Jesus Christ, we serve the living God. We belong to Him, we are known by Him, we are loved by Him. He has made us into new creations, adopted us as sons and daughters, invited us into His kingdom. Saturating yourself in scriptures describing who God is and what He’s like gives much needed perspective in the midst of the storm.
2. Make space for each other’s emotions
We all have different ways of processing what’s going on, and there’s no right or wrong way to feel. Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 reminds us that ‘For everything there is a season…. A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance.’ Romans 12:15 speaks of true empathy as part of living peaceably with one another, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Don’t judge others for how they are coping in the moment; but seek to be there for each other in the way that each person needs.
3. Communicate clearly
My husband and I have developed a ritual of asking each other every morning, “What are you hoping for today?” This is incredibly helpful so we can start the day with the other person’s needs in mind. Maybe he has a scheduled conference call, or I have a time-sensitive email to send, or a phone call that needs to be made. Stating needs and expectations early on helps us care for each other well and eliminate miscommunication. Are you being vulnerable and sharing your needs with your spouse? Are you committed to helping them achieve their goals for the day? Our marriages can really get stronger during this time if we make that a priority.
4. Make the most of the time
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
EPHESIANS 5:15-17 ESV
There has never been a time in history quite like this. How can we make the best use of this time? If you are home with your family, now is the time to be intentional. What kind of memories are you making with your kids? How are you pursuing and wooing your spouse? How are you reaching out to those who do not know the hope of Jesus?
Now is the time to “consider how to stir up one another to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24, ESV) and create a culture of service in your home. This involves creativity during this time, and you’ll find your kids are full of good ideas! By following God’s Word and living it out in our homes during this time, we can experience peace in our homes, strengthen our marriages, and shepherd our kids well. I’m so thankful God has instructed us with His living Word so we know how to live in every challenge life presents.