The week of March 8th, 2020 feels like one that will be engrained in my memories for the rest of my days. “Coronavirus” had become a household term, the jokes were clogging our Facebook feeds, and cruise ships coming back to the United States were being quarantined. My husband had been telling me for several weeks prior to be ready for the possibility that Coronavirus could hit the United States fast and hard, and that it likely meant sheltering in place with our family for a period of time. To which he assured me “You won’t have to do it alone.”
That week, we were taking care of the final plans for our spring break trip to Florida, but I could sense that things were changing quickly. Cities on the west and east coasts were issuing shelter-in-place orders, and the “stay home” hashtags were popping up on social media. I thought through some of the simple pleasures of life that might be put on pause and tried to make sure to cram them in to our week: lingering in the coffee shop, ruining our supper with “Here’s The Scoop” ice cream on our way home from school, and enjoying dinner out with friends.
Throughout the week, the inevitable toilet paper jokes began, but the actual panic was evident as I entered Costco and watched the people head to the toilet paper aisle in droves. Rare was the passed cart that didn’t have a case, as I checked off our grocery list. As the last pallet of toilet paper emptied, I noticed a woman following people around the store waiting on the abandoned cart to find her opportunity to purchase some. Honestly, it was an eerie feeling and I began to wonder if this is how heading to the grocery store would always look, from now on.
As our children played at home that evening, my husband and I began to discuss the distinct possibility that on Monday morning our children would not be returning to the school building. That he would likely not be headed in to his office, and the feeling that things were beginning to feel, different. But, as I watched my children at play, the peace of the Holy Spirit came over me, and laid on my heart “I know what is going on, I am in control, I have given you enough for today”. I snapped a quick picture of my children at play, and fired off a quick text to a friend that said “quarantine us for 14 days, we’ll be fine”.
I clearly remember picking my children up from school the next day. As I watched them come out of school, a couple of tears slid down my face. We had been paying close enough attention at home to be prepared that our kids would not be headed back to school for a few weeks, and likely not at all. And yet, as the announcements came about at the end of March that schools in Iowa would not open for the remainder of the school year, my heart was grieved again.
The 2019-2020 school year was our family’s first year as a part of the Morning Star Academy family, and I was sad to watch it end prematurely and abruptly. I suddenly felt that they had been robbed of precious time and memories. And yet again, the Holy Spirit quickly laid on my heart “I know what is going on, I knew that this is how their first year at Morning Star was going to look, and you can do this one day at a time.”
As we continued to navigate distance learning and “crisis schooling,” a close friend and I talked through that same sentiment, one day at a time. Within days of that conversation, it was Easter Sunday. That morning, I received an e-mail from my mom. She was sharing a link to the sermon from her church, and encouraged me to watch, because the pastor was sharing a story about my dad (whom we had lost to cancer in May of 2019). The sermon was answering the question, “Where do we put our hope?”. The pastor had walked closely with my dad during his battle, and was sharing words from some of the last pages of my dad’s journal. “This is my walk with the Lord. One day a a time. God is my refuge and strength, my ever present help in trouble. I rely on the Lord Jesus Christ to carry me through. I turn myself over to his strength.” One day at a time.
I have been learning, through all of this, that when we stop putting our hope in things of this world (for me, through this: vacation, our children’s education and activities, social gatherings, friends, and being in control of our schedule), and shift our hope to the Savior, who has taught us to pray “give us this day our daily bread.” (Matthew 6:11) we begin to better know our Savior that reminds us that we should not worry about tomorrow (v 34). While we sleep, our Father is at work. When we knock, He answers (Matthew 7:7). When we put our hope in the Risen King, who has won victory over the grave, we can put our eyes on eternity and find our refuge in God. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)