A year ago last week, the world as we knew it came to a halt. Schools shut their doors for an “extended break”. Little did we know it would be close to a year before many would return. Week by week, day by day, we adapted to new norms.
Many of us learned how to do school at home, work from home, and ration toilet paper. Some of us learned to push past our fears and go to work regardless of the risk. All of us learned how to ZOOM and wear masks. Some of us lost jobs. Some of us lost loved ones.
We shared what resources we had with those in need and learned how to worship from home as a family. Every time we got close to finding our stride, things changed again and we had to adapt. The journey from March 13, 2020 to March 13, 2021 has been sobering.
BEAUTY AMIDST THE CHAOS
As I reflect back on the past 365 days, I’m struck by the beauty amidst the broken chaos.
Beauty that was clearly ordained by the creator of the universe. Beauty that I might have missed or taken for granted if the world hadn’t stopped turning on March 13, 2020.
The insurmountable heaviness of pandemic showed me my finiteness. It showed me I am nothing on my own. It reminded me of my brokenness and need of a Savior. The yoke was too heavy to do on my own. I had to learn to humbly walk in tandem and fully receive all the grace as a means of daily survival. All the unmerited grace, every . . . single . . . day.
I struggled with the frequency I was begging for it initially. Before pandemic, when life seemed more manageable and predictable, I knew grace, accepted it and was thankful for it, but I didn’t receive it or seek it on the daily. It was more episodic. In pandemic though, I was so stinking overwhelmed on all fronts of my life that I had no choice but to learn to cling to grace, to beg for it, to drink it in.
And somewhere in that desperate acceptance of grace on the hourly, God helped my head and heart understand the fullness of his wonderful grace. How little I have to do or strive to do, that his lavish grace has nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him and what He did on the cross through his Son. A free gift not intended to be calculated and mixed in with my ability to do anything.
God used the chaos to bestow beauty and help me internalize his greatness in a personal way.
CREATION AMIDST THE CHAOS
The Spirit has also been moving in children’s ministry. We often think of Genesis when we think of creation. God wasn’t done there.
While the world closed down, God poured out his Spirit on our 43 acres and created:
- He formed infrastructure to do virtual services.
- He utilized our tent to house in-person worship.
- He created a virtual VBS.
- His joy bubbled out all over summer camp.
- He created a weekly support group/playdate for our CODlittles.
- He created a midweek gathering for our kids.
- He chose a stellar team of teachers to lead both face-to-face and virtual children’s church.
- He inspired porch drop offs.
- He gave us a season of soccer.
- He had us celebrate and remember His care for us in November.
- He let the kids worship him through handbells at Christmas.
- He stirred up an urgency in kids to memorize his Word.
The Creator of the universe created and it was good and better than before.
GOD WITH US AMIDST THE CHAOS
I miss the old normal. I miss the shallow comforts of eating inside restaurants and browsing library shelves. I miss seeing people’s unmasked faces and embracing a friend. But as much as I miss all those things, as I reflect back, I’m so grateful for this tumultuous year.
I would have never been mature enough to choose this past year, but I am so thankful for the experience. It took away my comforts, rhythms and self-reliance. It overwhelmed me at my human finiteness.
And in the midst of that journey, our Father lavished his grace, promises, confidence, provisions and love on me. On us.
He walked with us. He was in the lion’s den with us. He didn’t leave us. He gave us new unblemished days each morning. He knew us by name. He gave us his confidence. He taught us the true meaning of “family”. He repeatedly showed us He is Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, on the move commanding beauty from ashes.
As vaccinations roll out, county tier levels change color, COVID cases decrease, and children trickle back into school, let us never forget how God moved between March 13 and March 13.
God pivoted. God moved towards us. God filled our homes. God turned our heads. God provided. 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
God is on the move,
P.S. God is on the move, and He is giving us Easter TOGETHER this year! He’s giving us three outdoor services (one of them a livestream), and a bonus Easter egg hunt for your kids! What a gift this is after the last 365 days! We would love to celebrate with you, and we are eager to welcome your family and friends.