Embrace this time together

Alesa Lewis Miller
Alesa Miller, Greensburg, recently moved to Tulsa with her husband, Pastor Jeff Miller, where they plan to be missional ministers to church congregations in the United States. The spread of COVID-19 has turned their plans upside down.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. Psalms 23:1-6

We are living in crazy times! Parents are having to stay home with their children, because schools have been moved to online classes. People are having to work from home. Some are even ordered to stay in place, while social distancing is becoming mandated. Stores that are normally open 24/7 are closing at 8 and 9 p.m., some are closing completely for an extended time.

We are no longer a 24-hour-7-day-a -week society that is in constant movement. We can no longer get what we want at the drop of a hat. I even know a couple that for the first time in 20 years have been sitting down at the table and cooking in their kitchen four days in a row. To some of us this may seem ridiculous, but the truth is we live in a world that is--or should I say was--in constant movement.

I don't know about you, but in the midst of trying to process this change, I am asking God why? Why is this happening? And you know what I got? Psalms 23.

Sometimes God “Makes Us” to lay down. Before the coronavirus, we were constantly on the move. It almost seemed like the whole world had ADHD.

Parents were more like social directors who dropped their kids off with the teachers for eight hours a day, just to pick them up in time to babysit them so the kids could do their homework, feed them and send them to bed. Then they got up to do the same thing the next day.

On weekends parents have been constantly needing to find activities for their kids to do because “Lord forbid we spend actual time with our kids!” I even know of one school here in western Kansas that was hosting family night dinners with their students and parents to teach the parents how to have a family dinner together. America’s family unit in some cases has been non-existent for quite some time, dare I even say generations.

It’s not really anyone's fault that our country has evolved into this. Before WWII most women stayed at home, took care of the children and had dinner on the table when their husbands came home from work. We spent time together as families and most of us liked it.

But when the war hit, more than five million women took off their aprons and picked up their coveralls and went to work in factories. Why? To keep our men safe as they fought the war and to keep our families a float while the war was going on.

We did it because we are women and women are strong individuals who will do whatever it takes for our families. But when the war was over, things got even crazier because, all of the sudden, women liked their independence and the extra income working brought in. So many choose to believe they could do it all, work and have a family.

As many households became two-income families, financial institutions saw that there was more money in the economy and everything began to cost more. Families really didn’t have more they just had to work harder for what they had and those that choose to remain a one-income family had to make sacrifices.

Not only was more money in circulation, but now kids were coming home to empty houses and, in some cases, raising themselves. Because the parents now had a standard in which to live.

Families became less connected and over time the family no longer looked like it did when God created the family. The family is the first institute that God created. It was one man and one woman who then had children. Many have come to the point that we forgot the commandment God gave us in

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “These words I am commanding you today are to be upon your hearts. And you shall teach them diligently to your children and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

When is the last time any of us sat down with our kids or grandkids and told them what God’s word says? All too often we leave it for the church or the school to teach our children right from wrong. I know of one parent whose child was misbehaving at home so she called the school and asked if they could do something to him for punishment. Seriously? When did the school become the parent and the parent become the babysitter?

Don’t get me wrong, I know it isn’t like that for everyone. But I am wondering if this isn’t God allowing us time to reset. With all the shutdowns and the required social distancing, we now have the opportunity to reset ourselves and start over.

Change is difficult and this is something we have never experienced. It feels weird and different. But it has been said that the only thing that's constant is change.

How about instead of resisting, we embrace the opportunity to reconnect and reset our lives into a more nucleus family, as social distancing permits? How about we allow this time to let us draw closer to God and we lead our families closer to Him?

I know in the business of life we have all said at one time or another, “I wish life would just slow down.” Well, it has now -- and beside the concern of becoming sick -- we have a great opportunity to reset our lives.

Much like a computer or phone when it freezes up you simply turn if off and turn it back on again. Let’s just turn off the world for a while, let’s embrace this time together (and, no, I don’t mean strangle each other) but let’s take this time to practice what God’s word says about loving one another, and forgiving one another and read 1 Corinthians 13 where it tells us love does not count wrongs.

As women (and men) we are strong and we can do this. The Bible promises us that there is nothing impossible with God’s help. So, call on Him, tell Him what you need. He promises to answer you! Jeremiah 29:11.

I believe that we can come out of this stronger and better than ever. That God will help us if we will only ask. But the choice is ours. Will we fear? Will we worry? Or will we spend time just getting to know each other again and God?

* Alesa Lewis Miller is a U.S. missionary pastor’s wife from Greensburg, Kansas. Follow her story at www.millers4usmissions.com .