The New Normal

I have held off writing a new post because honestly I have had no idea what to write. The Shelter in Place order remains in effect in our city of San Jose. I have celebrated Easter, my birthday, my wedding anniversary and Mother’s day at home. Our family now watches Sunday morning services from our couch, my husband and I virtually meet with our Sunday school Class on Sunday afternoons and we now sit down to dinner together instead of coming home from our Awana club meetings. During the week my family works from home, my daughter teaches dance from our garage, my husband has an electronics lab set up in our living room and our son runs his video film company from his bedroom. My work is mainly volunteer work at my church, which at this point is closed. So my work is on hold, no Awana clubs, no planning for women’s events or missions events, or any event at church for that matter. I am trying to keep in contact with my Cubbies, work on mission projects, connect with my friends from church and most recently participated in a virtual ladies tea party for Mother’s Day. My job at home is now more focused on taking care of my family while they are home, keeping them feed and helping them out when needed. A positive benefit is that we have more meals together, have time for movies and playing board games, and our dogs are happy to have their owners home all the time.

When we do need to get out, to get groceries, pick up food or items for the house, or simply take a walk it is not how we would normally do these things. Most places here now require masks, limit items we can purchase, don’t have items we really need, or are simply just closed and not available to shop at. Before items come in the house from the store or packages arrive they have to be sanitized. Definitely a new process for us. Everything we do now is now is “the new normal.” And that seems to be the way it’s going to be for many more months to come. There is still at great deal of uncertainty with our situation. We don’t know when places will be open and when they do what it will be like. Will it continue to be impossible to find hand sanitizer and hand wipes again? When will it be safe to go without a mask when you are in public? When I can go to church? When can I see my friends? When can I hug my friend? When will the world be safe again? When will life be normal again?

As the way things look now it is not going to be, so we need to start embracing the new normal. This makes me wonder if that is how the Disciples must have felt after Jesus was crucified. They were devastated, they were scared, they were in disbelief of what had just happened, they were in hiding. Then 3 days later, Jesus made his appearance and spent time with his followers ministering to them and assuring them. He ate with them, walked with them, comforted them, taught them and then he returned to Heaven.

After Jesus returned to heaven the new normal began for the disciplines and followers. In His physical place on earth he sent the Holy Spirit. But it was not the same as before. Much had changed, Jesus was not longer there to lead the the people, instead that now fell on the disciplines and the the small group of believers. There was no New Testament, no letters to churches on what to do, they had to rely on the Old Testament scripture, their experience of watching Jesus preach and teach, their new found experience of the death and resurrection of Christ, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. And it would not be easy, they would face famine, persecution, conflict, and confusion. Eventually the disciplines would scatter and the words of Jesus would be fulfilled that he had spoken to the disciplines before his death and Resurrection.
 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it.

Like the disciples we are experiencing a new normal as we go through this Global pandemic. How we go about our daily lives has changed. How we school our children. How we attend church. How we go to work. The first three weeks of staying at home seemed more like a mini vacation, despite the fact three people were now with me working from home. We stocked up on food, watched movies, ordered food to our door, and had meals together everyday. Then the order was extended and we had to figure out how to celebrate a major Christian holiday at home, we decorated, we celebrated, then came a birthday, an anniversary and then another extended order. More rules and regulations on what we could or could not do upon leaving our home. There is conflict in the world on how our governments are handling this pandemic, people’s tempers are easily triggered, people are protesting because they can’t get a haircut, families can’t come together. Now going on week 8, this seems to more a hostage situation than a mini vacation. I miss my friends and my freedom to just go some where and not worry about a virus that could potentially kill me or another person. The news is frightening and confusing, there are no real answers to when or if this will ever be over. So this is the new normal.

My new normal is what I mentioned previously. I honestly struggle to embrace it positively. However, there are positives I can count as blessings. I see how my spouse is at his job, I see how my daughter teaches her dance students, I see my son working to build his business. I get to prepare meals almost every day and know we will all be together for meal time. I get to spend time with my daughter before she heads off to college. And I am learning how to refocus what I need to be doing in my own life. My responsibility have changed for the time being, so I need to think about what I need to do now. I shared with a friend that I felt kind of lost, because so much of what I had be doing had come to a screeching halt. She reminded me now is the time to focus on my relationship with God and allow Him to minister to me then slowing return to ministering to others. I appreciated that encouragement because it is helping to renew my relationship with God and giving me a new normal as I allow Him to work in me! I am finding my footing again as I prepare to facilitate a Ladies Online Bible Study, help our church figure out how to do VBS in a new and unique ways and how to minister to others from home.

The normal way of doing things may have changed, but God never has and never will. The church we serve in is not a building and we don’t stop serving him because the psychical doors are closed. We can reach out with what God has given to us. Think of ways you can connect with those in your ministry, those people you are not longer seeing on a regular basis. As a children’s leader, I am sending letters and simple care packages, email and text messages to my children and their families. I am sending cards to encourage those I am not seeing each week at our different church events. God is using this time to bring Glory to his Kingdom. How are you embracing it? What are you doing to strengthen your relationship with Christ during this time? How are you ministering to others?

I will leave you with my favorite Bible verse for encouragement.

The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV