Bible reading, Biblical Living, Coronavirus, Family, Lockdown

My Lesson from Lockdown – Faith

My lesson from lockdown doesn’t start in lockdown. It starts in August 2019, when a zip wire accident on holiday in France left me with a completely fractured metatarsal. Actually, you know what, it probably really started in August 2018, when my husband’s cousin sent me this card shortly after my dad passed away:

The card was still sitting on top of the piano after the zip wire incident left my right leg in plaster, completely non-weight-bearing and utterly, utterly frustrated.

I’m not one of those people that has to be doing something all the time, in fact if you’d asked me before the incident, I would have told you that my idea of bliss would be to sit in a comfortable, sunny spot with a good book, or boxset. It turns out that sitting quietly is just fine for a day, maybe even three days, but when you have a busy family life with a husband and three boys to feed, ferry around and all of that and you can’t get into the kitchen easily, or even stand for more than a few minutes, then it gets very boring very quickly. It turns out that when you’re used to being capable and independent, suddenly being dependent on others for pretty much everything (and everything else takes five times longer than normal) takes its toll.

Thankfully I have a wonderful husband with a can-do attitude, who was still on summer holidays at that point, so had the time to do all the shopping, cooking and kid corralling that I would ordinarily do (note: because I work part time, not because it’s “women’s work”). I also have lovely friends, one of whom came over to clean the bathrooms and do some vacuuming.

However, none of this stopped me from feeling guilty once term started again; guilty for being stupid enough to get on the zip wire in the first place (what was I thinking?!), guilty for not being able to help my 9 year old make his packed lunch every morning, guilty for sitting around all day whilst my family were doing full days at school or work and then having to cook etc in the evening. This was not upholding my end of the bargain!

As I have very understanding employers, after a couple of weeks of intermittent logging in on my laptop (I physically couldn’t get into our first floor office), one of my colleagues dropped my work PC round. We set up a little office area next to the piano, so I could easily get to my desk in my newly borrowed wheelchair. Every time I looked up, I could see the card, “Be still then and know that I am God”.

“Hilarious, God, just hilarious!” I thought, “Telling a woman stuck in a wheelchair to be still!” But of course He wasn’t talking about my ability, or lack thereof, to get around, but rather the state of my head; my emotions and mental well-being, the thoughts and guilt rushing around my head at 1000mph. “Be still then and know that I am God” He said – I could hear it in my head as if He was standing next to me.

I’d love to say that after this everything fell into place and the rest of my confinement was all sunshine and roses. It wasn’t, but you know, I got better at letting go of the guilt about things that I couldn’t currently do. I started to enjoy that my Other Half sorted his own system for the Aldi shop without getting upset that it was different (and probably slightly better) than my own. I enjoyed seeing my kids muck in and help out without too much grumbling. Most of all I enjoyed the time to get a bit creative, to start a bullet journal, to start a list of things for which I was grateful each day.

Roll forwards to March 2020: I’m now up and about, driving or cycling to the office, enjoying my freedom and glad to be back to normal, albeit with a slightly achy right foot. This, as you know, is when life as we knew it came to a sudden stop. Once again I was working from home, but this time I knew what to expect, so for the first four days I was pretty delighted to be in my own space, with my little office set up in the living room again. Then the hammer really fell: the schools closed. All of a sudden, I’d gone from being blissfully alone in my house from 8:30 to 3:30, to sharing my work space with the rest of my (noisy, boisterous) family.

After a week I was totally exhausted; home-schooling the nine year old, whilst attempting to work (and I work in communications, so I was busier than ever), with the 14- and 13-year olds drifting in and out for snacks and banter between their school assignments, and my secondary teacher husband cloistered away teaching live on Teams, so definitely couldn’t be interrupted!

“Be still then and know that I am God”.

Again, it seemed comical. How on earth could I be “still” with all this mayhem going on around me 24/7? But He was right.

Finding ways to be still in amongst the chaos was very different this time. I went for a lot of solo evening bike rides in those first few weeks!

James’ ‘Lesson from Lockdown’ talk on Sunday, “Living in the Lock” struck another chord; I’d had my time in the lock whilst my leg was in plaster, I’d done my waiting and more importantly, I’d learnt loads! So why was I still in the lock? Why was I still waiting for Him to fill it? I don’t know the answer to this, but one thing I know for sure, I’d much rather He filled the lock, than I start to chuck in old shopping trolleys and bikes to get the water level up.

I’ve no doubt that God will be teaching me about being still in His presence, in one way or another, for many more years to come. Life has definitely thrown a great deal at us these past couple of years and I don’t think that it’s necessarily going to get any easier.

If you’re wanting to be still, but don’t know how, I can’t give you a definitive answer as it is different for everyone. Sometimes (as is demonstrated here) it’s not even the same thing on any given day! But a really good place to start is the Book of Psalms. This spring as a church we did a preaching series on “David – A Man After God’s Own Heart” and one of the last weeks was on living a life of worship. Off the back of this, as the church communications officer, I put together a series of social media posts with verses from David’s Psalms throughout the summer holidays. I found it helpful to be reading them each week as I put together and scheduled the posts.

It’s not a Psalm of David, but this one is a good place to start 😉 :

Psalm 46 (NLT)

God is our refuge and strength,
    always ready to help in times of trouble.
So we will not fear when earthquakes come
    and the mountains crumble into the sea.
Let the oceans roar and foam.
    Let the mountains tremble as the waters surge! Interlude

A river brings joy to the city of our God,
    the sacred home of the Most High.
God dwells in that city; it cannot be destroyed.
    From the very break of day, God will protect it.
The nations are in chaos,
    and their kingdoms crumble!
God’s voice thunders,
    and the earth melts!
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
    the God of Israel is our fortress. Interlude

Come, see the glorious works of the Lord:
    See how he brings destruction upon the world.
He causes wars to end throughout the earth.
    He breaks the bow and snaps the spear;
    he burns the shields with fire.

10 “Be still, and know that I am God!
    I will be honoured by every nation.
    I will be honoured throughout the world.”

11 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is here among us;
    the God of Israel is our fortress. Interlude

Faith Miller

Faith is the Communications & Planning Officer for Jubilee Church Coventry.

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