Weeks have passed and my “I need to work on this” list keeps getting longer. But due to government measures I have to perform as my daughter’s elementary school teacher and at the same time my son’s preschool teacher – again . Needless to say, in addition to the already existing colorful everyday life, a lot falls by the wayside. Like having an hour to myself in daylight. At the moment I’m lucky if I get that hour to myself while walking the fields in the pitch dark, something between 6pm and 8pm. Some days with a lot of frustration on the inside that I am doing something “illegal”. What? Returning home only at 8:18 pm? Criminal! Curfew in our state (legally enforced) starts at 8pm sharp. Really? Makes me feel like a child that’s being put into time out – for having done what? Phew!
So, last year my husband and I had agreed on leaving two topics outside our home: Corona and Trump. To be honest, it really did help to keep the peace here. Even though as a couple we basically agreed on major points, several of our friends or acquaintances didn’t and don’t. And that’s ok! It doesn’t take away from being and staying friends to have different views and opinions – or at least that’s how it should be. We simply want to protect the sensitive ears and souls of our children here.
Now we’re off to 2021 and it surely feels like the movie “Groundhog Day” here in Germany. After all, our son (turning five in a couple of days) still doesn’t have a room to himself. Why? Because it’s being taken for granted that my husband uses a room as his home office – until further notice. Tough luck, kiddo! Doesn’t look like you’ll get to have a room to yourself “for now”, there currently are no options of us moving to a bigger place or daddy going back to the office downtown.
I could go on and on with much more stuff that is aggravating, unnerving and that keeps me questioning my sanity – just like thousands of other families in this country. But then, after all, my blog text wouldn’t be encouraging or edifying. And so I do what I try to do daily: to manage the turnaround from anger to peace. From consternation to hope.
Grumbling with authenticity
It is my endeavour as a mom to be a positive role model to my children. Whether it’s about authenticity, self-efficacy or convictions. They know me happy, sad, angry. Quiet, loud, peaceful. Everyday, we converse about things that are on our minds as individuals and as a family. For example, I explain to them when I’m so angry about something that I have to go and chop some wood outside.
Lately, however, I have caught myself again and again that I just did not want to explain to them why I rattled around in the kitchen rather angrily. Then last week, I uttered a nasty phrase (which I won’t reproduce here), and two pairs of children’s eyes looked at me a bit shocked. I mumbled an “I’m sorry” and knew: I urgently need to go out into the field, trudge through mud and snow and let my heavenly Father renew my perspective.
So, a day later, I went for a brisk walk through the woods and meadows at lunchtime. I had asked my husband to spend his lunch break looking after the children instead of taking his daily walk. Once in the woods, the words just tumbled out of me. Half praises, half lamentation. I call it “authentic grumbling”. Haha! I’m glad the trees don’t talk back. I did feel better afterwards. Why? The Holy Spirit had reminded me of an illustration. I’ll recite it here, it’s from the brilliant book “The happy intercessor” by Beni Johnson (pages 77/78). A must read I believe!
Sing with me!
“I met with a woman in our church who wanted to let me know some things that were going on in our city with the occult. After we met, I headed right over to our prayer house. I was feeling a little weighty and needed to get God’s perception on all that I had heard. (…) I had a vision. In the vision, I was in a familiar place with Jesus (…). I was talking to Him about the information I had just received. I looked over at His other hand, which was closed. I could tell that He was holding something in secret in that hand. I asked him what He had in His hand. He opened His hand, and I saw that He was holding the whole world. It looked so small.”
I pondered this illustration while walking through nature and it brought relief and peace to me anew.
However, not a bit of the situation around me had changed. That evening, I called my mentor in the U.S. We hadn’t been talking long when he asked this: “What do you mean you can’t go to a restaurant or a bookstore? What do you mean there’s practically only one opinion allowed nowadays?”
I tried to explain what has been the weary “state of emergency” everyday life in Germany for months. He asked me the same questions that I keep asking myself and cannot seem to answer with logical attributes. Then it dawned on me. While explaining, these words came up and brought understanding: Powerlessness. Impotence. That’s what I feel in my heart, day in and day out, despite the peace I strive for. That’s what makes me angry again and again. This feeling of helplessness in the face of disproportion and injustice.
So guess what? Exactly! The next day I went for another walk, this time with one of my prayer friends. We call it “walk and talk”. Mile after mile. And when the heart is poured out, we pray together. It’s the most beautiful moment of the walk. Knowing that Jesus has walked the path with us, that He knows us, sees us, loves us. And He’s got the whole world in His hand!
On the last feet of the muddy dirt road I prayed these words, and with them I now also end today’s text. The prayer has not only given me peace for today, but what is much more important: it has straightened out my perspective. I wish you the same with all my heart. Feel free to pray these words with me – today and on any other day necessary:
“Jesus, I thank You that You are the King of Kings. I thank You that You are coming back soon. Please renew this very perspective in me: to know that all that I experience and see happening around me, are only the preliminaries of what You have described in Your Word. Jesus, let me stay alert and vigilant. Help me to stay close to Your heart in these troubling times. Give me eyes to see what You see.
Father, thank You for Your promise to watch over Your Word so that it carries out exactly what it is sent to do. Thank You for Your promise that Your Word will not return empty. Father, You alone are omniscient. You alone are omnipresent. You alone are omnipotent. I bring You my powerlessness and put it into Your all-powerfulness. I will trust You as my children trust me, with all my heart. Knowing that nothing in this world catches You off guard. Knowing that You make no mistakes and best of all: Knowing that You are my sovereign God who holds me in His hand.
Holy Spirit, please be my counselor and comforter as God’s Word says. Always remind me in due time of all that Jesus said (John 14/26). I need Your encouragement today more than ever. I need Your knowledge anew every day. Thank you for dwelling in me.