Choose Your Path!

Over the last month or so, there has been this phrase thrown around which I am sure you have heard, “the new normal.”  Everyone is talking about a “new normal” after quarantine; I have seen two different reactions to this idea.  People are either excited or fearful at the idea of a “new normal”. There is uncertainty about what the future holds and, for the most part, it is accompanied by concern or fear.  As you may know, if you have read my other posts, I value consistency and security, I don’t believe I am alone there.  Consistency is also essential for my children who have autism.  The pandemic plus moving states has been hard on my three kids, however, I do believe that when we get outside of our normal routine or there is an end to a season, there is an opportunity that comes with it.

We have an opportunity at this time to reevaluate our normal.  It is easy to reminisce about times before quarantine and it gives us so many things to be grateful for.  However, what about the portions that weren’t so wonderful?  Maybe, you actually didn’t enjoy the job you have been laid off from or furloughed.  Extra time with your kids might have revealed some areas you would like to adjust, so you can make the most with the time you have with your family.  Now is the time to reevaluate and make changes.   There is an opportunity to dream up what you would like your new normal to look like and to start taking action steps now.  When your routine has been turned upside down, you get to decide what your new schedule will look like.  If you want to change your diet and add in exercise, now’s the time to do it.  If you’re considering a change in career, maybe now’s the time to seriously consider it. Maybe you have been wanting to say no to some things because you overfilled your plate, this is the perfect time to change that. Whatever it may be, while everything is in limbo, now is the time to make major changes.

There have been season changes in my life that I have just let happen and then there are the ones I have taken charge of.   The seasons I have taken charge of have been seasons where I have thrived and felt the most growth in.  These are the seasons where my relationship with God has grown and my marriage has grown.  The seasons where I have either not had the energy to embrace or have just been frozen in fear, they have not been my most flourishing or rewarding seasons.  In fact, those seasons have been some of my most painful growth seasons. Those seasons are where I have learned some lessons the hard way.  

For those of us who know and love God, we know that our future is in God’s hand, we trust Him.  However, we all have seasons where we have had to walk out some heartbreaking experiences.  In order to go where God is taking us, we have had to walk through some deep valleys, not knowing when the end is coming.  Trusting God has not meant there won’t be any valleys or it will be easy or without pain.  Trusting God is knowing that the valley leads to a mountain, which leads to a mountain top that produces perspective.  Our time in the valley determines our growth and strength to climb the mountain which in turn produces the perspective we get when we reach the mountain top. The dreams we dream and steps we take in the valley determine the path we choose and the mountain we will climb. Choose your path!

In so many ways our world is in a valley right now.  The world is mourning the loss of family and friends, we are mourning lost jobs and not knowing how we are going to pay the mortgage and feed our children.  Amongst all the sorrow, fear, and uncertainty, we will begin to put one foot in front of the other and before you know it we will be climbing out of this valley.  Let’s begin to dream of what we want that mountain to look like.  Let’s make sure we like the path we are on, that it leads to a view or perspective we can be proud of.  Let me encourage you that great things will come out of this season because you have no choice but to reevaluate and to build upon the great things you had when it was normal.  

For myself, I am thinking through what I want for this next season and as cliche as it may sound, I want to invest more in relationships.  My friendships have taken a hit in this last season and I want to make sure that I put some energy and value into the people who mean the most to me.  We have just moved states so everything is different but as it may feel like we are starting over again, we are not.  We carry with us the wisdom, growth, and experiences we have had in our prior seasons with us.  Starting a new season doesn’t mean we erase our prior seasons but we can leave the not so good experiences and take all the good that we have experienced with us.   You can do the same in this season.  Here are some questions for you to ponder…

  • What are those things in your life that you would like to see change whether they be small changes or massive changes?  
  • Are there portions of your life, you are happy to let go of?  
  • Are there experiences or areas of your life you would like to take with you?  
  • Are you frozen in fear or are you taking steps?

As we keep our eyes set on God, we can be certain that we will find ourselves on a path that will lead to the right mountain. “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him;” – Psalm 37:23. So let’s do some dreaming, let’s give space for hope and anticipation for our next season.  A new normal does not have to be bad and full of fear and dread, it can also give room for new ideas and fresh outlooks. 

Coronavirus, No School and Moving!

You may have noticed that I have been behind on posting. Life is crazy right now as we all know. Coronavirus has spun us all for a loop and we just so happen to also be in the middle of selling our house and moving state. We move in only a couple of weeks, I did not anticipate homeschooling, packing boxes and showing my house all at the same time. However, if you know my family at all… you would say, of course, you would be moving in the middle of a pandemic. That is how our life seems to pan out, never straightforward, ha!

Saying all that, my kids have been doing incredible. We have been having a lot of fun. Tom is home as well so that has been a huge help and has made for some incredible quality family time. We have always respected the educators and been so grateful to them but my appreciation has definitely only grown. We have three kids and they all have different curriculums they are doing. Friends, if ever I even thought homeschooling was a good idea, I can officially say that I do not have what it takes. Teachers, you are amazing. Special Education teachers you are heroes, seriously. How you cater to multiple needs and prepare various lesson plans to accommodate various needs is phenomenal. When school starts again, I guarantee my kids will also have a new appreciation for there teachers after having had Teacher Mom for several weeks.

So as I said we are moving! We will be moving to Central New York in the middle of April. Tom will be going on staff as an Executive Pastor at an incredible church. From the first time we went up there we just had a peace that the church would be an incredible church to be apart of and we just love the Lead Pastors and the staff. We are so excited to be up there and to get started. God has been so amazing in how all of this has come together.

We have been blown away with how everything has fallen into place. Our kids were able to meet there principal and have a private tour given by him. The school is only a four-minute drive from where we will live and we have only heard amazing stories of how great the school district is. The special education department is dedicated to providing support as well as inclusivity. We are excited to see the growth in them through this next season. There are so many small things that God has done as well that would seem silly to others but mean the world to us.

Last year I read the verse from Isaiah 43:19 and immediately knew that it was for me. “But forget all that— it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland”. At that time we didn’t know we would be transitioning from South Jersey but I knew that God was doing something and it was going to be new and exciting. Here we are a year later and moving states and it is not short of excitement.

For many, this season may feel like a wasteland. There is so much anxiety due to the economy and this virus. People are losing their businesses and worried about losing their homes. There is hoarding to ensure families are taken care of. People are buying out moving boxes, I know this because I need them to move and they are sold out at some places. Why? My only assumption is to box up the extra food and supplies. This season might feel and look like a wasteland, you may be overwhelmed with anxiety and fear. There have been times where I feel the anxiety and fear because we are an immune-compromised home. However, as a family we will choose to set our eyes on the pathway through the wilderness, on the rivers, the places of refreshment. This season will not last forever.

Look to the future with hope, there is a pathway that will lead out of this wasteland. There are little pockets of refreshment, whatever that may look like. We are resilient and as we continue on this path, the pathway includes quarantine and safety but it does not mean we have to be overcome by the fear of the unknown. Something I am very certain of is that when there is a season of uncertainty and loss of stability, new and fresh dreams are born. What dreams do you have? How has your perspective changed for the better? How have your relationships grown against all the odds? What are you hopeful for? Take some time to make room for the new! There is something new God is doing!

This last season, at times, felt like a wasteland because we didn’t have any certainty but these verses provided a peace that God was leading us into a new and refreshing season. It gave us the hope that our best seasons were ahead of us. When I think about this move to New York, I see God’s faithfulness and favor on our lives. It overwhelms me with how good God is, He doesn’t owe me anything and yet He gives good gifts. When the world’s promises are empty, His are concrete. God doesn’t provide pathways out of dark seasons because He has to but because He love us and because He gives good gifts. There are good things ahead, find the pathway and look for His goodness.