This post is by Joanne Wu.
After an activity filled morning complete with doing homework, dying eggs, watching Baby Einstein, playing outside, Skyping grandma, painting a window to look like stained glass, watching the first half of Onward, and heating up leftover pizza and frozen edamame for lunch, I looked at the clock and inwardly groaned. “How is it only barely noon?” While battling kids to take a nap, I messaged my husband and told him that I was at my wits’ end with the kids, and I needed a break from parenting. But my time to take a break didn’t come until all five kids were asleep. Mentally, I wanted to go to a store to mindlessly browse. Physically, I wanted to crawl into bed and sleep for twenty-four hours. Emotionally, I wept that I couldn’t go out and mindlessly browse in a store because of “sheltering in place.” So then I felt stuck, and grieved the loss of another coping mechanism.
I sat with this stuck feeling while nursing my one-year-old to sleep. Instead of zoning out with Netflix while nursing, I chose to watch a short Good Friday series with Francis Chan on Right Now Media. Listening to him share about Jesus praying to Abba Father in the Garden of Gethsemane reminded me that Jesus knows what it feels like to feel stuck. Not only does He know what it feels like, but He also shows us what to do when we feel stuck. Get down on our knees and pray.
I don’t need to hold anything back or try to be put together before I come before God’s throne and have a whine fest. God knows I’m barely making it, but He is waiting for me to come to Him to help me thrive while feeling stuck. The almighty God is waiting for me to let Him shelter me in place. He is waiting for me to find shelter under the shadow of His wings. (cue “Hide Me in the Shelter” by Cindy Rethmeier, Cheryl Thomas, and Scott Brenner)
With tears in my eyes, and peace settling in my heart, I sat and reflected on King David feeling stuck, hiding in caves and writing Psalms to God. I sat and reflected on many others in the Bible who have felt stuck in their lifetime and yet God remained faithful to them - because God is faithful. I thought of Noah and his family in the ark with all the animals in the world, Sarah and Abraham feeling the weight of a promise not yet fulfilled, Joseph as an Egyptian slave and as a prisoner, Moses with the grumbling Israelites, Tamar and the family she was stuck married into, Esther in the palace, the many prophets stuck with a job where no one understood what they were saying, Daniel serving under different leaders in Babylon, Jesus on planet Earth, and the apostle Paul in prison. Each person’s circumstances were different, some in more lavish settings than others, but the feelings that arise when in crises or feeling “stuck” are the same. At least, I believe they mostly are. Thinking about this made me feel less alone, more understood, less crazy, and more inspired.
Simply, I was inspired and encouraged remembering that whether or not I acknowledge it, God is present in this season of “stuck”. I can choose to shelter in place under the shadow of His wings or I can choose to just shelter in place. Today, dear friend, please remember you are not alone. Feel the safety to be honest and find words to name feelings you are feeling in this season of stuck. Share those feelings and emotions with the God Almighty who promises refuge under His shadow. Read or listen to a reading of Psalm 91 and receive God’s peace that surpasses understanding. It’s okay to say and feel that this pandemic is (insert your word). God can handle it. After telling God how you feel, give yourself the gift to pause and to listen to God’s still small voice.
Rest in His shadow. Under His wings, shelter yourself in place.
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of Yahweh, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler,
and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers.
Under his wings you will take refuge.
His faithfulness is your shield and rampart.
5 You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
nor of the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
nor of the destruction that wastes at noonday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
and ten thousand at your right hand;
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only look with your eyes,
and see the recompense of the wicked.
9 Because you have made Yahweh your refuge,
and the Most High your dwelling place,
10 no evil shall happen to you,
neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
11 For he will put his angels in charge of you,
to guard you in all your ways.
12 They will bear you up in their hands,
so that you won’t dash your foot against a stone.
13 You will tread on the lion and cobra.
You will trample the young lion and the serpent underfoot.
14 “Because he has set his love on me, therefore I will deliver him.
I will set him on high, because he has known my name.
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him.
I will be with him in trouble.
I will deliver him, and honor him.
16 I will satisfy him with long life,
and show him my salvation.”
Joanne is a SoCal native who currently lives in Taiwan with her husband of twelve years, raising their five beautiful children and their faithful Golden Retriever. She appreciates free time to take walks, sleep, and slowly eat her food. She writes about her struggles to embrace her identity in Christ as enough and how she finds pockets of grace in the midst of motherhood. You can find her on Instagram @mom.of.wu.
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