Repeat

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I have some muscle memory here. What do I mean? We stayed indoors for a week with 3 Haitian families as Hurricane Matthew swirled nearby. We stayed in doors, not even able to make it 1 mile to school, as unrest swirled nearby. We stock up on water, diesel, meat, and yes, even TP when we don’t know when we will be able to shop again. There were seasons we could not even go on a walk, because the unrest was too near. Gun shots have had us staying in back hallways.  We worry incessantly about viruses that kill. Dengue, Malaria, Zika, Cholera, Diphtheria, Tuberculosis, and Chikungunya. We are always concerned about medical care and never have access to medical facilities that are NOT overwhelmed. We unfortunately watch people die and see selective life saving measures dolled out and withheld regularly. So, yes, we have muscle memory here. We have exercised the muscle of calm in chaos. We have exercised the muscle of giving when we want to turn inward. We have exercised the muscle of faith when we are overwhelmed with fear. 

Why am I telling you this? Because my heart hurts for you. Because I know how scary it can be. I know that it can feel hard to breathe when anxiety tries to take over. I know that you and your kids are paying prices, mine have too. I know that it hurts to watch our kids grieve what they are missing. So, I am writing because I see you and if my experiences can offer any hope, then I want to share them. I am not bragging, this is not an accomplishment. Oh, How I wish Haitians did not live like this, and, oh, how I wish you all could never taste it and am still praying you do not. So, here are my greatest lessons learned living through scary and difficult times.

1. Peace is a gift of God, it is not from ourselves (John 14:27). Sit with God in your fear, bring it to Him (1 John 4:18). Allow him to use His word to walk you beside still waters and refresh your soul (Psalm 23). You may have to return to this place every hour to keep a sense of peace, so be it (Romans 12:2). When you feel your heart and spirit lurching with anxiety, take a deep breath and sit with God (Isaiah 26:3). He will meet you (Deuteronomy 31:8). Breathe in His presence, praise Him,  and breathe out fear (Psalm 150:6). 

2. Look for the good, the gifts. What good can this extra time with your kids mean? What perspective can they gain from this? When all I can see are the prices my kids have paid, I am missing out on gratefulness for all my kids have learned and gained. All I can gain too. They lost prom, they gained empathy. They lost friendships, they gained depth and independence. Maybe you finally get to play a board game (or 20) or read a book as a family. How can God use this experience to deepen us as individuals and a society?

3. Don’t self preserve, preserve community. How can you be a light to others right now? Physical isolation doesn’t have to mean loneliness. Reach out to people. Serve with words of connection and encouragement digitally. If there are ways that you can serve the older generation who need to stay especially isolated, do it. Go through drive through for them, lysol the bag, and leave it on their steps. Drop off supplies (that have been disinfected) to the vulnerable. Make sure the people on the front lines have what they need, like masks. Don’t be a selfish turd. simple.

4. Don’t panic. Do 1-3 again. Breathe and be with God. Look for the good and the gifts. Help others. Do it again. 

Breathe. See the good. Serve others. Repeat.

Breathe. See the good. Serve others. Repeat.

We are praying for you all. If we could bring you toilet paper (disinfected) we would.  We have plenty.

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