This is an uncertain and uncomfortable time for so many, but I feel so blessed that although I too, have been made uncomfortable, I also have been equipped for survival. I have had many conversations with God over the years regarding his word in 1 Corinthians 10:13,
“No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it."
I’ve often said that I need no additional tests as I already have one heck of a testimony. Today, however, I am grateful for my tests.
I am a single mother with two daughters, aged 7 and 20. My 20-year-old is independent and away from home serving this country in the US Navy. I have always been an independent and stubborn person, and I embarked on parenthood with the belief that my role is to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). After all, the goal was for them to leave and create families of their own. To that end, I nourished and continue to nourish independence of my girls from a young age.
Much like a toddler learns to walk, I wanted them to safely navigate their independence with me there to cushion the fall, before having to navigate adulthood independent from me.
As a result of my commitment to nourish independence, and as a single mother, I know that if I am sick, my 7-year-old can make a sandwich for the both of us, she can run her bath water, she can fix a bowl of cereal, etc.
When my now 7-year-old was 3, she fell and broke her femur, very close to her hip bone. At that time, I had been working remotely about 50% of the time, and often worked late at night after getting my girls dinner or on the weekends during down time. My 3-year-old was accustomed to being quiet while mommy worked and finding independent ways to entertain herself. With a broken femur she was placed in a spica cast for 6 weeks.
If you are not aware, a spica cast goes from the ankle to the chest and makes movement extremely difficult and walking impossible. As a result, I could not take her to daycare which meant I could not work in an office at all. While 6 weeks out of work could have been disastrous financially, thankfully I had enough vacation time accumulated, had my job not approved of me working remotely the entire time. It also helped that she spent half of each week with her father.
Sometimes your tests are not only for your testimony, but also for your preparation.
Fast forward to today…..Today I have an elementary school student, competitive cheerleader, and social butterfly, who is now out of school due to the requirement that we engage in “social distancing.” Her school is requiring that her academic learning continues, complete with daily assignments that require signature confirmation of completion and check-ins with the teacher. In addition, my work is 100% remote. This is unchartered territory for both she and I, since the last time we had this experience she could not move and there were no instructional requirements. However, once again I am poised with preparation and I am blessed and highly favored.
I work for a company that is extremely compassionate and flexible, and I have set her up to do her schoolwork, while I do my "adult work." I carve out time in my day to check her work and answer her questions. She engages with her friends via FaceTime and we do a physical activity daily. She practices her stretching and stunts and I turn on a yoga video. She understands when she needs to be silent, and when it’s okay to interrupt. We eat breakfast and dinner together. When I can get a moment, sometimes we will also have lunch together, otherwise, she is well versed at preparing her own lunches. She’s not too grown but she is independent and well equipped. She still spends half of each week with her father, and I still enjoy the break!
I am sharing this to encourage you that "this too shall pass." Sometimes your tests are not only for your testimony, but also for your preparation.
Our children are capable of more than we sometimes give them credit for. Have candid conversations with regard to where we are today, and teach them how to assist us in navigating this new normal, if they don’t already have the skills.
Guest post written by DeShawna Manley