In 2018 I had a car accident that placed my life on a painful hold for over a year. I am sharing lessons I learned from that season and 5 ways you can prepare for the next storm after COVID19.
It's hard for me to believe that October 2018 is almost 2 years ago because the season that ensued felt like it lasted two lifetimes. I was leading a project at work. My first was just two months into kindergarten, the twins who were just 2.5 years old at the time were just settling into a new daycare. We were preparing to move into our new home. Life was insanely busy and in all this craziness I got into an accident. I tried to plug through work and life, but after 2 months of crazy migraines and a rapid decline of my health, I finally caved in and surrendered.
Then began my one year timeout from January 2019, although at the beginning I did not know that it would last a year. I had suffered a concussion and a back injury and I had to be completely off work, indefinitely, and it felt like the WORST had happened. I was still a full-time mom and although the kids were still going to school and daycare I still had to keep house, prep dinner and take care of them every morning, evening and on the weekends. My husband was a trooper and handled daycare pick-ups and drop-offs like a pro and pulled all the extra weight after working a full day. And then there was the treatment - oh the treatment. 3 physiotherapists, an occupational therapist, a masotherapist, a concussion specialist and my family doctor.
Saying it was tough is an understatement. Those are dark days that I really don't want to recall. The hardest part was not knowing how long it would last - a few weeks, a few months, a year. A lot of us find ourselves in this exact head space now. We have no idea how long this COVID19 situation is going to last. Finances are uncertain - many people are unsure they have a job to return to and that comes with an insane amount of stress. Worse still some have lost loved ones. Your village has been cut off - the few people who could help you with childcare cannot, thanks to social distancing.
"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord to those who are called according to His purpose" Romans 8:28 (NKJV)
In all this, I was trying to encourage myself with this scripture, but that wasn't working and I remember crying out to God and asking Him: what good could come out of this?
I love that God sometimes takes His time to respond. He looked into 2020 and was like honey you have no idea what lies ahead! Yet, if you told me that I would be sitting here in 2020 encouraging someone going through, I would not have believed it.
I now know that everything, good or bad happens for a reason. And there is a lesson in every season - Career Slay Mama
Here are some lessons I learned from my one-year time-out that has helped me cope with the current COVID19 situation and my hope is that in sharing them with you they help you cope better.
1. Build with the storm in mind
My pastor preached this message a couple of years ago. When I had my accident, we were unprepared - spiritually, emotionally, financially, mentally, physically. I had become used to running on fumes, not even empty: FUMES. So I have since learned to stop running on empty - and to take the time to fill up. You need it, your family needs it. Don't wait until the storm hits to build your ark. Build your ark now. What kind of boat you find yourself in in this storm? What is the state of your financial house? What is the state of your emotional house? What is the state of your marital house? This past year my husband and I reinforced our house and it has helped us through this current COVID19 storm. How will this COVID19 storm help you prepare for the next storm?
2. Let this be your "never again" moment
If this storm caught you completely unprepared, let this be your never again moment. It might be too early to reinforce your household. But resolve that the next storm will catch you prepared. I realized that the pace of life that we were going on was unsustainable. Early this year even before the global shut down, we pulled our kids out of all activities. We were supposed to be swimming and skating BUT we chose a much slower pace and family time. Little did we know that 2020 would end up being cancelled and we would end up being home full-time. What in your situation needs to change? Let's not just go back to life post-COVID19 without learning something new from this season.
3. Shift your perspective
When the accident first happened, I was just waiting life to get back to 'normal' so I could get back to work. When I shifted my perspective from waiting for the storm to end to embracing the lessons that the storm brought, it brought a lot of peace. One area that grew tremendously was my relationship with God. I spent a lot of meaningful time in His Word and His presence and rather than speed up the end of the storm, I found that He brought me peace in the middle of the storm. This peace continues to carry me through the COVID19 storm. How can you shift your perspective so you focus on lessons you are learning?
4. Get your financial house in order
A lot of the financial stress we are all feeling arises from not having finances in order. Last year I realized that we really needed to get our financial house in order, so I started following Dave Ramsey. I ordered his book, the Total Money Makeover and followed him on Instagram and Facebook. His methods are extreme BUT you know what? They work! People have a love/hate relationship with him because he is a no-nonsense stop-wasting-money advocate who thinks that debt is dumb and cash is king. We are on baby step number 2, have eliminated a lot of debt and are addicted to the debt snowball. Whatever method you go for, commit to it and give yourself the gift of financial peace once COVID19 is gone.
5. Draw on God's grace
"My grace is sufficient for you for My strength is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NKJV)
The BIGGEST lesson I got out of this season was to rely on God's grace. I was so used to relying on my own strength and thinking it was working for me when in fact I was hanging on a very small thread that broke with the accident. I realized that I was not built to handle that season or any season with my own strength. God's strength was literally perfected through my weakness when I surrendered. He took over, and I was on His time. By relying on God's Word for guidance and God's strength, He was able to carry me through the storm. Honestly it is literally by God's grace that I got through 2019 and He showed me that we struggle so much instead of going to Him for encouragement, strength, answers, comfort, peace, joy, provision. God provided for us through last year in ways we could never have imagined. I don't know what strain or burden 2020 and COVID19 has put you through, but know that God is faithful, He is still on the throne and He is able to carry you through this.
Know that God loves you! Know that GOOD will come out of this season - even if you can't see it right now. Know that whatever seems like a set-back is a set up for your greatest come back.
I am back at work and almost full-time - I praise God for that and that's a testimony I will be sharing soon.