By LIBBO CROSSWHITE
How I lost my picture-perfect pandemic
It will be hard for any picture to be more accurate than this one for my 2020 year. While on a family vacation to the beach in North Carolina, in the middle of my attempt to capture the picture-perfect family photo, I had to not-so-delicately correct my daughter for attempting to drink up the spilled Diet Dr. Pepper with her lips directly from the bench.
I can’t say her attempt was not a “Libbo move,” but it was disgusting and not OK in our current state of affairs (and also in any circumstance, I guess). You can almost see the fear and fatigue in my eyes. Many of us have carried that fatigue and fear for So. Many. Months. My sister, being the loving sibling that she is, captured this moment instead of any sort of picture-perfect moment. This picture almost perfectly sums up my motherhood lately. Just trying to survive and do the best I can.
“God’s design for the home is perfect. The homes of God’s people, however, have never been — nor do I suspect ever will be — perfect.” – Ron Deal
Our guest pastor at Pinelake in July, Ted Cunningham, spoke these words during his sermon on parenting (HIGHLY recommend listening to this sermon online if you are in the thick of parenting). I don’t know if a statement has ever been more accurate.
I am anxious to go back to school while simultaneously anxious about going back to school. I am realizing more and more each day that perfect is not only impossible but undesirable. Praise the Lord that we’ll never be called to be perfect mothers or humans.
The fact of the matter is that zero of us could have predicted, at this time last year or even three months ago, where we would be today.
None of us answered job interview questions on how we would handle a pandemic in our classrooms or businesses. None of us had “till corona do us part” or “in sickness and in quarantine” in our marriage vows. Very few of us prepared or were equipped for anything that has happened for the first half of this year.
And yet, as Christians, the most comforting realization in the midst of uncertainty is that we are STILL not in control. If we are honest, many of us thought this would be over by now. That life would return back to the hustle and bustle that we all bemoaned and yet longed for in the slowness and anxiety of uncertainty.
I felt it was as if I said, “OK, God, I get it: I need to slow down. Got it. Check it off the list. Thank You for this valuable lesson — now give it all back to me so I can try again.” I’m reminded often of David’s words in the psalms. His desperation and confusion lead him to the God that was also the Creator and Sustainer:
“I lift my eyes until the hills,
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let you stumble;
the one who watches over you will not slumber.”
God’s still here, and His plan is still happening and perfect for each of us. He hasn’t left. He’s still in control, and guess what?
We. Still. Aren’t.
Hard to hear, but so very true. And in the midst of all the uncertainty, we must remind ourselves of where our help comes from. From the One who gives us life.
We are all doing the best we can. Can we just go ahead and say that multiple times in the morning, and before we go to bed each night?
My kids’ teachers will do the best they can.
My doctors are doing the best they can.
I’m doing the best I can.
If the last six months have taught us anything, it’s that we have zero control, we are anything but perfect, and very few of us are experts in anything more than doing our best to keep our families safe. Maybe this is exactly where God wants us. To continue to realize our need for a Savior. Not to just experience a pandemic and move on, but to dwell in the house of earthly uncertainty so that we can learn to abide in the house of certainty with Christ.
Libbo Haskins Crosswhite and her husband, Clay, live in Madison and attend Pinelake. They have one daughter, Mary Thomas, who is 6 years old, and a son, Russell, who is 4 years old. She is the high school guidance counselor at Madison-Ridgeland Academy and can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.