There is a bit of irony in the fact that our next six week long Exploration is Survival. Sure, we had a different idea of what these weeks were going to look like. We were going to be out in the wilderness – together collaborating with peers in a multi-aged setting – solving problems, critically thinking, and attacking challenges with a growth mindset. We were going to be in the physical presence of one another. We were going to make lasting memories. We were going to try hard things. We were going to be building, creating, getting dirty, learning, observing, and seeing and encountering God in His creation. “Many are the plans of man,” Proverbs 19:21 reminds me, and boy, did we have plans for what these memorable weeks of experiential learning were going to look like. With the transition to distance learning, Nicole (our amazingly talented guide), and I asked, “God, what do you want from me during this time?”
In no way do I want to brush over how different and challenging this thing called distance learning is. This is a new normal for all of us. Like many of you, I am learning how to juggle the work-life balance at home, along with a spouse and three children working and learning from home. And while my family shares spaces and an overloaded wireless network, I recognize there are things I mourn, my children mourn, and my husband mourn. In regards to school, I mourn the faces, the laughter, the joy, the worship, the time together, the change in our Survival Exploration, and the gathering around the table for morning manna. Yet, I still ask, “God, what do you want from me during this time?”
God has so much He wants from me, for us, but I will limit myself to a few observations. First, He wants me to remember He is here. Amidst all of the chaos and changes, His peace is ready and available. John 14:27, Jesus speaks to his disciples when they were in hiding, afraid and terrified for their life. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let you hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” No matter what we are facing, He offers us His “peace that surpasses all understanding.”
His peace is found as our family sits around the dinner table more often. His peace is found in the sounds of music while the kids teach themselves ukulele, guitar, and piano. His peace is found in the quiet, calmer mornings. His peace is found as our family bakes and cooks together more. His peace is found in the joy of the kids talking over Google Chat with their friends from school. His peace is found when my family located in Florida, Illinois, and Washington D.C. meet over Zoom.
Second, He wants us to come to Him. He wants us to pray to Him, lament to Him, listen to Him, and make time for Him. During Holy Week, I heard a pastor share how we are in what he is calling a “forced Sabbath.” He challenged those to consider if Sabbath prior to the pandemic has been a time where we truly sought to be sanctified and transformed for His glory and purposes while finding rest from our labor. If so, wonderful. If not, I go back to the question, “God, what do you want from me during this time?” He wants me. He wants you. Matthew 11:28-29, Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Go to Him. Find rest in Him. “Be still, and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10 NIV
Lastly, Nicole and I prayed, “God, what do you want from us, from Bethel, during this time?” His response, “Be a blessing. Be a light.” While Nicole worked on rethinking Survival due to distance learning, we felt compelled to offer those Survival resources for free to the greater community. It is our prayer that this will bless families near and far, as well as help lighten their load. We invite you to join us on our Survival Exploration, and hopefully it will allow you to survive this thing we are all doing called distance learning. We are all in this together!
To end, I ask, “What does God want from you during this time?” And may we never forget.