Ride 5 – Determination

Opening Prayer:

To All Families, 

Psalm 118:24 declares this is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.

Life

Strange?

      Yet all too Wonderful

      Sad

      Such a great Roller Coaster Ride!

Whatever the picture – It’s Life and we can rejoice. 

      It’s good that a man should both HOPE and quietly wait for the Salvation of the Lord. For it’s even from the Most High that both adversity [misfortune] and good [prosperity, happiness] proceed Lamentations 3:26, v40 AMP.

      Today- know that we have this HOPE [this confident assurance] we have as an anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whatever pressure bears upon it] – a safe and steadfast HOPE that enters within the veil [of the heavenly temple that most holy place in which the very presence of God dwells] Hebrew 6:19 AMP.

       We have this HOPE-

       We pray for protection, the removal of the pandemic, and a cure of the coronavirus. We stand in unity and agreement there’s HOPE for healing and restoration, for grace and mercy, HOPE for love and HOPE for brighter days ahead.

       Our HOPE

       Life is strange; yet all too wonderful, sad, such a great roller coaster ride. (Mario Gilbert, Huntsville, Alabama)

Bible Readings:

Genesis 6:9-8:22; Daniel 1; Mark 2:1-12; Luke 15:1-10; 

Bible Verses:

“Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.” 1 Corinthians 9:26 (NIV)

“Fight the good fight of faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.” 1 Timothy 6:12 (NIV)

“I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” Philippians 4:13 (NIV)

Devotional: 

Before the pandemic began, Blake and I were training for the 2021 Dopey Challenge hosted by Disney World (and I hope that we will be blessed with the opportunity to continue to train and run this event). The reason it’s called the Dopey Challenge is because you have to be a real dope to run a 5k (3.1 miles) on Thursday, a 10k (6.2 miles) on Friday, a half-marathon (13.1 miles) on Saturday, and a full marathon (26.2 miles) on Sunday. I told you, you have to be a real dope. I’m tired just typing that.

I have been running for over 30 years and am an extensively experienced marathoner. I have willed myself through a variety of situations while running, including (but not limited to): holding my pee for hours on end, overcoming an insatiable craving for French fries when I’m 10 miles from home, running without socks and through painful blisters for 22 more miles because I’d abandoned all hope in the socks I’d worn at mile four, and being lost for hours on end on a long run and having to run double my planned distance just to find my way back. I know determination. 

I’m also a mom. I’ve been pregnant and given birth, which means I’ve endured labor. I regularly face off with a four-year old that stole Mariah Carey’s diva crown years ago. I know determination. 

So when I tell you that on Thursday, I woke up at sunrise with more determination that I’ve ever had in my life to rid my house of this awful intruder (the virus) that had invaded my home, you can believe that I was a mom on a mission to save her family. I was determined. 

Something else that you should know about me is that I’m an environmental engineer. I’m highly trained and qualified to clean up hazardous messes and dispose of them. That morning I stood in my kitchen and no longer did I see the cozy home that we had made, but I saw my mission, my objective, my purpose. I was going to clean this place and disinfect it like no one had ever done before. 

I scrubbed and scrubbed again until my hands were raw. I swept and mopped until I couldn’t stand up. I washed every bit of laundry that I could find in our house and then washed anything else that was fabric, including throw pillows and curtains. I wiped every baseboard and door frame. By nightfall, I could barely move. And I still needed to make dinner and ensure Astin was bathed and put to bed. I had resolved to keep her life as normal as possible during a time in our lives when it was anything but. 

The next day, I woke up and did it again. I worked myself to the bone. While it may have appeared that I was just cleaning my house, I was in actuality trying to reduce viral load. The virus was here – it was in my house – and I couldn’t control that any more, but what I thought I could control was how much of it was in the house and who it could touch. I was wrong. 


It’s okay to be determined. Trust me, you are going to need every bit of that to beat this virus or help your loved one beat it. But you need to first stop and breathe and make sure you have focus along with your determination, and that you are focused on the right things and not just blindly determined to do something. 

Yes, I needed to disinfect my house and ensure that we reduced the virus’s chance of survival outside its host on inanimate objects such as my countertops and the kids’ toys. And you will need to do this to. But nobody needs to exhaust themselves doing that. In hindsight, I should have been focused on caring for myself more instead of determined to work through my anxiety by scrubbing bathrooms. But honestly I didn’t know what else do to. By this time, five of our family members had been diagnosed with Coronavirus (I would soon be the sixth) and it would attack four generations of our family in one week

A few nights ago, Flynn read me the story of Noah’s Ark from a children’s book. He may be playing video games all day, but I still make him read and talk to me. I hope that we will leave isolation just as social and educated as we entered. As he was reading the story, I focused on just how long it took Noah to build the ark: 120 years. And Noah himself was no spring chicken. When he finished he was 600 years old. Look, I’m 41 years old and it takes all the determination I have not to get up and potty more than three times during an average movie. Do you know how much determination it took Noah to build that ark? But he had a purpose and a plan. He was focused. He did not use his determination blindly. God was very specific about the ark and how he wanted Noah to build it and what he wanted Noah to do with it once it was built. You need a plan too. You need focus.

Daniel was another determined young man, who refused to pollute his body with rich food and wine and held out for vegetables and healthier alternatives because he knew that if he stayed focused, it would lead to God’s blessing. In the parable of the lost sheep, the shepherd is determined to bring the one sheep back into the flock, and in the parable of the lost coin, the woman looks with determination until she finds it. Each of these Bible stories demonstrates that determination pays off, but you cannot lack focus. They each focused on what they wanted to find. You need to know both why you are determined and on what you will focus.

In all those marathons I’ve run, I’ve been determined to finish, but I’ve also been focused on my goal, which is to run 26.2 miles. You can’t finish the race without putting one foot in front of the other to cover the entire distance, and sometimes that’s all you can focus on to finish. Without fail, every time I’ve crossed a finish line, I’ve had a medal hung around my neck. After some especially hard runs, I’ve burst into tears and fallen to my knees thanking God for getting me through it (because aside from all my training, it also takes a lot of prayer). We have to put our faith in God that there is a reward at the end of all this.

I think of COVID like a marathon. I want you to be determined to beat Coronavirus. But at the same time, I want you to focus on your health. Don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal of total healing. It is not an easy journey. For many it will be hard. We had two loved ones hospitalized during our journey. You’re going to need every bit of determination you have in your body and soul to beat this. I’m not going to sugar coat it. Even if you are asymptomatic, just the isolation is hard. I can only imagine the resolve needed to overcome a more severe case.

You need determination and you need focus. Focus on God and getting better and the determination you need will come when you need it most. You’ve got this. One foot in front of the other. We’re all going to deserve a medal after this fight. I chose one of my favorite verses today, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13), because it’s true. Focus on God and he will bless you with determination. He will strengthen you in ways you can only imagine. 

Tips from a weary mama: 

Make a plan. You need to clean your home and disinfect it. That’s a given. But you don’t have to do it all in one day. Pick two rooms and work on those. Schedule time in your day for self-care and rest. If I could tell my past self one thing, this would be a top consideration. I would have cleaned my kitchen and my living room on the first day because that was a common area that Flynn had been in. Then I would have prioritized other rooms for other days. He didn’t go in the dining room or my bathroom as often as the living room, so those rooms could have waited. Assess your home or your situation in an objective way. Make a plan and stick to it. Sort the tasks into one time quarantine deep clean and then list the tasks that you need to perform daily – such as wiping down high touch surfaces like doorknobs and light switches. But don’t forget to schedule self-care!

I wrote my best tips in another blog post on another site that you can find here: https://enviromamamental.com/2020/06/05/covid-19-what-weve-learned-so-far-in-our-house/

Journal:

Obviously I cleaned to work out my anxiety. I also used it as a means to push my fear down where I didn’t have to deal with it right then. I was tired of dealing with it. What are some things you do to suppress fear or anxiety? What happens while you are doing those things? After? Are there changes you can make (what better time than now when you’re stuck in your house) to choose a mentally and emotionally healthier alternative to surpassing these emotions with busy work? 

Closing Prayer: 

Dear Heavenly Father, we come thanking for protection during these uncertain times. We thank you for loving us despite of ourselves. We also pray for all of those who have been impacted by COVID19. Lord, heal their bodies and give them peace in their bodies and their minds. Though we don’t understand how to fix this issue, even in this, we cast our cares on you because we know you care for us. Again, Lord, we thank you for healing for those impacted, and protection and wisdom for the rest of us. In these times of separation and solitude, help us to hear better from you and grow closer to you and stronger as family units. We love you and praise you and it is in the name of Jesus Christ that I pray, Amen. (Biko Freeman, Dothan, Alabama)

Footnote:

Once I participated in an oratory contest sponsored by my Grandmother Mildred’s church. I was in elementary school – probably around the fourth grade. We were each given a different Bible verse and we had to write a three to five minute speech using that verse. I was given John 15:1-5 and I completely missed the mark on the meaning of the verses about the vine bearing fruit. I don’t even remember what I wrote or spoke because I was so far off the mark that even the compassionate Bible teacher looked at me as if to say “What just happened?” I do, however, remember the girl who spoke after me. She perfectly delivered a speech on Proverbs 14. I can still hear her smooth voice saying “the hand that rocks that cradle, rules the world” as she makes the most fluid and appropriate hand gesture. I can assure you that I did nothing appropriate that day. I’m thinking about this memory today as I write because I wanted to write about the difference between blind determination and determination with focus, and right now I feel like that fourth grade girl who missed the mark on the fruit vines, with the hand that rocks the cradle girl on deck. I hope that you are enjoying this devotional. I really hope that it makes sense. It comes from the heart, I can assure you of that. I’m determined to write every day and my focus is on ensuring you feel comfort and joy. Some days I feel like writing about darker topics and other days, my words are littered with comments that almost feel inappropriate to type under the circumstances (like how I have to potty three times during the average movie). I know I’m missing the mark on Bible verses and readings. I know there are probably better ones that make more sense. But these are the ones that speak to me and I hope they speak to you. I hope you find comfort and peace. Know that you are loved.

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