By May Patterson, Crosswalk.com
Just to be honest, pandemics really stink, don’t they?
Many are sick right now, barely clinging to life. Some have died. Businesses are struggling to survive. Schools are closed. Medical supplies are low. Some officials are panicking.
Maybe you’re panicking a bit, too.
What if your kids get sick? Are they washing their hands?
You never understood chemistry, so how can you teach it to your tenth grader?
How can you police toilet paper usage, sibling conflicts and Netflix, all at the same time?
Right now, we're witnessing history in the making. And like you, I have no idea what will happen, but here’s the good news: this pandemic will not last forever. No matter how endless it feels right now, eventually it will pass.
As you try to survive this global outbreak, remember that a virus isn’t the only thing you’ve got to fight.
You must also fight fear and anxiety daily, like the plague.
The Bible tells us why. It says: “Anxious hearts are very heavy…” (Prov. 12:25 TLB) In other words, the more anxiety you carry in your heart, the harder this pandemic will be. Anxiety weighs you down. It weakens you. And right now, you need to be strong for yourself and for your children.
But how can you battle anxiety and fear when the whole world seems to be falling apart? Here are 7 ways to overcome panic:
1. Remember Who God Is
- God is a Savior. He made a way—through Jesus Christ—for you to live, even if you die. And He doesn’t partially save. He doesn’t wish He could save. He saves—completely and forever. Has He saved you? If not, there’s no better time to be saved than today. Please don’t go through this painful time alone. (Jn. 5:24). Believe. Repent (Acts 3:19). Claim Jesus as your Savior, for only He can save you (Jn. 14:6).
- God is a Healer. In Exodus 15, God calls Himself “Jehovah the Healer” (Ex. 15:26). So naturally His son, Jesus, is also a healer. He touched the sick and dying and He still does today. But He can do more than heal bodies. He can also heal our hearts, our lives, and our land. If there’s ever been a time for you to cry out to the Lord for healing, it’s now.
- God is a Redeemer. “To redeem” means to repair, to restore, or to change for the better. Sound good? I think so, too. This is what the Lord has always done for His people and will continue to do (Ps. 103:3-5). This means that somehow, the Lord will redeem this time of loss, sorrow and scarcity. It means you and your family will get through this. Trust Him as you cling to this verse: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast,” (1 Peter 5:10).
2. Remember Who You Are
- You have a purpose. The Bible says, “…God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them,” (Rom. 8:28 NLT). As you face the pandemic, you can rest assured that the Lord will use this time for good. This will help you keep a positive perspective. Having a sense of purpose in this pandemic will make you stronger, helping you rise above depression and despair.
- You aren’t alone. “...God has said, never will I leave you; never will I forsake you,” (Heb. 13:5). Even though you may feel isolated and alone right now, you’re never truly alone, for the Lord is with you wherever you go (Josh. 1:9). Incorporate this truth into your thoughts. Use this time to know God better. Thank Him for His continuous presence, each day.
- Your hope is real. The Bible promises: “Our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!” (2 Cor. 4:17 NLT) Being hopeful causes you to live and to love differently. Hope helps you be a better, more positive mom. Hope empowers you to bless others. Remember as a believer in Christ, you have the greatest hope there is!
3. Look for the Silver Linings
Recall the good things God has provided for you, even during these difficult, unprecedented weeks. What’s He done for you today? In the midst of this historic time, remember to thank God for His provision. Write your blessings down, so you’ll never forget them—even years from now. Here’s a few of God’s blessings I’m thankful for:
- My wonderful husband, who’s going through this pandemic with me.
- I’m getting to spend extra time with my precious children.
- My fridge is stocked and my bills are paid (at least for today).
- I found 3 containers of Clorox wipes under the guest room bed. Aha!
- My Japanese magnolia is in full bloom. Birds are singing each morning.
I bet God has provided a lot of blessings for you, too. Trust that He will continue to provide.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Malachi Brooks
4. Guard Your Mouth
Panicky, fearful words flow so easily in times like these!
Be very careful about what you say because fear-filled words weigh you down and impart fear to others. In order to combat panic, speak words of faith and courage daily, on purpose. Your children are listening more closely than you know.
What you say about this pandemic can help them face future times of suffering, so choose your words wisely. Talk about what you believe. Talk about the good. And talk about what is true. Refuse to get sucked into the panic and be sure not to add to it with careless, negative words.
5. Pray like Never Before
For now, this pandemic has brought our country to its knees. So while we’re down there anyway, let’s pray. Let’s pray like our future depends on it, because it does.
How you and I respond affects how God responds. 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us that if we call on the name of God and humble ourselves in repentance and prayer, He will heal our land.
Use the extra time you have right now to pray for your family and to pray with your family. Pray for those who are sick, for our leaders and for healthcare workers.
6. Think of Others
“Illness can make you really selfish” a friend once told me before she died. It’s true. When you’re hurting, it’s easy to forget others and to focus on yourself. This is why so many people are hoarding, right now. It’s why someone stole the tip jar at a coffee shop near my house. It’s why a co-worker shows up at the office with a fever.
They’re only thinking of themselves—not others. Don’t let this happen in your family. Thinking of other people’s needs will help you and your children flourish during this time. Here are some ways you and your kids can help others:
- People are isolated: Facetime Grandma today. Have your kids make cards for an elderly neighbor. Give air hugs. Make patio visits.
- People are in need: give willingly. Share toilet paper with a friend. Deliver groceries to those who can’t get out.
- People are sick: check on your neighbors. Donate blood. Pray for others, daily.
- People are losing their jobs: leave a giant tip. Pay a bill early. This 7-year-old used his savings help the needy. What can you do?
- People are losing hope: remind others of God’s love. Be encouraging. Share your faith. This pandemic can be a great opportunity to make an eternal difference.
7. Feed on Encouragement Daily
Prov. 17:22 says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength.” In other words, you need to smile and laugh daily, even when you don’t feel like it, because laughter gives you strength. Encouragement dispels discouragement. So to help you smile and to lift your heart, check out these fun links below:
- My Dad turned 85 this week and since we couldn’t hug him, we serenaded him. His response will make your day.
- This flash mob gives me chills. So many people praising God! I sing with them every time I watch it (or at least I try).
- Doctors and nurses dancing to keep spirits high in Tehran.
- Neighbors play music together from balconies in Sicily.
- Miss the treadmill at your gym? This guy has it figured out.
- And…watch this kitchen “DJ” genius.
Mama, if you’re panicking right now, store up these truths in your heart. Combat fear by remembering them daily. And above all, remember this: God loves you and your children. Forever and ever. No matter what.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/Kaan Sezer
May Patterson has been writing and teaching Bible study classes for years. Recently she released her first book, “Seeking a Familiar Face.” Now, she has just released its companion Bible study workbook. May trained in small group dynamics for over ten years with Bible Study Fellowship, serving as a leader for four years. She has written for various magazines including Focus on the Family, Upper Room Magazine and iBelieve, and is a sought-after public speaker. May is married to her dear friend, Mike, and they have three grown children. She loves to tell stories, laugh, and talk about the adventure of seeking God. Read more from May by visiting: http://www.maypatterson.com.