The day of March 13, 2020 started out as any other regular ole day. Mostly. But, by the time the sun had set, the whole world started to change a little. Just after dark, as I sat on my porch with my daughters, we were trying to figure out exactly how a two-week shutdown would directly affect us. We watched local and national news from our phones and it appeared that worldwide panic was setting in with the worldwide pandemic.
We thought, we pondered, we joked and then we mildly worried about the COVID19 pandemic. Even though we joked and made light of the situation, we always went back to low-key worrying. Being a woman of faith, I knew better than to let our worry get the best of us. I knew the Lord’s mighty hand could be felt in any grave situation. We sat on our porch and each one of us took turns praying for our nation, praying for our leaders and then each one of us took turns praying individually.
When it came time for my oldest daughter to pray individually, she chose to pray for my friend, Lyn, who would soon be giving birth to her very first child. I was almost embarrassed that I had not considered my friend and what she must be feeling. Giving birth is a miraculous moment mixed with blessings and anxiety on a normal day. But, giving birth during a pandemic had to be accompanied by feelings of fear of the unknown.
As soon as we finished our prayers, I called my friend to let her know that Meredith chose to pray for her during our porch prayers. It made me feel slightly guilty that I had forgotten to include them. As a mom trying to raise thoughtful kids, it truly made my day that she wasn’t just thinking about herself or her own circumstances. She chose my dear friend to ask God to be with her during this uncertain time. After speaking with my friend, I could tell by the tone in her voice that she was calm and reassured.
She was so full of peace and she knew everything would be okay. She is also a praying woman.
Over the next couple of weeks my friend became well-versed in the changes that would accompany a COVID-19 childbirth. She could only have one person in the room with her. That one person could not be interchanged at any time. As soon as the baby was born, there would be no extra lingering around the hospital if there were no complications. There could be no visitors at all. This meant we could not invade her room as soon as he was born and shower them with affection.
As we would soon learn, we could not shower him with kisses at all. We could only admire him from afar. With no fanfare, or pomp and circumstance. Mr. Jalen made his quiet entrance into this world during a pandemic. He was healthy; he was just as beautiful as we imagined he would be; and we could only view him on Facetime. That was perfect for me; we wanted him to stay healthy.
Months had rolled by; I was only able to briefly hold him a couple of times and the anticipation of one-on-one time with him was building. On Halloween day I called my friend to let her know that I had a spooky present for him, it was just my luck they were in town and would be stopping by.
When they pulled in my driveway, I removed him from his car seat and I welcomed him to my home. All of my friends’ children refer to me as, “Auntie Reebs” so I need to start training Jalen of this very important nickname. As I was holding him and telling him where he was, I just became so overwhelmed with gratefulness. I was grateful to be holding him at my home. I was grateful he was healthy and I was grateful that I even had a home to welcome him into. I was grateful that I could afford to buy him a small gift for Halloween. I was grateful that my friend is now a mother. Words almost cannot explain the feeling of gratitude that had engulfed me. And, it was Halloween. It wasn’t even the worldly acceptable time to give thanks.
As we just celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday, I encourage you to find something to be grateful for every single day until the next Thanksgiving. Look for the small reasons to give thanks.
Even if you do not feel like you like you have anything to be grateful for, thank God as though you do. Your thankfulness will catch up with your circumstances one day, and when it does, your heart will be overflowing with gratefulness.
“Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and enter his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” – Psalm 100:4-5