Angled light makes it way quietly across the hardwood floors in my bedroom. I am still heavy with sleep when I hear the fluttering of wings and the low cooing of a Mourning dove building a nest on my balcony.
We sleep with the windows open. Cool air sashays in, gently beckoning me to arise, to enjoy just a few minutes of quiet, before my kids burst in the room.
I find my usual spot in the chaise lounge before the window and watch the colors unfold over the Sierra Mountains. There are ribbons of baby blue stretching across the canvas of the sky. I can almost feel their softness like satin. White light breaks through on the horizon.
The birds, their nest, the sky – all of it is a sign of a new season dawning, a new thing being birthed in us.
Hope is close. I can feel her presence like a baby descending the birth canal even though I can’t see the crest of her head quite yet.
Something has changed in me – in us – these last few months of sheltering at home. I have been squeezed, teased, tossed upside down. My rhythms have been reorganized. I have trembled with unspeakable fear knocking at the door. Anxiety has more than once threatened to take the reins.
I have felt the weight of grief, but I also am constantly reminded of God’s glory emanating around me.
Like the mama dove outside my window, I am building a new nest. I gather twigs, needles, and soft scraps to form a new space for my people, for my heart. I can’t rely on last year’s nest or even the method for building it. We have to start anew.
During this season, it took a little time to recalibrate, but I learned to savor the quality time with my three daughters and my husband. We hunkered down in our nest. We invited my parents to stay with us too. It was good to be together with a pandemic raging outside.
In our previous life, we were busy every night. I’d throw together quick meals after Track practices and meets and help kids get to birthday parties, concerts, and graduation ceremonies. My own calendar was full with school author talks, speaking events, and conferences.
With our schedules cleared of the usual activities these last few months, we learned to breathe again.
Sisters have deepened their friendships. My husband and I made space for reading the Bible together in the mornings before he walks to his office in our closet. We took family walks at sunset. My kids did puzzles with their grandparents for hours on end.
I returned to the kitchen for my therapy. I found daily peace in the cadence of chopping, mixing, kneading, and creating new recipes – something I truly love, but haven’t prioritized for the last few years.
We were not rushing off anywhere. We were not pushed by the clock.
We too often fill our time and run ourselves ragged, but we are invited to move gently, to listen to our bodies and our people. We do not have to keep up. We do not have to do things the way everyone else is doing them. We have permission to rest.
I have to admit that when the sheltering at home orders were lifted in Central California, where we live, I felt overwhelmed. I couldn’t just hold all my birds close in the safe little nest of our home anymore. My husband and I had to debate and consider our every move with so much conflicting information coming at us.
I was bogged down by what my mentor-friend Emily P. Freeman calls “decision fatigue.”
Should I let my daughter attend the 8th grade end-of-they-year swim party with all her classmates and families? Would we be putting my parents at risk? Could we take a trip to the beach or should we stay home? Should we attend a friend’s graduation? How could I support my friends who work in hospitals? How often should I grocery shop? My head swirled with the decisions, the ramifications, and the possible outcomes.
I know we are all experiencing this season with different nuances. Things vary according to our geographic location, our economic demographic, our contact with those who are vulnerable, and our own health concerns.
I am learning that I need to fly to God for discernment and fresh strength in these situations. He alone can guide us as we make these hard decisions. The words of Isaiah lift my heart:
“But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.” Isaiah 40:31(MSG)
You and I can move slowly and tenderly. We don’t have to rush into anything. Like that mama dove, it’s ok to let yourself bring in one twig at a time to assemble your new nest. You get to choose. We are not called to judge each other.
I don’t want to forget what I’ve learned. I don’t want to go back to “normal life” as it was before this pandemic.
I want to build a new nest with these twigs of experience.
I want my heart and home to be transformed by the strength we have gained from the Lord in this season.
I want to create space so we all can soar.
Friend, what has God been teaching you in this season? What are some new practices that you have learned while sheltering at home that you want to hold on to for the future?
*I have written a new devotional book, Walk, Run, Soar, that will be released in Fall 2020. Sign up for her Glorygram here and get all the insider details about this exciting new project!