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Lockdown: how a mum muddled through

In the third of our lockdown stories, Anna Hawken, mum of two, soon to be three, writes about her rollercoaster year juggling family challenges and her work as national coordinator for Parenting for Faith.

14 March 2021

I felt completely overwhelmed

I’ll always remember 16 March 2020. The announcement came that anyone with symptoms needed to self-isolate for two weeks, along with their household. As if on cue, my son’s temperature spiked.

I felt completely overwhelmed. The thought of juggling work with children at home full-time, without being able to go anywhere, for two whole weeks was daunting. But there was no choice, so I took a deep breath, asked God to walk with me, and began muddling through.

No substitute available

A low point came a week later, with the announcement of a national lockdown. It was my son’s birthday, so I’d gone online to order all sorts of treats for a little party and to make a cake.

When the groceries were delivered, the delivery driver knocked on the door, left one bag on the doorstep and drove away. I waited until he was gone before opening the door to check. There must have been a mistake – I’d ordered a week’s worth of supplies. What I found was a long list of everything I’d ordered with ‘no substitute available’ next to almost every item. I burst into tears as I began googling how to make a cake without eggs or butter.

‘I burst into tears as I began googling how to make a cake without eggs or butter.’

Like everyone else, we adapted

That was just the beginning, and like everyone else, we adapted. We found a new way of being. A rhythm and a routine that was different from what we were used to but that had all sorts of unexpected perks and blessings mixed into the challenges.

We found joy in little things that we hadn’t made time for or hadn’t noticed before. I learnt to focus on one day at a time and ask God for what I needed, relying on his strength rather than my own carefully crafted plans and routines.

I learnt that some things that I thought mattered weren’t actually very important at all. When I leaned on God, he was faithful to give me everything that I needed.

‘We found a new way of being. We found joy in little things that we hadn’t made time for or hadn’t noticed before.’

We’ve all learnt that during lockdown, there’s no escape! Your family see the good, the bad and the ugly in you and your relationships like never before. Learning how to do life with God happens on the job, and this set us up for some serious learning opportunities. Sharing, explaining, apologising, debriefing and rethinking all became regular parts of our daily lives.

Creating windows

One of the things I’ve most treasured about this time has been the opportunities it has brought to ‘create windows’ into my own relationship with God. Having less alone time and less headspace forced me to get creative in how I connected with him. Rather than using a walk alone back from school to chat with him or meeting for friends with coffee to pray, I increasingly did those things in the chaos.

This was great for getting me and God checking in more throughout the day and helpful for my kids to see too. With so much more time together, they were naturally getting to see more of my relationship with God. These glimpses will give them ideas for what their own version of connecting with God looks like, now and in the future.

‘Having less alone time forced me to get creative in how I connected with God.’

Lots of these windows were tiny things – texting friends a prayer request, putting worship music on while tackling the kitchen or chatting to God as we went on a walk. I love that we have a God that sees and cares about the little things too.

Things I’ve loved about lockdown

There were other opportunities too. My church started a daily Bible study on Facebook Live. I could prop my phone up on the breakfast table, and point out how different people were engaging with the same passage. Online church made Sunday mornings much calmer and less pressured. Again, the ability to pause and explain what was happening, point things out and ask questions, was so helpful. It’s something that is so much harder to do in ‘normal times’, and I’ve loved that about lockdown.

Those original two weeks of isolation have paled into insignificance compared to the 252 days of my children being off school. (Yes, I counted.) As my son’s birthday rolls around again, we still won’t have a huge celebration. But our hearts and minds are in a completely different place. He’ll be able to see his friends at school. We’ll enjoy having a party of just our household when he comes home. We are grateful for our health and access to everything that we need in a new way.

‘There were 252 days of my children being off school. (Yes, I counted.)’

God has been faithful through every high and low of this year, ‘bringing strength for the day and bright hope for tomorrow’. I’m excited to see how he uses all that he’s grown in us, as we begin to be released into the wider world again.

Anna Hawken

Anna Hawken is national coordinator for BRF’s Parenting for Faith.

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