Growing In Gravel (During Chaos)

I chose the name Growing in Gravel for my blog nearly ten years ago.. before I even thought of creating a blog. Life was messy then and I made a conscious effort to grow in the soil (or gravel) I was given. I chose to forgive when it was difficult, I chose to do my best to accept scheduling conflicts and changes due to living in a blended family. I even scheduled the birth of my first child around our very limited visitation. (Something I probably wouldn’t do again, but hey I was trying my best.)

Here’s the thing.. life was messy then and it’s messy now. It’s a different kind of messy but we still have a choice.

This last week my family and I drove to Utah and stayed in a private cabin and hiked some beautiful trails. We stayed as far from people as we could due to the need to respect social distancing. We allowed my step daughter to get on the plane to visit her mom, communicating all the precautions she should take and we went on with life. We knew of the threat of Coronavirus, but it wasn’t being labeled a pandemic yet. she was looking forward to seeing her other family and we were looking forward to unplugging and getting off social media. Fast forward a week. We head home, everything is closing and we are realizing more and more how serious this is. Now we have no idea if and when we can get my step daughter home and what the right decision is there. Opinions aside, it’s a scary time and living in a blended family just complicates it. Do we share time and send them back and forth risking more exposure. Do we ask her to stay there and hope it won’t turn into some messy court case later because of some other motive. (That’s a story for another day) As of now we changed the ticket and thanked God that she got more time with the family she doesn’t see as often anymore and we are just praying for peace and direction. None of this is easy.

My heart is so heavy thinking of all the families in the same or similar boats. Lack of control and uncertainties are so difficult to navigate. Both parents/families wanting desperately to protect their children and be with them during such an uneasy time. There are no easy answers here. There probably aren’t any right ones either – other than being respectful and kind and not using this to your advantage. There are parents out there missing their kids and not knowing when they can see them again and there are parents out there wondering if it’s the right choice to allow the normal sharing of visitations. This is messy.

I was reminded recently though that we still have a choice. Even when it feels like things are being taken away left and right. We GET to choose our focus. This little red flower growing on the side of a mountain reminded me that we CAN grow in gravel and uncomfortable circumstances. We can choose to sing, to be grateful, to focus on the gift of togetherness and the food that was available instead of what’s not. We can choose to be grateful that my step daughter is getting the gift of time off school right now – and less stress which was so desperately needed for her. We can be grateful that she is safe and cared for in her other home instead of fearing any outcome. We can be grateful for the children in our home who are healthy and pretty oblivious to the stress outside. I am so grateful that none of this surprised God and therefore I don’t need to fear – even when I don’t understand it at all! We can choose joy daily. It’s not easy – I know – but practice makes it easier.

Life is messy. I certainly didn’t expect this mess. None of us did I imagine. Yet here we are. And we are in this together. So let’s practice some grace, patience and re focusing our thoughts.


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