Yes to New Normals

What “yes” might God be inviting you to offer in the new normal of now? Christine Wagoner shares her yes while prodding us towards our own.

Elisa


Yes to New Normals

By Christine Wagoner


A Saturday filled with sunshine and empty of an agenda seemed like a gift. After a cold, wet, winter, and a continued pandemic, this day brought joy. Feeling the giddiness bubble up inside me, I couldn’t get my gardening gloves on fast enough. As I weeded the garden beds, my husband happily mowed the yard for the first time. We enjoyed time together, which we’ve had a lot of these days. I prayed a silent prayer of gratitude for our health and time to relish the spring season.


When we crawled into bed that evening, I felt another emotion surface. Tightness surrounded my throat, and my shoulders tensed up.


Was I about to cry? Why on earth would I be crying after a beautiful day?

Earlier in the week I led discussions with the college ministry directors I work with, to focus on preparations for the fall semester. Not only did the spring season bring sun and flowers, but it also brought vaccines and the hope of re-opening the world. This is what we eagerly prayed for over the last twelve months. While grateful for technology and all the ways we utilized Zoom this year, we’ve missed in person gatherings, caring for people in tangible ways, and establishing more authentic connections with students.


Life would soon get back to normal.


Sitting in bed that night, with tears welling up in my eyes, I turned to my husband and said in a shaky voice, “I’m not sure I want to go back to normal.”

Yes, I desperately want the world to be healed of this pandemic. Our family, like many others, endured much grief, anxiety, and loss in this season. Over the year, my husband and I moved my mother in-law who experiences dementia into our home, and we became her primary caregivers. We stood with my parents as they wondered if they would have to shut down their small business all-together. We grieved the passing of friends with Covid. We shifted to working from home and figured out new ways to get jobs done.


With little to no outside work and social commitments, we spent our days and evenings at home with one another. The slower pace of life seemed jarring at first. It came with questions of how long, and so many uncertainties. In the early days of this season, I felt all control slip through my fingers and with it came fear. Fear of the unknown and my inability to fix any of it.


In my fear, God met me profoundly. He invited me to draw near to his heart and come out of the spiritual lull I found myself in.

I said yes to finding time to read Scripture and connect with Jesus in a consistent way. As I opened my heart to God in tears and questions, he gave incredible grace. My times with him became sweet, peaceful moments amid a storm. I sensed God transforming me. He helped me find real food that nourished my soul. John 6:35 reminded me of this truth:

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.”


Eventually I found a new rhythm with life and with God, which became a new normal. And I liked it. I loved my revived times with Jesus. I appreciated time spent at home and really enjoyed quality time with my husband and mother-in-law. We spent more time with our neighbors outside, which delighted me.


I realized I didn’t miss the complexities of very full schedules and I thrived in the simplicity of this new normal. I loved the time to connect with Christ and people.


God changed me during the pandemic. He invited me to say yes to a revived soul that grew my heart for him and for others. The world will re-open and we will need to adjust, but we have choices in what the “new normal” will look like. We have an opportunity to take the good insights God gave us and lean into them as we create new rhythms.


In this “new normal,” God might be inviting you to love others better. Maybe there’s an invitation to say yes to more sunny Saturdays in the garden. Or could there be a small quiet yes to connect with the God who loves you and brings life to your soul?


If we are open to God, he is gracious to lead us to our own unique yes that will feed our souls and grow his Kingdom. Even during a pandemic.




Christine E. Wagoner is an associate regional director with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, where she directed their national women's leadership development program. She received her master of arts in counseling ministries from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. She is the author of the newly released Finding Your Yes.