Back to School . . . Kind of . . . Sort of . . . Please . . .

Back to school. Back to school . . . these kids are going back to school. Some at home . . . some in person . . . I really prefer the real school version . . .

Yada . . . yada . . . I’d like to thank Billy Madison and my teenage years for the inspiration for that little ditty.

This is where we have landed in the land of COVID Pandemic schooling. My oldest will return to in person, real deal school, with precautions, of course, in just over a week. My youngest’s school will start virtually for three weeks (womp . . . womp . . . ), and then shift to in person, also with precautions, following that.

And although I’d love, like love more than anything, for life to just go back to normal. That’s not where we are at this point. So this is how it will look, and I fully support the decisions and effort that our kids’ schools are putting into making this year as safe and smooth as possible.

Coming to the decision to allow my kids to go back, in person, wasn’t the easiest thing for me. I am incredibly risk adverse while my husband is more of (okay, a lot of) a risk taker. As one friend put it, I’m 10000% the brakes, and he’s full speed ahead, pedal to floor, the gas. If it were up to me, we’d never move forward . . . ever, and if it were up to him, we’d never slow down. God knew what He was doing when He put us together, and as we’ve learned to listen to one another, we’ve found we balance each other out quite well.

My family’s health is very important to me, and I take it seriously. But as we weighed all of the pros and cons for our family (which will look different for every single family), back to school, in person, was the best choice for our kids. It may not be the best choice for your kids and family right now, and that’s okay. And things may change, and we may all have to pivot and pivot again (I mean we are all feeling the sofa stairwell scene from Friends right now), and guess what? Also, okay.

What’s not okay?

The judgment laced posts and comments I see out there. If someone is choosing not to send their kids in person, instead of screaming that they’re living in fear, maybe stop to consider that they are making the wisest choice for their family. And if someone is choosing to send their kids back, that’s not necessarily reckless, but it may be that their kids and family need something different than yours. Let’s be kind, and further, let’s allow that to extend beyond school decisions. Let’s treat one another with huge amounts grace and respect as we figure out how to navigate this world in the midst of and then following this pandemic. Let’s allow that grace and respect to drive our decisions in how we treat others, and let’s show up to support one another.

I know I don’t owe any answers to anyone, but I’ve seen so many discussions regarding this very thing lately. While I think we’d all love to not think about or discuss the “stupid coronavirus” in any way, form, or fashion, it’s very much a driving force in our lives right now. I’ve had numerous messages asking, from both a former educator’s and a mom’s viewpoint, what I think the right answer is. And my answer remains, there’s no wrong answer. If you love your kids, and they’re safe, secure, and provided for, then the right answer is the one that is best for your family. Whether it be school, sports, church, family gatherings, or a myriad of other things, pray about it, weigh it out, and trust that God has given you the wisdom and resources you need to make the right decisions for your family both now and in the future. And no matter what choices you make, I’m here to say, “Good for you!”. And I promise never to tear you down for those choices.

And for good measure, I’ll add, I’m still not here for homeschooling, but God is really teaching some sort of lesson on flexibility in this season. I’m trying y’all. I promise.

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:32

Copyright 2020, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved 

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

Just Jesus

“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

Isn’t it amazing how we as humans will latch onto all the bad news, the fear mongering, the conspiracy theories, the attacks on others, the arguing, the backbiting . . . and we don’t just read or watch it and go on . . . we dwell there . . . we feed on it . . . we dive deep into it . . . and we perpetuate it . . .

I’m as guilty as anyone, and I think we all have a tendency to justify dwelling on and sharing the “ugly” by saying we’re just being informed. But here’s the thing, I think it’s incredibly important to be informed, and I definitely think we are called to be truth and light. The bible tells us we are to “be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16) so, as I’ve said before, you’ll never find me buying into the a “denial of reality” theology. But I think it’s important to remember that reality isn’t always what we see (or watch or read) directly in front of our faces.

So in sharing, in speaking, in writing, and even more so in choosing where I’m going to dwell, where I’m going to live my life, I’m more and more convicted that I need to question myself and those giving the “information” before I decide to camp there.

  1. Is it true? Strong’s (227) actually has “true in fact” as one of the usages of this word. Yesterday, I was asked what a “false fact” is, and I explained that when I was teaching we called them “nonfacts” . . . information, presented as fact that in reality is false. Basically, a lie. And the world is full of people, from every walk of life, political persuasion, and even religion, presenting false facts, lies, as facts and truth because it is to their benefit (just turn on any . . . yes, I said “any” news station and you’ll see this). We have to be cautious in what we buy into and what we believe, and if I can’t verify it’s truth, then I need to be very careful in putting it out there and absolutely cannot let it become my dwelling place.
  2. Is it noble? Even if it’s true, is it noble? One of the words used for noble in Strong’s Concordance (4586) is “honorable”. Is what I’m saying and dwelling in honorable?
  3. Is it just? Strong’s (1342) says “righteous” and “correct”. Is what I’m saying, writing, sharing, and believing both “righteous” and “correct”?
  4. Is it pure, lovely, and of good report? Does it have virtue and is it praiseworthy? All pretty self explanatory. And honestly, not always easy.

So what if it’s not a “yes” to all of these things . . . starting with truth but building from there? Should I acknowledge it? I can and may have to. I acknowledge, that right now there is a very real pandemic that can be deadly and dangerous for many. I acknowledge that there are things we need to do to be cautious and considerate and to protect ourselves and others. But at the same time, I refuse to sit and dwell on the numbers, the news reports, and the statistics. And when the fear starts to creep in, and it does for me as it does for many others, I return to Psalm 91 over and over again. That is where I choose to dwell.

Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world where sin is rampant and “bad” is often the reality we see. But acknowledging that reality does not mean ruminating and dwelling on it, whether it be a news story, a conspiracy theory (which y’all stop with the conspiracy theories . . . please . . . they’re not healthy for you mentally, emotionally, and dare I say, spiritually . . .) whatever it’s source may be.

Jesus himself said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33) . . . the “world” where everything is not always going to go our way . . . where in the natural things are not always going to look “good” . . . where no matter what we face, come pandemics, economies crashing, natural disasters, or whomever is in office (seriously, stop making yourself sick over this because guess what? No matter who is in office Jesus is still King . . . we say it . . . now act like it) . . . Jesus is the ONE that has overcome it all, and that is where our focus must land, over and over, time and again.

These words from one of my favorite songs have been running through my head, on repeat these past couple of days, “Give me Jesus, Give me Jesus, You can have all this world, But give me Jesus . . .”*. Start to finish, whatever comes or doesn’t, through Him, we are more than conquerors, and I’ll set up camp with Him any day.

Copyright 2020, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved 

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.
*From the African American Spiritual, Give Me Jesus 

The One Where I Have a Little Meltdown . . . You’re Welcome

I’m generally pretty good when it comes to dealing with things that don’t go my way. I’m not the most flexible person when it comes to schedule interruptions, but when hard things come our way, I’m pretty good at the getting over it and getting on with life. I’ve very much a realist. I always try to see the good in everything. I pretty much believe there is a solution to every problem, but you’ll rarely find me living in the land of denial.

Sometimes, however, I just have a moment . . . or a few hours . . . or maybe even a couple days . . . and honestly, that’s what happened this week. All of it kind of hit me. It wasn’t/isn’t just that I’m tired of all of this. It went beyond that. I just felt such immense disappointment and overwhelmed by all the things.

I love my children more than life itself. But, with the exception of a few short hours here and there and of course, while they’re sleeping, I’ve been with them almost continually since March 13th. A little background . . .

My youngest was adopted, from an orphanage, at almost three and has some special needs due to what she endured in that orphanage . . . some developmental but more emotional and sensory. I don’t talk about them a ton, mostly because she deserves both privacy and protection. She’s an absolute rock star. She’s made massive progress since coming home, and God’s faithfulness has been beyond evident. While, this time has been good for her in many ways, in other ways, it has made her more clingy and anxious as she tries to navigate so much uncertainty. I know other kids are feeling major anxiety right now and may have seemingly similar issues, but adopted and special needs kiddos are just different . . . put adoption and special needs together, and it can be rough. There is a deep seated fear of abandonment coupled with the effects on the brain from past starvation and neglect . . . it’s like comparing apples to broccoli. She is right by my side for a large portion of her waking hours and has had, over the course of the past five months, a handful of pretty big meltdowns. She needs a lot of stimulation and a lot of attention, and we continue to work on all of her academic, social, and emotional skills as well. I adore her. So very much. I adore her kisses and hugs and cuddles, but as someone who needs space and quiet to recharge, the nonstop-ness of it all can leave me drained. And y’all let me add, it’s the middle of the summer, and I’ve read The Night Before Christmas 875 times since March 13th. Jesus take the wheel. The blessing with this kiddo is she’s a pretty awesome and mostly peaceful sleeper . . . many of the other parents have joked that we adopted the only Bulgarian kiddo that likes to sleep.

Then there’s my oldest. He’s sweet, and independent, and helpful, and intelligent . . . but he’s almost 13 and very hormonal. Do I need to say anymore??? Why did God create puberty <insert face palm right here>??? (That’s rhetorical . . . no need to answer . . .) This (man) child has never been a sleeper. And now, he thinks that means he should get to stay up late, with my husband and me, which often leads to lots of heavy sighs, and I’m sure covert eye rolls when we finally make him go to bed (yes, we compromise with him . . . he’s not going to bed at 8:00 p.m.).

My husband often works six or seven days a week and many evenings, and our time together, without any interruptions, is usually relegated to ten o’clock (or later) at night. We’ve never been the type to go on weekly or even monthly dates, not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not worked out that way for us. But the fact that we haven’t really done anything alone together since early March coupled with absolutely no dates and cancelling two different trips sans kids (and dog), the pandemic, that in person school for Anna will not start until at least mid-September (and I completely agree with that decision but . . . wahhhh!!!), Patrick’s insane and long working hours . . . which let me say: (1) I’m so thankful for a husband that works so hard to provide for his family so do not hear me wrong and (2) I’m even more thankful for God’s provision at this time . . . and the Groundhog-esque Day situation in which we now find ourselves . . .

I. Had. A. Moment.

That’s it.

If you’ve read this far, you just read a whole heck of a lot of whining, but sometimes you just have to get it all out. And sometimes others need to know you’re right there with them. Even if our situations aren’t exactly, or even close to, the same, a lot of us are at the point where tired has now become the understatement of the year. We’re weary and fatigued, and we feel like there’s no right answer or solution. So I’m here to say, I get it. I get how you’re feeling.

Of course, in the middle of this pity party, I realized that it’s fine to have a moment, my feelings and frustrations are valid as are yours, but I can’t live in this place of disappointment and frustration. I also really did not want to stop feeling sorry for myself. And I absolutely did not want to pray or ask God to help me to work through and process all of this. I half heartedly asked for help, hopeful that I’d be left alone to my own feelings, and God immediately brought this scripture back to my mind <insert smirk here> . . .

“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Here’s the thing, this has been a scripture which God has brought back to my attention, on repeat, for over two years. I’m not great at it. I tend to ruminate on things and let anxiety and emotions build to the point of almost exploding. But I do see small steps toward progress. I’ve gotten better at stepping back and verbalizing what I’m feeling in a way that is more healthy than just lashing out at those around me (better does not equal perfect), and I’ve become much more aware of where my thoughts land. But it’s not an overnight thing. It’s about learning to lean in to God, and the key is not in anything I do or say, but in those last seven words, “O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer”. None of this can be done in my own power. On my own, the most I can accomplish will be behavior modification, but with His strength and redemption I have no doubt I can see a major heart transformation. We all can. And with Him, those things that affect us today can become nothing more than a passing annoyance, if even that, in the future.

So if you’re feeling all the feelings today, I totally empathize. I’m with you, and I’m praying for you.

Copyright 2020, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved 

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.

The Point at Which We. Are. All. Done. (Alternately, “Are We There Yet?”)

I got up this morning. Poured my coffee . . . read my bible . . . prayed . . .waited on my husband to bring me a taco . . . can I get an “Amen!”?

And I was going to write a very inspiring . . . or not . . . probably not . . . but most certainly, scripturally sound post . . .

Maybe about how we, as Christians, measure different sins differently. Yet, in God’s eyes sin is sin. And we need to take a good, long look at ourselves before pointing fingers.

Maybe about how we should stop being led by what we want to be right and our opinions, following after every crazy whim that comes along, and actually take the time to seek God and do some research before buying into something.

Maybe about how we aren’t promised an easy, perfect life.

Yep, I was in some kind of mood about all the things. And I was going to set the record straight. I was going to use God’s word to make sure everyone, myself included, knew all the ways we need to do better.

I mean I had scriptures to back these things up, and I was ready to swing that big sword.

But then, instead, I googled “Photos of (fill in the blank with all the beautiful places on this planet), and I started clicking through hundreds of breathtaking photos. Some of places I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. Some of places I want to visit. Most with mountains . . . because I’ve yet to meet a mountain range I didn’t love . . . large or small, arid or lush, they’re all majestic to me. And while you might think looking at these photos would bring a huge sense of longing when we cannot really go anywhere (thanks COVID), I found it instead brought me a sense of peace. I believe that sometimes God corrects and disciplines us directly, but other times He just gives us a little nudge, through the Holy Spirit, and tells us to google His beautiful creation. Because seeing these pictures served as a huge reminder to me that it’s not my job to fix the world. It’s not even my job to fix those in my immediate circle. I cannot (and most certainly, should not) be in control of everything and everyone, but I know the ONE who is. And believe me, He knows what’s going on.

You see, we’re all sick of it all.

We’re sick of the pandemic.

We’re sick of the politics.

We’re sick of making choices that don’t seem to have a right answer.

We’re sick of the ugly, the pain, and the hurt.

We. Are. All. Over. It. Thank you 2020 for being the year we’ll never forget and don’t want to remember, but also, 2020 has taught me some stuff so there’s that.

And because we are all summarily fed up, we grasp at any thing that promises relief. What that “thing” will be often depends on our own personalities and bents. For some, if staying home longer and wearing masks promises relief . . . we’re there. For others, if opening up the economy and letting this thing run its course promises relief . . . we’re there. For others it may be a drug or a, seemingly, off the wall solution. But we’re all trying. We’re all grasping. And we all want school to start again. Please . . .

In the process . . . in the pursuit of relief and the need to be right and in control . . . because humans do not like being out of control . . . can I get another “Amen!”? We often fail to be kind. We often fail to be gracious. We just often fail.

So I’m here to tell you to turn off the news . . . and facebook (for the love . . . just close the app) . . . and YouTube . . . and go look at pictures of mountains . . . or beautiful beaches and deep blue oceans . . . or vast deserts. Go outside and look at the sky. Take in the deep colors of a sunrise and a sky painted with stars. And remember that the God that created all of that beauty, knows. He knows you. He knows me. He cares about all of us. Deeply. Far more than anything He created, He cares about humankind. And He most definitely is in control.

We’re not going to all agree. Ever. And that’s okay. If you know me, you know I’ve been known to utter the words “Jesus take the wheel” from time to time (thank you Carrie Underwood for the song that brought the words). And I know that it can sound like a joke, and there are those that probably think it’s irreverent, but the reality is, it’s my four word prayer wrapped in a little bit of humor which I’m sure Jesus understands. It’s my admission that even though I’m the world’s best control freak, I want to stop driving my own car. Because y’all, I’m just not that good of a driver.

I like, dare I say “love”, being right. But when it comes at the expense of loving others, it’s just not worth it. It matters far more that we extend grace and love, not only to one another but also, to a world that is lost and searching. And ultimately, that we love and trust the ONE who created this beautiful world from the grandest mountains to the smallest flower. Because He’s not just a god of details, He is the God of details, and He most definitely has us.

“He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name.” Psalm 147:4

“Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?” Luke 12:27-28 (And definitely take a minute to read this whole passage. It’s very worth 30 seconds of your time.)

Copyright 2020, Courtney G Davis, All Rights Reserved 

The writings and images contained within this site are the intellectual property of this writer unless otherwise noted, and may not be copied or used without express permission of the author.