For the juggling parent right now…..

Theres no prescription for this.

No formula.

No right or wrong.

No one size fits all.

There is no way to ‘balance everything’ during the coronavirus lockdown. Never before has it been more essential to turn away from comparison and shame, and turn towards hope and grace.

Theres no prescription for how you and your household will get through this time of juggling, work, schooling, all being together all the time, fear, loneliness, the unknown and our own 4 walls.

There is only a dimly lit path that we each must walk.

My encouragement to you is to carve out a bit of time late in the evening or early in the morning where there is no rush, no pressure and no interruption. Get a pen and paper and ask yourself these questions……

(For the sake of example I will show you my unique answers, self reflection is a habit I’ve cultivated over many years and I know some of you won’t find it easy so hopefully it might help, as always its not prescriptive)

Looking back over the last week what has driven me insane!? Not being on my own, the constant noise and being interrupted, the feeling that Im not doing anything well enough, looking at my phone obsessively

What has been good? our daily walks, nice moments as a family, appreciating nature, church online, seeing people help each other, reading.

On the other side of this what would I love to look back and say? That I was kind, and I tried my best, that I focused on what really mattered

What is one small thing I could implement this coming week that would help me towards that goal? To pause before I respond to the kids and Jon, work on responding over reacting. Let it go quickly and forgive myself when I mess up

How will I sustain my spiritual life this week? Practising the examen before bed

How will I help my emotional life this week? Being quick to forgive myself

How will I take care of my physical health this week? drink enough water

What burdens am I carrying, what could I let go of? Let go of striving for perfection, the burden of that….

This isn’t something you might sit and finish in 30 minutes it might be something you ponder over a few days.

This is a practice of intentionality, we’ve lost a lot of our normal rhythms and that is going to be hard for a lot of us. For me my work has gone online and Im busier than ever, it reminds me of years ago when all the kids were preschool and I had to reimagine my walk with God. But reimagining is good. False crutches being swept away is good. God is ever present and closer than our Breath, he is our deepest reality.

I hope this helps!!

Let me know if you do it, or if you need prayer!

Emma x x



Fight? Surrender? Or both?

My body and my mind are tired today, my muscles ache, I’m sluggish and a bit grumpy. The kids are moaning about jumpers feeling funny and wrong lunch boxes, arguing over the bathroom and the pain in my tummy is pulsing. I pull my dressing gown tighter around the cold in the kitchen, even though the heating is on. Im supposed to be sea swimming at 9am and I don’t want to go. Its about -5 with the icy wind chill and the north sea in march isn’t really appealing to me right now. I want to hide from the cold not get colder!

I walk heavily up the stairs and put my swimsuit under my clothes…just in case. I see my swim friend and her smily face at the school gate and I know its going to be worth the fight.

I choose to fight.

We get to the beach and walk across to the low tide sea chatting about our lives, the sun is shining and the wind is almost knocking us off our feet, we are pulled sharply away from our chat as we realise…. our stuff is going to blow away.

We choose to fight.

A bit of a walk around and we find a wet rock that we can shove our stuff behind and peg down with our boots, we decide without a lot of confidence it will probably hold. My side is still hurting but Im determined now. I take my boots off and my already numb feet sting as I put them down on wet sand, I pull my leggings off and laugh at how cold my bum is in the wind. We undress quickly and shove everything in our bags before we change our minds.

A shift is occurring, Its no longer time to fight.

Its time to surrender.

Unless you want to be overcome by panic, you don’t fight gale force wind and freezing water, you surrender to it. I do a couple of handstands on the way to the water and begin to run with joy. We breathe deeply preparing ourselves to enter this wild world. No time to lose we are submerged and swimming within 10 seconds. We don’t want to risk hypothermia so we know we have about 2 minutes in our swimsuits. We are each lost in our own internal journey now. I yelp and squeal very loudly in wild worship surrendering everything to the God I love, I feel completely alive, completely free, completely myself. Its over so quickly, humbled we exchange a knowing glance and big, slightly disappointed grins, our time is up, we are not the masters of this place. We surrender to that fact and get out before either of us want to,changing quickly and chatting away. I notice in amazement that the pain in my side is gone, not for the first time after a cold swim. I got my friend to take this picture, I wanted to remember today.

I needed to swim. I had to fight to get there, and then surrender to the elements. I needed both. I believe life requires us being willing to do both. We don’t want to live so hard and rigid that we are always fighting and we don’t want to live so surrendered that we stand for nothing. I cant help but think of Jesus…. fighting for the oppressed, yet surrendering to this death. Obedient, attentive, willing to be interrupted, compassionate and soft, wild and strong. The sea made me feel close to him today in a way I have no words for just a deep knowing and peace within.

I wonder, is there something you need to fight for today?

Or maybe something you need to surrender to?

Lets be people living awake and humble enough to do both!

Big love to everyone who takes the time to read my blog, and let me know if it sparks something in you!

Em x