Inviting You Deeper: Finding God in the Chaos

March 22, 2020

This week, my team member, Charlotte Phillips, shares her heart with us in the midst of all the chaos — where is God?

In a moment our lives were turned upside down. A couple weeks ago, I knew the kids *may* be home from school for a week or two. I knew the number of positive coronavirus cases would continue to increase. I knew there could be changes in our day to day activities. But one thing I did not know was the immediate psychological effect this would have on me. Maybe you are feeling the same way? 

On Friday, March 13, just a couple hours before carpool, the Louisiana Governor, John Bel Edwards, made the decision to close all schools for a month. When I heard the news I just sat there stunned. Questions poured through my head…How am I supposed to work with the kids home? What are the older two going to do about schoolwork? How am I going to keep the little two busy while said work and schoolwork are taking place?  

The weekend felt like a blur-going through the motions. Monday morning came and as a desperate attempt to hold onto to some normalcy we went to morning Mass. As we walked into the small chapel there were a lot more people there than my husband or I expected. So, to practice social distancing we stayed in the back. This was just enough of a change that the younger two kids were running around and being loud I could feel the loss of control leaving my body as my husband and I attempted to go to Mass while passing our kids back and forth to calm them. Inside, I cried out: 

“I just need this morning to be normal!”  

But my morning was anything but normal. The kids were home. Work priorities had shifted as a result of events being cancelled. I didn’t know how long our life would be this way. Our world is anything but normal right now. We are working from home or being laid off. We are homeschooling our kids and cancelling plans with friends. We cannot go out to eat or go to the gym. We can no longer gather as a community to worship. In just a few days we were completely stripped of our routines. I don’t know about you, but this stripping of our routines, our normalcy, is causing a level of vulnerability I haven’t felt before.  

That morning, control felt as though it was seeping through the spaces between my fingers. I became angry. Nothing went as I thought it would. The next day came and I set my expectations for how the day would go much lower. The end of the day came, and I still felt that anger at the loss of control. I also felt sadness. 

Why did I feel this way? 

I compared this feeling to the days and weeks after my Dad died this fall. While the death of my father was obviously much harder to handle, I finally realized I am grieving the loss of control. I am grieving a sense of normalcy. Maybe you are grieving the loss of normalcy, too? Maybe the loss of control is reminding you of other moments in your life that you lost control?  

At some point mid-week during all the chaos I was able to quiet my mind just long enough to feel God’s presence. As I was cooking dinner, I could feel my entire body tense as I heard crying and screaming from the other room. In that moment I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and remembered one of my favorite parts from Matthew’s gospel, the end of the Sermon on the Mount 

Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your lifespan? Why are you anxious about clothes?
 

Learn from the way the wildflowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. 

 

Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil(Matthew 6: 25-34) 

As I continued to prepare dinner I held onto “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.”  

It became my mantra. Perhaps, it could be yours too? 

This is a scary time. It isn’t easy feeling like we’ve lost control. We are all experiencing a new level of chaos and uncertainty. It is easy to worry. It is easy to let fear creep in. It is easy to feel alone. But even though we are scared we are NOT alone. God is ALWAYS with us. No matter what, God is not going to abandon us.  

Psalms 46 tells us,  

God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Thus, we do not fear, though earth be shaken and mountains quake to the depths of the sea. Though its waters rage and foam and mountains totter at its surging. God is in its midst; it shall not be shaken; God will help it at break of day. The Lord of hosts is with us. (Psalms 46: 2-4, 6, 8)   

God isn’t going anywhere.   

invite you to join me in crying out to God. I encourage you to join me in breathing in and embracing God’s unfailing love, God’s unfailing strength. This virus may strip us of our routines, but it does not strip us of God’s love and presence in our lives. We will make it through this trying time. Let us remember we are not alone; God is always with us. 

Resources for Your Personal Prayer and Your Ministry: 

  • Visit my NEW Spiritual Support webpage with links and resources during this unprecedented time. 
  • Follow me on Facebook & Instagram for daily scripture inspiration and for the latest resources!
  • Please continue to email me resources you are using or coming across so we can continue to compile them and share them for others’ to use.

With experience in youth ministry, campus ministry, faith formation, and as a high school theology teacher, Charlotte has worked in numerous parishes and schools along the Gulf Coast and in the Diocese of Rockford. She holds a B.A. in Theology and Master of Pastoral Studies from Spring Hill College. Charlotte and her husband live in New Orleans with their four young children, where she enjoys Ignatian Spirituality, reading, listening to live music, and bike riding with her family.

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1 Comment

  1. Peggy

    Love you, Becky! Since I could be your mom as far as age goes, you would think I’d feel differently about all this chaos. I don’t. I’m here in Nassau county NY, my daughter lives in Queens and works in NYC, my neice is a nurse at one of our local hospitals. To say im freaked out is putting it mildly. Oddly, when I need prayer most it eludes me. Using the Psalms, especially 18 and tne miraculous medal novena mostly. Going some days breath to breath….rather than day to day. Anxiety off the charts. Need to more grateful and pray more! Thanks for the daily inspiration.

    Reply

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