“Did you enjoy our walk?” my husband asked as we rounded the corner of our street.

“I did,” I said as I released a deep breath of crisp air.

“It was harder to connect, wasn’t it?” he wondered out loud.

I paused.

“It was,” I admitted with a soft, sheepish chuckle, disappointed at my truthful response.

Eric and I were really good at connecting through conversation, running our home as a team, eating tasty food at the coolest places that can only be discovered by a foodie (him). Then we had a baby. Just the sweetest, cutest, most joyful addition, Sweet Girl has changed absolutely everything. It’s taken a while for us to get our bearings; it doesn’t help she changes the rules as she grows. We’ve been able to get back on track with most things, but somehow it has been easier to put our relationship last on the list. Until we couldn’t anymore.

A week ago, on March 17, Governor Newsom issued a stay at home order for California in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19. Before the order, my two weekly “big ventures” into the world were attending a church service and teaching a class at our church’s Bible college. Really, I’ve been preparing off and on for this order since July 21, 2019. What has changed is my husband is now also working from home. In the squeeze of proximity and time together, it became difficult to ignore how much we’ve ventured away from one another. Something—or really some things—needed to change. In the last week, we have become more intentional with how we spend our time together; we take walks and plan “coffee dates” at home, and we don’t always give into the veg out temptation by reaching for the remote at the end of an exhausting day. It’s a start.

This stay at home order has become a respite for me and my family, but it is not lost on me that it is a costly sabbath. Lives are cut short; jobs are disappearing; the media, the politicians, the economists, all remind us that the future is uncertain. Their brash voices compete for dominance over the still small voice that continues to invite us into peace. Deep down, we already know our future on earth has always been uncertain; our answered hope rests in Jesus who is always certain, never shifting, forever unfaltering. Much like the gift of God’s grace, I do not want to waste this time. To do so would cheapen the cost people are paying. Instead, I want to use this as an opportunity to re-evaluate how I live and how my faith in Jesus really can meet movement in all areas of my life, especially in my marriage.

When this is over, we will need to rebuild our communities, the economy, the healthcare system. My earnest prayer is that we will do so after re-establishing a solid foundation in Jesus. Let’s take this time as an opportunity to self-edit and realign ourselves to the things that Jesus cares about. After this experience, do we really want to go back to the way things were?

Movement Step: Get away with God on a walk and pray. Then find a quiet place to journal and reflect on your life and faith in light of COVID-19. How can you use this “pause button” to deepen your relationship with God? How can that then form your everyday action and impact your relationships?