How Do We Make It Through When Things Get Tough

by Mike Tiemann

One step at a time
There’s no need to rush
It’s like learning to fly
Or falling in love
It’s gonna happen and it’s
Supposed to happen that we
Find the reasons why

We Take It One Step at a Time

Remember “One Step at a Time” by Jordin Sparks? It was the third single from her debut album, which came out after she won American Idol in 2007. Looking back, it’s a perfect pop song, with a solid message about facing your challenges with determination. And if you ask me, it’s perfect for your quarantine playlist. After all, isn’t that what we’re all doing here in 2020—living one step at a time?

I remember hearing that song on the radio in 2007 . . . which is funny because right around that time, MY world was about to change. I was about to enter the wonderful and (at times) seemingly impossible world of parenthood. My two daughters were born in close succession, in 2008 and 2009.

Parenthood Requires Determination

Those years were definitely a time for determination. Life as we knew it would never be the same. There was the joy and excitement of caring for two brand-new little humans. We cheered them on, through every new milestone and every discovery along the way.

There was also the harsh reality that we no longer had any time or energy left for ourselves. It was a time to celebrate, and also a time to mourn. We look back in wonder: How did we do it? How did we make it through?

The answer, of course, is very simple. We took life one step at a time. We put one foot in front of the other. We did what we had to do for our girls.

I don’t remember much from those years. It’s all kind of a blur. But somehow, we made it through. We found new routines. Before we knew it, we were dropping our girls off at kindergarten—just like everyone had promised we would.

Every Season Has Victories and Challenges

Every season has its victories and its challenges—and life in 2020 is certainly no exception. You probably have plenty of new routines just like we do (none of which were happening in 2019).

Online classes.
Zoom meetings.
Evening family walks.

More than anything, quarantine has taught me just how resilient people can be. When life seems chaotic, we create structure . . . and the very act of creating structure gives us a sense of purpose.

This is what we do in any significant season of life. Think back to your own experience after 9/11, or during the financial crisis of 2008. We all experienced those events differently, but they affected all of us profoundly. We had to celebrate what was unique in those seasons while also taking time to mourn what we had lost.

That’s true for any big events we might experience. Our personal highs and lows will always rise and fall, regardless of the events of the world around us. Our families grow. Our careers change. We lose people we love. We balance our hopes and dreams against fear, disappointment, and pain.

In the end, we look back—much like I look back at our “newborn years” in the late 2000s. Nothing was easy about that time. But now, I see how God helped us grow and change in the process. I can see how He opened doors for the future when we couldn’t see 10 feet ahead. I can see how adversity shaped us, and taught us how to persevere.

The Story We Will Tell About 2020

In the same way, I think we’ll look back on this time in 2020 with mixed emotions. We’ll mourn what we’ve lost: graduations, group activities, the comfort of in-person human connection. And, of course, some have lost so much more.

We’ll remember how overwhelmed we felt when there was no end in sight . . . nothing was certain . . . and we had no idea what the future would hold.

So what did we DO about it? How did we make it through?

How Did We Make it Through?

We took a deep breath.
We put one foot in front of another.
We took life one day at a time.

We learned to appreciate the little things.
We slowed down.
We spent quality time with the people we love.

We leaned into community—even when it was virtual.
We discovered how capable we really were.
We trusted God, because we had to.

We were determined.

We persevered . . . step by step, day by day.

That’s a story I want my girls to be able to tell. And we have a chance to live it right now.

 


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