Cristo es la respuesta

INTRODUCTION:

It is an undeniable truth that the woman occupies a foremost place in the mind of God and in the development of the home and the church. Since her creation she was recognized as the suitable helper. In other words, someone able to help, serve, complement and work hand in hand beside her husband for the benefit and blessing of her family. The Holy Scriptures devoted a full chapter to describe what is considered to be the goal of every woman: to become a virtuous woman.

Chapter 31 of the book of Proverbs is particularly interesting for the woman to whom has to live during this pandemic of the 21st century. In the midst of this crisis situation, illness, quarantine, unemployment and all the consequences that this pandemic of COVID-19 is causing around the world, women need, more than ever, to be that woman in which "the heart of her husband doth safely trust in her" and that "Her children arise up and call her blessed".

It is a crisis situation that is forcing us to let the best of our abilities and creativity as women out in order to help our family to cope with this time of difficulty. It is our desire that this little reflection be of help and serve as a guide in which to get ideas to live this time without fear, in a positive way, with our eyes and faith always placed in the Lord Jesus Christ who is our helper.

SITUATIONS CREATED BY THE PANDEMIC OF COVID-19

The emergence of this disease, which quickly became a global pandemic, and turned our normality of life into a real challenge, has been particularly difficult for women for several reasons:

1. It disrupted the family routine

The quarantine or "lockdown" that has been imposed in almost all countries, in various levels of severity, has forced us to deal with the continuing presence of the spouse and children in the home. This, which on the one hand could be seen as a blessing as giving the family more time to be united, in turn creates other problems. Having the entire family together for a few days is a blessing which gives us time to share, strengthen relationships and enjoy each other. But let's be honest, when that period goes beyond a few days, (here in Puerto Rico today, April 27, we have been in quarantine for 42 days in which only one family member can go out to buy food or medicine), boredom, concerns over the economic situation, frustrations of projects not achieved, etc., begin gauging the tensions, and all of this has consequences.

In the case of the spouses, this situation has a very strong emotional component, by feeling his routine of life altered, by failing to fulfill his role as a the provider, the concern for having lost his job or be prevented from working for so long. He was accustomed to be out of the house from 8 to 10 hours or more and is now locked up with nothing to do. This creates tensions that, unfortunately, in many cases has resulted in domestic violence situations in some homes. 

The routine for the children has also been disrupted. Schools closed and, in many countries, I was changed to learning online. The weight of this education in the home rests, in most cases, upon the women, who is a mother, but not a teacher. This woman was accustomed to the husband going out to work and the children going to school, and that left her time to deal with the household tasks or her own job, if she worked outside the home. Now she continues with her responsibilities, but now the weight to meet the education of their children at home is added to them. In some cases, without having adequate resources, as there are households that still do not have access to a computer or internet services. She has to take the time to help them with their homework, taking into account that, probably, the children by feeling out of the school routine, are not encouraged to sit down to study at home with mom as a teacher. We must also include in this analysis the influence of this time upon the children. They have also seen their routine disrupted by not being able to attend their centers of study and having to be locked up at home all day. This affects the mood, creates anxiety and sprout bad behaviors, mischievous character and an atmosphere of discomfort in the home.


2. Has affected the household finances 

One of the most difficult consequences of this quarantine has been the loss of jobs and, therefore, the loss of income in the home. Although, in some countries, governments have moved to provide some aid and economic assistance, we know that this will not be in the long term and that, sooner or later, the family funds will begin to be exhausted. This will require of the women, of all their skills to manage food resources of the home. Above all, bearing in mind that since everyone is limited to be in the home continuously, visits to the fridge and kitchen will become more frequent. Eating becomes a part of the entertainment when you are bored at home. Perhaps the children were eating two or three school meals (breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack). The woman has to learn to work with the few resources she has to feed her family.

3. It has imposed new burdens in habits of hygiene, disinfection and social distancing. 

The fight against the pandemic requires us to keep our social distancing, with all that implies emotionally. We are locked at home with our immediate family but unable to go to visit other loved ones and friends and of our time of entertainment outside the home. In addition to that, we have to keep standards of hygiene, the use of the mask or respirator, gloves, frequent hand-washing with soap and water, disinfection of products every time we go out on the street and buy food, etc. It is very probable that all these practices and measures of protection, hygiene and social distancing fall upon the woman to make sure the family practice.

4. It has disrupted the practice of the spiritual life of the family

All the temples are closed so that not only can we not routinely attend the house of God as we used to do, but neither can we exercise our various ministries as we used to do. We can no longer go out to evangelize the streets or visiting the sick in hospitals or attend women meetings or circles of prayer, nor give Sunday Bible schools to children in the neighborhoods or in the church. We must recognize that women are the majority of the membership of the church and, in many cases, they are the church’s moving force, helping in many activities.

But if there is something that this pandemic has taught us is that the Church is not the four walls of the temple, but each and every one of the lives that congregated there. Therefore, we now have to convert our homes into that place of worship and spiritual edification. Something that is not so simple when you do not have the collaboration of all household members, especially of the husband, who is who should carry the spiritual priesthood of the household. When this does not happen, it is up to the woman to stand up, just like Deborah in Israel, and assume the spiritual direction of home.

SUGGESTIONS FOR A CREATIVE WOMAN IN TIMES OF CRISIS

We can conclude that this quarantine period and its consequences have produced quite a difficult situation for women, but if there is an area in which women stand out in, it is to be creative and proactive in times of crisis. In the Bible we have women as Zipporah (Exodus 4:20-26), Abigail (1 Samuel 25:1-42) and Deborah (Judges 4 and 5) that are example of this. Zipporah, in a time of crisis in which her husband almost loses his life, took a flint in her hand, and circumcised her son (something that was the responsibility of Moses but which he had neglected), and thus saved her husband’s life and incorporated her son into the covenant with God. Abigail, in another moment of crisis, where the foolishness of her husband Nabal earned him the wrath of the king who was coming ready to kill him, but she went out to meet them and with wisdom and sagacity, and managed to calm the wrath of the king and save her husband’s life and his entire family. Deborah, in another moment of crisis of the people of Israel, the Scripture says that seeing how the enemies of the people of Israel were rising and harassing the people, and how the cities of Israel were decayed and desolate; she “arose as a mother in Israel”, and moved the people and Barak, leader of the army of Israel, into battle and obtained a great victory.

The Bible says that "Every wise woman buildeth her house; but the foolish plucketh it down with her own hands." (Proverbs 14:1). We have to stand up and, with the grace and
wisdom of God, develop ideas and plans to take our families forward in the midst of this crisis. We must use our abilities, skills and talents to reinvent ourselves and be virtuous
women who attend well her home, her husband and her children, without leaving aside our personal needs and our relationship with God.

The following are a number of suggestions that might be useful:

  1. First of all, it is very important that you stay well informed and up-to-date with regard to the pandemic, the situation in your country and what measures the government is taking in this regard, as well as of any aid that is giving its citizens to mitigate the situation. But make sure you are looking for your information in reliable means. Not everything that appears on the internet and on social networks is true.
  2. In the economic part, learn how to deal with the resources you have. Be frugal, and teach your family to be also. Use the wisdom of God, ask if you need it, to know how to offer a balanced and economical diet, that will satisfy your family. 
  3. You must prepare a budget for the home and try to stick to it as best as possible. You need to identify sources of income, how much income we hope to have, see what are the recurring expenses that are inevitable to pay, and decide what expenditures are not required and can be omitted at the moment. 
  4. A suggestion, if you have any land available, practice making a home garden. This pandemic is not going to disappear tomorrow or next month. We must accept that we will be long months under its effects. In Puerto Rico there is talk that we will be under social distancing measures for approximately 18 to 24 months. Therefore, planting some foods that will help us to reduce the costs of feeding is not a bad idea.
  5. Share recipes with other sisters in Christ. Between us we can help each other to maximize our resources and feed our families well. In some countries, I have seen sisters kneading bread for their families, something they had never done. It is about to be proactive and reinvent ourselves.
  6. In agreement with your husband, create a new routine for your home, plan your day, so that there is order and structure. This is very necessary for you and your children for a healthy coexistence. You must plan time to study, feeding, recreation, and spiritual communion. Household chores and responsibilities must be shared so that the entire burden does not fall on you, and everyone can be occupied.
  7. Plan activities for the family as, for example, exercise sessions, board games, reading time. Also make time to be alone with your husband, even it is just going out to the backyard or balcony, so that you both can calmly share each other and relieve the stress of the situation. 
  8. Take the opportunity to complete all those projects in the house that are overdue for lack of time, giving your husband and your children something to occupy their time in. Perhaps you have desired to paint the house for a while, or fix a door, or build a table, in the end, look around and think of all the times you have said: I would like to do such and such a thing, but I do not have time. Because, you know what? Now you have the time that you both wanted. 
  9. It is very important not to neglect your spiritual life in the midst of this situation. Be sure to take time out for your private devotional life, your private time with God. To be a blessing to others you must first be in the presence of the Lord and be ministered to by Him. That way you will receive the anointing to be able to affect the lives others.
  10.  Make time for the family altar, where all the family can gather together to pray, worship the Lord with spiritual songs and reflect on the Word of God. If your church is holding service using electronic means, either Zoom or any of the social networks, dress and prepare your family to be present and receive the Word of God. I, in my home, have insisted that we dress as if we were to go to the temple because I want them to feel that they are in the house of God and participate in the worship with due reverence.
  11. Think about how you can be a blessing to others who are in the same situation. Ask God for guidance and that He show you who you can minister to through a phone call or a small video using WhatsApp or any other similar application. Surely God will show you people who are in sorrow, loneliness or discouragement and to whom you can inspire and encourage with the Word of God. Testify about Christ in season and out of season.
  12. If you were a teacher of children in the church, maintain your contact with them, and call them from time to time, and maybe you can also organize a Bible class with them using any of the video and social media applications.Use your talents to be a blessing to others, such as Dorcas. The Bible tells us that she knew to sew and made beautiful robes to share with her sisters, it does not
  13. say that she was a preacher, a singer or a teacher, but she blessed others with her talent.

In the end, a Christian woman who puts her life in God's hands can be a channel of blessing and become that virtuous woman mentioned at the beginning. May God fill you
with grace, wisdom, love and patience and give you the ability, inventiveness, creativity and strategies for coping with this time of crisis. 

" Wherefore take up the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand." (Ephesians 6:13)

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