This hasn’t really been the year we were expecting. Julie talks about a two word phrase on episode #144 of the allmomdoes Podcast that can help relieve your stress levels as you navigate this different season.

Transcription From the Podcast:

Julie Lyles Carr: [00:00:00] You are listening to the allmomdoes podcast from allmomdoes. And part of the Christian Parenting podcast Network family I’m Julie Lyles, Carr, your host. I am a mom of 8, bestselling author. I have been married to my husband, Michael quite a while now. And I am so glad that you are here. The allmomdoes podcast is just for you.

It is to speak directly into your life where you are raising those kids. You know, you’re try to foster that great romantic relationship building up that career and the faith journey you’re on. This is a place where you’re going to find inspiration, information, resources, and community here at the allmomdoes.

I’ve got a two, two word phrase for you that. I think could help you reframe the way that this year is feeling. I’m Julie Lyles Carr. I’m the host of the allmomdoes podcast part of the Christian Parenting Podcast Network. And today I want to unpack something that I think is going to give you a little bit of a breath, take off a little bit of stress when it comes to the way that this year has been rolling out.

My oldest daughter was on her way to med school and not just med school. She wanted to actually earn her MD PhD. So that is when you get your doctorate as a doctor, but then you also get your doctorate in a very specific field of study so that you can also be someone who works within the lab. And it’s all all correlated with your work as with a physician and as a researcher.

And she had the grades to do it. She had the test scores, she had all the things and really was excited to head that way. Well, part of that experience, my youngest daughter had a stroke at birth as many of the listeners know she has left side hemiplegia and we went through a period of time where that daughter mercy was going in for a series of treatments that included some very deep injections as she was under anesthesia to help reduce some of the tone that was part of the problem with her arm and with some of her joints. And so this was something that we were doing pretty frequently and was just part of our natural experience. So my oldest daughter, Madison, we set it up with the neurologist that Madison be able to go in and Madison would be able to observe this procedure and she would have an opportunity to see what all they were doing and how it worked with the brain and why they were injecting in certain places and all this stuff.

It was going to be really. Fascinating. Madison was really excited to get to experience it. So I go out to the waiting room, Madison and mercy, go back to the doctor. This is in the hospital. Madison has her credentials, so she can go back and all the things. And I prepare to wait for them to let me know that Mercy is in recovery.

So mercy goes undergoes anesthesia. They let me know she’s under anesthesia, but then very quickly I was getting ready to settle in because usually this procedure would take, you know, 30, 45 minutes and then a certain amount of recovery time. And usually about at the hour, Mark, I would be able to go and be with mercy as she was in the room.

Every room. Well, on this particular day after just about 10 minutes, A nurse came out to meet me and she said, there’s, everything’s fine. Everybody’s safe. But there’s a problem with your daughter. And I thought, Oh man, Mercy has been okay being under anesthesia, but maybe this time she had a reaction or, you know, maybe she’s upset or I don’t know.

And it’s only been 10 minutes. And so we start walking back and I’m thinking that it’s going to be Mercy. And instead the person who walks through the doors. Into the waiting area with the nurse at my side, the daughter who walks through the doors is Madison. You remember the one who was the premed student who was going to go to med school and get her MD-PhD that one coming through looking absolutely green, as it turns out she had passed out during the procedure. Once they got her baby sister under anesthesia and they began the procedure, Madison’s legs just went out underneath her and they brought her out to the waiting room to be with me. Madison, as you can imagine, was mortified. I mean was really mortified. Just couldn’t believe that on this opportunity that she had been given to try to do this next step in her career in school and all the things that she was going to be the one that everybody was going to be kind of giggling about back over coffee and donuts in the break room. She was the one unable to keep her sea legs about her during this particular procedure. Well, what became really interesting as a result of that experience were some conversations that Madison and I began having because she had been pushing herself so hard.

So hard to get through all of this testing and all of the grades and all of the things that she felt were necessary in order to chase this goal of getting her MD-PhD. The stress was feeling really intense. The anxiety was getting to her and now she’d had this experience of passing out during her baby’s sisters or procedure.

And she was thinking, Oh, wow. I mean, what do I do? What do I do? And she really, I was struggling with that sense of stress in her life. So after we kicked around several different ideas, after we looked at a lot of different things, after we played with some different options, what we ultimately decided, and it was a little hard for Madison to stop just at first. But I said, what if you’ve worked so hard through high school and through college, and you’re just about to graduate with two degrees in your undergrad. What if you took a year or so in which to give yourself some time to evaluate what you want next?

You know, we refer to it in our culture today as a gap year. And so as Madison and I began talking more and more. We said, Okay. What if, what if we took a gap year? What could that mean? And would it hurt anything to take a gap year? Could it help some things to take a gap year? You know, a gap year is generally one of those times and we generally use it when we’re talking about high school into college, but there are people who talk about it, the gap year that they might take between finishing their undergrad and going into their master’s degree, work, that kind of a thing.

But again, year is that period of time in which we give somebody a pause. Very intentionally, we give it in a way that says, yeah, there’ll be something that we pick back up on the other side, but we’ve been marching this direction for quite a while. Why don’t we take a break for just a year and go experience some other things, go have some new land, go have some new experiences and see what life is like out there.

And then we can pick back up and we can go onto the next thing that we’re supposed to do. So that’s the two word phrase. I want you to think about “gap year.” I’ve got to tell you. I’ve had so many people calling me. I do some private coaching for parents and for families, I’ve had so many inquiries as the pandemic has continued.

As things have gone on people saying, what are we going to do? Our kids aren’t back in school. Or these kids in this part of the country are back in school and our kids aren’t, or we’re doing this hybrid and it doesn’t seem to be working at. All my kids are not doing well or, well, yeah, they’re back in the classroom, but everything is so different.

And I don’t think they’re thriving and parents are so concerned that their kids are falling behind that. There is some Slade out there that has all of the records on it and their kid is going to be shown as being behind in the race. So here’s some good news for you. For everybody right now, this is a gap year, everybody, for the most part is feeling that sense that this year is not a year where they’re going to wildly accomplish all kinds of things, scholastically that they’re going to really go to the next level. I know lots and lots of people, whether their children are at preschool level all the way up to their kids in college who are having to, I acknowledge that in this season, in this way.

And in this time, It just isn’t necessarily going to be the most stellar year socially or for scholarship and you know, what can I just tell you a gap year can be good. A gap year for everybody, a pause. It can actually be good. And I know, I know that that can sound very Pollyanna. That can sound like, why would you say that?

But remember a lot of the things, a lot of the context we put around where we think kids should be with their education, where we think they should be in terms of their learning, all of that, those are made in some measure based on certain research and on and on. But at the same time, it’s something that we.

Made up. I mean, think about it a minute. There’s not something in the Bible that says our kids have to be by a certain point by this age, by this, whatever that they have to have this level of math like that doesn’t exist. These are things that we have decided, and they are things that can have value, but they are not things that morally or ethically we’ve got to all be at the same place at the same time for every single kid. Your child is not racing ahead of their peers or falling behind their peers when it comes to a year like this, everyone is having to navigate a really different season. So whether that is a sport that you had hoped your child would Excel in and you feel like they really needed this year to get ahead, or there is a subject that your kid has struggled in and you’ve made some strides, but now with everything that’s going on, you feel like some of those strides are starting to slide back the other direction.

Gap year, just keep thinking gap year. And here’s the thing that’s beautiful about a gap year. You know, sometimes we can associate it with, well, maybe their kid just wasn’t ready to go to college. You weren’t quite mature enough. But oftentimes when we talk about a gap year, we’re talking about a very proactive choice to give someone an opportunity to experience life in a fresh way.

So that when they do go back into a certain Scholastic pursuit or they go into a career pursuit, because remember there are people who intentionally take gap years between finishing their college career and getting into that first job. And they do it on purpose. They know they have some freedom and some time to travel.

And so they do so a gap year. Really connotatively can be exceptionally positive. It can be something that is done well, it can be something in which you really choose to gather up all the benefit that can be there for you, for your child. And you use it intentionally as a time to mature. As a time to pursue interests as a time to not be so shackled, to some kinds, the schedule and in that way can really soak up the benefits of this time.

So again, Everybody’s on a gap year. I mean, even if your kid progresses some and your school districts figured it out better than most, for the most part, all the kids that your kid would be entering into their freshman year of high school with, or their freshman year of college with, they will have all come through a pandemic school season in which we were all having to engage in some serious improv as to how to pull this whole thing off.

So I want to give you three concepts that can help make this gap year a really powerful one for you. And for your kids and we’re just going to base it off the acronym of gap. I know that can be kind of cheesy, but it also will make it a lot easier to remember. So here are three things when it comes to this gap year that I want to challenge you to infuse into the experience of this year.

So you’re ready. Gap G being the first letter gratitude. I know, stop the eye roll. I can feel it from here. Just stop the eye roll. But I want you to think about in first Thessalonians five 18, it says in all things give, thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ. Jesus. You know, for a lot of us, it’s been very hard to find things to be thankful about in the pandemic.

We have carried some heavy burdens. We have seen careers and businesses that have really gone sideways. We’ve also looked at some of the general sociological issues. Who’s in our culture right now with racism and we’re heartsick over those things. The last few months. Felt like hit after hit and I’m sure, just like you, I mean, I’ve seen the memes where people talk about, can we just call it already for 2020?

Do we really have to set our clocks back an hour? Because we don’t need one more hour of 2020, let’s get this thing done. I mean, that is really how many of us have felt. It’s felt very difficult to be thankful for a very difficult year and yet. God’s will for us is to find places of gratitude in all things.

I can tell you some places where I’ve found gratitude in this year. You know, my daughter got married in August and because of the timing of that wedding, the first part of August, the big, big, beautiful wedding that we were planning on for her, with all of our loved ones and extended family and friends from near and far, will that kind of a wedding didn’t happen?

And I gotta tell you, it was hard to remain in a place of gratitude for this wedding, for this daughter of mine, that we so treasure and wanted her to get, to have the full experience. I didn’t want her to have a gap year wedding, but here’s, what’s really interesting because of quarantine she moved home with us.

And then her fiance who was living in San Antonio, moved in with us during quarantine. Now think about that a minute. What an incredible experience for our family to be able to walk alongside our future son-in-law to work alongside him. As many of us were working from home to have family dinners with him every night, to hear more of his stories, to have such focused and intentional time with him.

And I’m telling you right now, had we not been having a gap year? We wouldn’t have gotten that. He would not have had the time we would not have had the time our schedules would not have been in sync for us to be able to experience that. So in many ways, our relationship with him was accelerated in this incredible way, because we were having a gap year.

So the gap year wedding, that was hard, the relationship. That was established in the gap year. That is powerful. No, sometimes these places of gratitude, don’t just magically show up. You have to go looking for some of them, and I’m not talking about trying to justify or deny the things that have been really challenging or hard.

But I am saying that gratitude, peace is essential in beginning to truly gather up that, which is good about a gap year. The a in gap, you ready? The first one was gratitude. Second one, aptitude, aptitude. There were a couple of things at the beginning of the pandemic where I thought, you know what I’m going to need to learn to do on my own.

A couple of different things. Here’s a couple of things that I really want to learn while I’m in the pandemic while my schedule has shifted while I am able to rearrange some of my time and the way I’m spending my time. Aptitude. It’s interesting to me because in the book of judges in verse three and two, the Israelites find himself surrounded by some nations where they don’t like the circumstance.

They feel like they’re getting attacked on all sides. There are things that are going on that are just not fun whatsoever outside of the control of the Israelites. And yet what is said is that God left those circumstances in place so that the Israelites could learn. Warfare. They could learn new ways of fighting against certain things in their lives that didn’t need to be there.

They could learn new ways of suiting up and becoming stronger and becoming tenacious and what they wanted for their home and what they wanted for their land. You know, if we would be willing in a gap year, To choose a couple of things that we want new aptitude on. And yes, of course, we’re all going to get extra credit for learning zoom backward and forward.

Okay. So you’ve got that already. Just give yourself a Pat on the back, but what I’m saying is what are some things that you want to learn to do? What are some things you want your kids to know how to do during this gap year? There are several things that I’ve been reflecting on with my kids in the busy-ness of our schedule and in some of the things that I was trying to allocate to other people to take care of.

So we could continue to move really, really fast and hit all of the things on our schedule that we needed to hit. There’s some basic things, particularly with my younger kids that I’ve realized, wow, I don’t think I’ve gotten around to teaching them this or that or the other. We went through a few weeks where it was great.

My daughter mercy, we learned some aptitude together because she wanted it to learn how to bake. And one of the things that she had to learn to do as a workaround, since primarily she relies on her right hand and her right side, there was some things we needed to do to workshop, to figure out how she could bake effectively and really make sure everything was mixed up and yeah, pour things into pans.

And so we both gained an aptitude over those weeks that she was baking a lot and I gained some pounds too, because you know, if your kid’s baking stuff, you have to try it. Right. You feel me. Right. But we gained an aptitude to gather about some, both just basic baking techniques, but also some work arounds for her situation that she’s going to be able to carry forward as she continues to March toward adulthood and be in her own place and baking for herself.

So what are some things that would be helpful for you? To learn for you. Some aptitude you could gain in this season. And what are some things in aptitude that you would love for your kids to developed a skill that you really think they could master over time? Some things you want to make sure that they know before they launch from your house.

So in a gap year, when we can approach it with G  and go looking for that gratitude and a. Aptitude. We again are building meaning and value into a year in which sometimes we can feel like we’re just treading water. So what about the P what’s that going to stand for? How are we going to wrap this up when we talk about a gap year?

Well, I believe that P in a gap year is for prelude. You know, a prelude is that little bit of music, right? That gets played before you launch into the big story or into the big concert, you know, prelude music. It, it sets the tone for things, or it may be words that are spoken to introduce you to the next part of the story.

I think that 2020 as a gap year can give us a prelude into our next season. I mean, let’s face it. So many of us prior to all of this happening, we’re on the hamster wheel of just getting things done. And the level of interruption that this placed in our lives was so massive. A lot of us keep saying, well, when things get back to normal, when things get back to normal, and I’m certainly not the first one to say this at this point, I may be the one you don’t want to hear it from.

But as you know, many thought leaders and many people and sociologists and psychologists are now saying there’s no going back to normal, whatever we thought normally all was, things are going to be different. Moving forward. There may be some things socially that don’t open up for quite a while, or when they do the requirements around us are different. School and the way that we school kids may be very much altered. As we walk all the way through this, there may be innovations and things we discovered there may be access to master teachers who are four states away, who now we have opened it up so that our kids can have access to some of those people. You know, school change.

Your job may have really changed. Your job may have phased out. And so you are in a prelude into what your next is when it comes to a career or your job may have shifted to where now you’re going to be juggling between having some time at the office and some time at home and maybe you’ve been on the road a lot as a sales rep or something like that.

And this is all a prelude to how your career and your job has shifted, but here’s, what’s important about a prelude. It sets the tone for what is to come. We all recognize when we hear certain prelude music, what the tone of the opening scenes will be, what the excitement level or the romantic nature of the story, or the action or whatever is going to be that prelude sets the tone for the story that comes next.

And so while I have days, I am so tempted to complain about what has been shut down and what is different in the stress of it. And all of that is very true. I’m not saying that we should be wandering around in some kind of aspect where we deny the challenges that this has been. But what I am saying is I want to start speaking and breathing words in my life that are a prelude about the next.

Because in that way, I allow this gap year to have a greater value to them. Be a place that I’m sowing seed for what comes in the next chapter. And then the next one. And then the next one. The prelude can be a little difficult to figure out. Sometimes, sometimes we want to slide into something that sounds almost overly optimistic.

Sometimes it’s very easy for us to slide into verbiage. That is really negative. Well, I tell you what, as soon as this is over, I’m going to dah, dah, dah, dah. But if we accept the fact that there’s not really going to be an over. There’s most likely not going to be a day sometime in early spring 2021 where somebody said, all right, olly, olly oxen free pandemic over, you know, it’s going to be phasing out.

It’s going to be monitoring what’s going on. If there are vaccines that come up, that may be something that over time creates a sense of, okay, we’re getting to the place where this is kind of over, but there’s really not going to be some clear cut. Over, it’s going to be the long game. And so in that way, determining in the days that follow from now, what is the prelude music?

What is the tone that you want to set that is not predicated on? Well, as soon as this is over. That is predicated on. This is my life. These are days I don’t get back. These are days that are precious. These are days that I’m investing somewhere. I’m investing something in this time because we’re not going to get these days of the pandemic back.

We’re just not, we’re going to live them. And so what is it the prelude for. I’ve shared with you before that my grandmother is 102 and she is something else. And she, and I usually talk about once a week and we were reflecting on the fact that the year she was born, which was 1918 was the year of the Spanish flu.

She was a pandemic baby. And then she was reflecting that in her fifties, during the sixties, there was another flu pandemic in which people didn’t travel as much. They limited seen family, big gatherings. They didn’t do those as much. People were very, very cautious. And so she’s very aware that there is a, another type of flu.

Now in her words, another type of flu that is causing a lot of shutdown that is causing a lot of different things. And, you know, what’s amazing. She has that experience in grace for having been around that she takes it, she rolls with it. She knows that this isn’t something that is so incredibly exotic because she’s been around long enough to know.

And yet she also knows that what comes out of that. Are days that seem brighter are things that are good are innovations that develop quickly our new ways of doing things that can really enhance life when people take a gap year and use it for good. I love the verse in Isaiah 43 and 19, right. Which God says, see, I do a new thing.

God’s word is filled with preludes. God’s word is filled with places where he says, okay, we will have been, but we’re transitioning to that. You have been slaves in Egypt. You will go into the promised land, but there’s this gap year. Or 40, but they had a gap piece of time in which they had to walk out some of those things in faith, so that the prelude music for when they went into the promised land was one of victory and was one of confidence and was one of one that knew how to do war.

They created that prelude. So I just want to encourage you grab on to this gap year with everything you’ve got. Your kids are not going to be behind. They’re going to be in the same experience that their peers have had. It’s a gap year, your career, you might’ve thought you were progressing to a certain place and you thought it was going to go here there or yon. And now this is really interrupted your numbers and it’s interrupted your traffic and it’s interrupted your sales. I get it. And that’s hard and embrace this as a gap year. Your relationships and the depth that you wanted to be out in certain places and the challenges either of not getting to see people you love and care about or getting to see some people way more than you’re used to, and the challenges that that can have on a relationship.

It’s a gap year.

I’m challenging myself. I hope you will challenge yourself to walk it out and gratitude to discover things that you want to develop aptitude in. And to remember that all of this is a prelude for the days that come next, embrace that gap year, make it count, know that this is a time in which you are sowing many things that are going to make you even more equipped, even stronger, even more successful.

And for your kids too. In the days that come after this and the days that come next and the days that are a few years ahead, this gap year will be one in which you lay so much groundwork for what are going to be different days.

I want to thank you so much for joining me today. And here’s something I would so appreciate if you would do, if you would go to wherever you get your podcasts, and if you would leave us a five star rating and review, we want to really share those people who come alongside and help get the word out about the podcast and I would love to read your review on air and put out your name, name, and all your social handles and all that stuff. So would you please go rate and review the podcast from wherever you get your podcast and I will see you next time on the allmomdoes Podcast.