Are you there God? It's me Tonya

Hey God, I'm still smiling but can we talk?

My absolutely favorite series of books were by Judy Blume. While all of her books are amazing, “Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret” was life changing for me. I totally related to all of her questions about how the world worked and her endless conversations with God about what was going on in her life.

With every word, I could understand her feelings of confusion and general feelings of being lost. Because at 12 years old, I was right there. Margaret became my best friend in my head. She got me and so did God. Through Margaret I learned to tell God all of my secrets and ask him the questions I was afraid or embarrassed to ask my parents.

The month of July was a hit the wall month for me in terms of this quarantine. I was unable to attend my Grandmother’s 100 Birthday celebration and we were forced to postpone my brother’s 50th Birthday plans as well.

Now don’t get me wrong I cannot express how thankful I am that my family is safe and sound and that in general we have been blessed to maintain our income and employment. We have not had to experience food or water insecurity. We are blessed to live in a nice home in a neighborhood that is peaceful and beautiful to walk or ride our bikes outside.

But this month, I have found myself asking, “Are you there God? It’s me Tonya.” And just like that 12 year old girl, God was super comfortable with all my questions. I also realized that maintaining my mental health during this crazy quarantine time will be a marathon not a sprint.

But how? It felt like there were just not enough hours in the day.

The results of my workout strike on my body and mind were fast and swift.

Here are a few tools I use to stay grounded during this time and release and let go of anxiety:

  1. Have real God conversations. Some of my best God conversations have been when I didn’t say anything at all. Saying God, I’m sad. Or God I’m tired are just as good as crazy long prayers. Be like Margaret and start with, “Hey God it’s Me.”

  2. Make like a turtle. Oddly turtles are one of my favorite animals. They may not be an apex predator but they know when to duck and hide. I think we need to make like a turtle when we feel overwhelmed. It’s ok to turn off of social media, people that drain you or increase your anxiety and stop watching the news. Protect your peace at all cost even if that means makin’ like a turtle

  3. Write and release. Writing has always been my safe place. Writing down all your feelings, expectations, fears, and goals can alter your heart and mind. Try releasing the thoughts that are banging around in your head by writing them all down and then doing something active like putting them away in a drawer as a single that they are released. Here’s a link to my favorite journals by Moleskine.

  4. Put the cape down. You are strong. You know that and so do your family and those that care about you the most. But we all need support during this time. Connect with someone you trust and make arrangements to check in with each other. Maybe we make a pact with the other strong person in your friend group or another family. You are still a superhero but even the Super Friends when things got tough.

  5. Reach out for help. If you feel yourself slipping into depression or despair get professional help. Take a listen to this podcast to listen for the signs and symptoms of mental health in our interview with Dr. Edwina Bell and click here if you need immediate help.

I just wanted to remind you {and me} that it’s ok to have some doubts and questions about the crazy world around you. Having doubts or questions doesn’t mean you have no belief in God. It means that you are a human being. God is so good to me even on my worst day. This time has helped me remember to hold tight to my spiritual and mental health as I wait for God’s perfect timing and solution.


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