In this bonus episode of Let’s Talk, Jasmine Holmes, Jackie Hill Perry, and Melissa Kruger update each other on life over the past eight months of lockdowns, schooling disruptions, online church, and family life in close quarters. They talk about the difficulties of lockdown as well as the unexpected blessings.
Jackie notes that the pandemic has been like a light that exposes both good and bad. One thing it has exposed is our inability to make and keep plans in our own power, something addressed in James 4:13–16. The lack of control we feel in a pandemic can also create greater dependence on God. Jackie says, “I think that’s a blessing, honestly, to have to need God in a way that I’ve always needed him, but to actually recognize it.”
We plan to be back with Season 2 of Let’s Talk in early 2021. Subscribe today to receive new episodes when they are released!
Books mentioned in this episode:
- Nannie Helen Burroughs: A Documentary Portrait of an Early Civil Rights Pioneer, 1900–1959
- Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves
- Gay Girl: Good God by Jackie Hill Perry
- Mother to Son by Jasmine Holmes
- Keeping the Heart by John Flavel
- The Warmth of Other Sons by Isabel Wilkerson
- The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
- Normal Again, Thanks to COVID-19
- We Never Had Control
- The Coronavirus and the Pony
- How Can I Handle School Anxiety This Fall?
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Jackie Hill Perry: Hey guys, welcome to a special bonus episode of Let’s Talk. A podcast for women from the Gospel Coalition Podcast Network. I am Jackie Hill Perry, and I am here with the beloved saints by the names of Jasmine Holmes and Melissa Kruger to talk about living life, the Christian life to be exact, in a pandemic. The last time we were together was a little while back, Melissa.
Melissa Kruger: It feels like it was a long while back.
Jackie Hill Perry: It sure does.
Melissa Kruger: We were together recording these last January. We had plans for the year, hopes for the year, dreams for the year, and then this little disease happened called COVID and all of our worlds changed dramatically. I remember, I think I’d heard about it in January. My husband actually had ordered mask and I laughed at him.
Jackie Hill Perry: Oh, he was ahead of the game.
Melissa Kruger: He was ahead of the game. He had ordered mask. And then in February, he bought Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer. And again, I laughed at him. And I was like, “Okay, I guess I’ll send those to school next year.” When they asked for all that stuff to come in for school. And then I was hugging and kissing him and saying you are the best husband ever when March hit, because we had all these supplies. So tell me how your life changed dramatically. I guess it all started last March, really. When everything changed. What happened in your worlds?
Jasmine Holmes: I had a book launch party planned in March, which we had the party and then the next day Mississippi was like, no more gatherings over, I think it was like 50 people. And then that next Sunday, there was no church. And then we didn’t go back to school after spring break and everything just changed really quickly.
Melissa Kruger Every day it got a little bit worse and a little bit worse
Jackie Hill Perry: And I didn’t expect it to do that. Because I remember seeing it on the news and it was like, “Oh, two people got COVID in New York.” And I was like, “Oh, okay.” Until I was at home and I had an event cancellation, my assistant had called me. He was like, “Hey, they canceled this event because of COVID.” And then the following event, it was like, “Yeah, they canceled this event because of COVID.” And then the third event, “Oh, they canceled this event.”
Jackie Hill Perry: And it wasn’t the cancellation of the events, it was the, oh this is for real. This is a serious little thing. And then my daughter’s school sent an email, like, “Yeah, they won’t be returning back to school.” And I’m like… I don’t know what this means. I’ve never seen anything like this before. And how do you even plan for that?
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, it was like nothing I’ve ever seen. We were getting ready to go on spring break. We had been looking forward to this time with our kids and we were actually, my husband grew up skiing, and so we were taking them all the way to Colorado. We’ve been looking forward to this, all the stuff. He calls the ski place we were going that day, and they said, “We are committed to remaining open.” This is a Saturday. We fly all the way out there, we drive up the mountain, and as soon as we’re opening the door to this condo place we rented, I get the blip, “The Governor has closed all the ski slopes in the state.”
Jasmine Holmes: Oh my goodness.
Melissa Kruger: And we were like, “This is for real.” And then we felt like the worst parents. We have been on these planes, we felt like germs were everywhere, and we were hand sanitizing everything. It was just so stressful. We got home and that’s when the quarantine started. And we were like, “Good. We’re never going anywhere again.” we literally flew out there. We laughed like we flew to Colorado to have a meal at Chipotle, and then we flew all the way back.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s wow. That’s memorable.
Melissa Kruger: It went so quickly. It was just this… And I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t know. 9/11, I remember that very distinctly, but this changed everyone’s life in the whole world.
Jackie Hill Perry: And then when you started to see the rise in deaths. I think that’s what sobered me up where it wasn’t just like this novel virus that’s affecting our toilet tissue supply. It was like, no, this is destroying… And that sounds dramatic, but truly this is changing people’s lives and families, and the fact that people weren’t able to attend funerals. They were putting bodies in mass graves, and I was just like, this feels like a movie that I didn’t pay to watch.
Melissa Kruger: So it affected so many things in all of our lives. How did it specifically affect your work?
Melissa Kruger: You were hearing from your assistant pretty early on, it sounds like-
Jackie Hill Perry: March, yeah.
Melissa Kruger: These things are canceled, but how did it affect what you were doing work-wise, family-wise, how did it affect your life?
Jasmine Holmes: I mean, I started teaching online and we had our eighth graders, we had all kinds of things planned. Like we were going to get into a Harry Potter book club this summer, and watch all the movies together, and all of that just left and then I think probably Jackie can relate to this, but being a writer and trying to write from home-
Jackie Hill Perry: Impossible.
Melissa Kruger: … two children.
Jackie Hill Perry: My children. This is not a thing.
Jasmine Holmes: How is this going to have… What are we going to do? And every day, my four year old is like, “Hey mom, where are we going today?” And I’m like, nowhere. Nowhere.
Jackie Hill Perry: You’re going in the living room, Bucko.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, it’s going to be great.
Melissa Kruger: Did you get together with other people? Because that for me when I had young kids was a huge outlet to go see one other mom with a young kid. But did you stay away? During that initial season, I feel like everybody was much stricter March and April.
Jasmine Holmes: They were. I took a lot like walks with other moms. Because there was a time where I definitely I remember sitting in therapy and I was like, “I just feel like I’m falling apart and my life is meaningless.” And she was like, “I think maybe you need to get out of the house.” And I was like, “But it’s coronavirus.” She was like, “Put on a mask and get out of the house.” I said, “Okay, I’ll try.” But I definitely needed to be more purposeful about removing myself from just the regular every day, because everyday just starts to kind of look the same and flow into each other.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, I couldn’t figure out when it was the weekend, because you don’t even have church. That grounds… And when that went online, it was just so weird. I mean, I went way too long without a shower. Totally.
Jackie Hill Perry:: Is it Tuesday or Saturday? I don’t know.
Jasmine Holmes: I put on real clothes because we’re back at work now. We’re teaching it masks and face shields, and so I put on real pants to go to work and my husband was like, “You look so beautiful today.” And I was like, “I have a waistband on my pants, it’s not elastic.”
Melissa Kruger: It’s like, “Wow, real clothes. I can do this. I can do this. I can brush my hair.”
Jackie Hill Perry: I think for me, I think I have several jobs, if you will. But one of them is obviously traveling to teach and speak. And so those cancellations, I wasn’t even necessarily mad at because it does get exhausting to fly all of the time. I think the major adjustment was, I’m also a writer, and like Jasmine said, trying to write with a five-year-old and a two year old that wants everything all of the time even if unnecessary. “She took my two Graham crackers.” “All right. Take two back, I don’t know.”
Jackie Hill Perry: It just made writing or concentration difficult, but I also realized that the lack of being able to go out and explore, and do life with other people, it affected my creativity. And I didn’t know why I was like, I can’t think imaginatively as I used to, I don’t know what this is. And it’s like, “Oh, because I’m doing the same thing every day with the same people.” And so there’s something about being a community and just exploration that just, I don’t know, was inhibited by this.
Melissa Kruger: That’s a really good point. You forget about how much happens when you’re in conversation with people. And like one little comment, someone says sparks an idea and then you think, “Oh, I should go research that more and think through that more.” And it’s like, we forget when you’re with the same four or five people all the time. That’s a really limited perspective.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yes. And we’ve stopped talking because what else is there to say at this point? Did you wash your hands? Do you have sanitizer in your bag? Got your mask on.
Jasmine Holmes: It’s like a COVID exposure is like the most excitement that anybody has right now, which is so awkward. Like one of our relatives get COVID and we saw them, and so we had to go get a test and everything. And I was like, this is so bad that I’m like, wow, okay. This is exciting. I go out of the house and I got to get a test. Like let’s okay. Let’s see what’s going on. And I was like, wow. My life is dull. The fact that that’s like an event. While I was there I was like, “Could you check my thyroid? Let’s talk.”
Jackie Hill Perry: How did y’all churches navigate it all? I feel like, and I’m only learning this via Twitter, but it seemed like everybody’s churches navigated this differently.
Jasmine Holmes: We went online. We’ve just started having like a few test groups that people go back a couple months ago. And so now it’s like you register to go to church, and when all the seats are filled and they’re filled and the rest of us have to go online at home. And they’re doing some Zoom stuff, some social distance stuff and yeah, it’s just been just weird. Just weird.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, we were fortunate that we already had a setup to record it. I don’t know why. I mean, because it’s not like it’s being played anywhere during the week, but they already had the set up, so that was nice. When we initially began, we were all online and then I feel like we went… They started going back. Thankfully, we have a huge sanctuary and so it can probably hold 1,500. So they could have 400 in there really socially distancing. It’s a tall ceiling, so you feel like the air, you’re not breathing in everyone’s air. And they just asked people to wear a mask, but it’s been the sign up. So like this week Mike tried to sign up, but Tuesday it was already full.
Jasmine Holmes: Oh my goodness.
Melissa Kruger: So it’s that weird, ” Oh, we can’t go to church.” We were online this week. So you go back and forth about what you can do, but it’s been nice to just have some break to get to go sometimes even if we don’t go every week, but how are y’all doing it with young kids? Because do they have nursery? Or you just take them in there?
Jasmine Holmes: We haven’t been back.
Jackie Hill Perry: Well, our church isn’t open yet. They do like the Zoom sermon thing. I will say some people might think that this is not being loyal. It was kind of fun to venture into the pews of different churches because of this. And so churches that I don’t visit, or pastors that I know of, so like Charlie Date’s church in Chicago, I always Zoom in and watch his services. And I was like, “Oh, I feel like part of a Chicago church plan now.” And so I think that was kind of cool to be able to just see and be edified by different church leaders around the country that I wouldn’t otherwise listen to on the Sunday morning.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, it’s been cool to see just the creativity of people in ministry coming up with new concepts.
Jasmine Holmes: … creativity of people in ministry coming up with new concepts and pushing things out. I’m even thinking about your pastor’s podcast, Windows and Mirrors. I have started reading the Bible in a year with them, and I don’t know if I’ve never stuck with a reading the Bible in a year plan ever, like never. I’ve started them throughout my life.
Jackie Hill Perry: When do you stop?
Jasmine Holmes: I usually stop after Genesis. I’m going to be real with you. I get past the creation story-
Jackie Hill Perry: You don’t even get to Exodus.
Jasmine Holmes: No, because I’m just like, “I want to go to Colossians.” You know what I’m saying? I’m just like, “I want to go somewhere else.”
Jackie Hill Perry: “I want to go after the resurrection.”
Jasmine Holmes: Right, right. I’m just like, “I just want to be …” but we are in Numbers. We’re at the end of Numbers.
Jackie Hill Perry: Good job.
Jasmine Holmes: Look at me go. I’m at the end of Numbers. But-
Melissa Kruger: So is it chronological?
Jasmine Holmes: It is.
Melissa Kruger: Oh, that’s hard.
Jasmine Holmes: It is.
Melissa Kruger: Because you don’t get to the new Testament normally until October.
Jasmine Holmes: Right. Right. Which is like, I don’t know. And I’m trying to be more stable in my Bible reading, because normally I’m very emotionally, I just want to be in the Psalms today. I want to be inspired by Ruth right now. And so it’s good. But I do think that if it hadn’t been for the pandemic, I may not have did something that I just… I had time, and I was looking for more things to listen to and things to be involved in. And that’s been one blessing.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. That’s a good question. What are the blessings of the season? Because I think there are some. I know for me, I had just sent my daughter off to college when we were all meeting before. And I thought, she’ll never be home again for a long period of time. Well, I didn’t expect to be homeschooling college. That was definitely never on my plan, but it was so great to have her back. She was going to be in Indonesia this summer doing missions work. And instead she worked at Chick-fil-A, and she got to do that and be here, but I got to see her every day. And so it was actually a real blessing to have that time that I didn’t think would come again.
Melissa Kruger: I feel like I hit the jackpot about kids’ ages. I have a 13 year old, I have a 16 year old, and I had a 19 year old. They were fun to have around, and they’re actually enjoyable. I get, not everybody wants their teenagers in their house all the time. But we got to do things like puzzles. We sat and did puzzles. When do you do that? We never just had time together. And so that’s one thing I was thankful for.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. I think it’s a few things. I think the first is, it’s like a forced rest. Because I was thinking about myself this year versus myself last year, and I don’t have the same anxieties. I don’t have the same amount of deadlines and things to do. I feel so much more at ease than I was, and that’s delightful. I think the second thing is, I’ve actually had more time with my children. Though I’m self-employed, and so I think I have more time with them, more than the average person that might have a nine to five. I still wasn’t as present as I could be, because even at home I was working. And so I was like, huh, I’m not as irritated by them as much. And that’s only because I was more irritated because they weren’t a mainstay in my schedule, if that makes sense. And so they often felt more like an inconvenience than a joy. But now it’s like, oh sure. Sure, you can go to Target with me and I won’t be bothered by you. And that sounds negative, but that’s just what it is.
Jasmine Holmes: Because Autumn is-
Jackie Hill Perry: Two.
Jasmine Holmes: Two. And I feel like Langston is going to be two in December, but that’s just such a changing. They change so much between that 18 month and two years old. And I’ve really been enjoying watching his little personality form. And more so, more up close and personal. And like you, I mean, I only work outside the home two days a week. So I’m with him all the time. But even just that extra measure of being with him even more with the pandemic, I’ve seen… I’m like, oh, you have a cool personality. You have a good sense of humor for baby.
Jackie Hill Perry: And it was interesting with Eden, who’s five, when her school went virtual, what not. It was interesting to see her and her sister’s relationship change. And it was observable. It was like, oh, they’re way closer than they’ve ever been. And I didn’t even notice that they weren’t that close. But it makes sense, Eden’s at school, Autumn’s at home, but now they’re together and they actually miss each other. And Eden will come down the steps for breakfast and they’ll hug. And it’s the cutest little thing. I said, “Oh, this is nice.” Like family fellowship. Yeah. It’s-
Melissa Kruger: I know. The other thing I liked seeing in my neighborhood, I never saw this many people walking, or riding their bikes. You’d see whole families riding their bikes. I never used to see that.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s true. Because outside is a vacation.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. Yeah. And it was like the world stopped, but out there, that people’s home life was better in some ways. I mean, they were actually spending time together.
Jackie Hill Perry: Would you all say that, I don’t know, that this pandemic has made the simple things special again. Meeting with your friends, walking outside. I don’t know.
Melissa Kruger: Going to church.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah.
Melissa Kruger: I don’t take it for granted. The first time I walked back in the doors of the church, which some Sundays you’re like, I’d like to sleep in. I’d like to not go. And you feel like, ah. To walk in and get to sing with other Christians was such a gift. You realize, wow, what a privilege to get to do this.
Jasmine Holmes: Right.
Melissa Kruger: It’s made the normal things feel special.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yes. Yep.
Jasmine Holmes: I think it’s also reminded me of the privileges that I have, because not everybody’s home is a safe environment. Not everybody has high speed internet to be able to keep doing work. Not everybody was able to not… Some people lost their jobs. Some people have lost loved ones. Some single moms have lost their help. And so it’s shown me just the amount of privilege that I take for granted on a day-to-day basis. Because honestly, our lives have changed a lot, but they haven’t changed as much as other people’s lives have been forced to change because of the pandemic.
Jasmine Holmes: So I’ve definitely been reminded to be more grateful and more prayerful for other folks. Because, I mean, I’ve seen pictures on Twitter of kids having to go to a local fast food restaurant to get wifi to do school. Just in the fact that we have so many resources at our disposal is something that I took for granted a lot more before the pandemic, that I’m trying to be more grateful for now. I mean, our paychecks have not been disrupted, our help hasn’t really been disrupted. So there were a lot of things just to be grateful for.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. Because that’s been hard. And I think particularly, I’ve read some reports that women’s work, in particular, has been greatly affected.
Jackie Hill Perry: In what way?
Melissa Kruger: Mainly because kids are home. So it seems like it’s affected them more in the sense of a lot of them have had to either leave their jobs in order to manage the children. But if you’re a single mom, and you’ve got all of a sudden a six year old and eight year old home, how are you juggling online school, trying to work your job, getting to it? Women, I think, are bearing a really specific burden in this time. I don’t know if you felt this. I felt this. I’ve told my husband, sometimes it’s just the mental weight.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah.
Melissa Kruger: Because my job continued, because we already work remotely. I was laughing. I was like, I’m a little bit worried because my normal job is like a pandemic job.I sit in my office by myself all day, and we were already Zooming. We already did that.
Jasmine Holmes: Right.
Melissa Kruger: But then I had my kids home. And when the internet would go out and their school stops. Or, we didn’t have four computers for everyone to be on. So you’re trying to figure out these old devices that you’re trying to set up so that they can use.
Melissa Kruger: It was just the mental weight, in some ways, of those burdens. Now I had people in my house for lunch, and it’s just dishes get left. And I’m the only one who cares. And so then I either have to ask them, “Well you all clean up after yourself, clean up after yourself.” I don’t know, it was just a different weight. It was great to have them. I love having them home, but it did add burdens to my regular work. I don’t know if you all felt that.
Jasmine Holmes: Oh I totally felt that.
Jackie Hill Perry: Oh yeah. Yeah. And I kept thinking to myself, is this a new burden? In the sense of, when I think of my grandmother in 1958, who has four children at this point. She already didn’t even have all that freedom. You know? And so what I feel as a burden was just life for her. And so I just kept thinking about that. I was like, I felt like so much of my irritation and frustration is in discontentment is because I’m a product of the era that I live in.
Jasmine Holmes: Which is fair.
Jackie Hill Perry: Right.
Jasmine Holmes: I mean, there’s a balance of wanting to be aware that we still have it really good. But then also, that doesn’t mean that our hardships are not hard.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah.
Melissa Kruger: Technology is rough.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, it is.
Melissa Kruger: When it’s something because it’s like didn’t have technology. Yeah. They didn’t have to deal with the internet.
Jackie Hill Perry: They didn’t have Netflix to alleviate their suffering.
Jasmine Holmes: And they didn’t have a home school, they were just sitting there kids. There was no Zoom school. It was like, go to school.
Jackie Hill Perry: And there was real talk going down that road.
Melissa Kruger: I know. I actually thought about that sometimes though, the fact that we have technology is how we could know the virus was even happening around the world. And then we could know what was happening in Italy when it hit Italy so hard. Because Twitter and all these news agencies, it’s so quick. I was thinking about, if this had happened 100 years earlier, would it have just come and nothing would have shut down because we wouldn’t have known?
Jackie Hill Perry: Well one of the interesting things I read about where with other… What do you call them, epidemics? And how so many of them stayed local because there were no planes.
Jasmine Holmes: Right.
Jackie Hill Perry: You know? And so even the technology of flight is one of the reasons we have this in the way that we do.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. Because if you were on a boat, it would have probably run its course by the time it even got across the ocean.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, it would stay where it was.
Melissa Kruger: That’s a good thing.
Jasmine Holmes: The closest thing is the Spanish flu epidemic.
Jasmine Holmes: There’s a lot of parallels between, because things did have to shut down. And there was a similar, should we have to wear masks? Should we have to wash our hand? It just is a reminder that there’s nothing new under the sun. Some of the very same attitudes that we encounter today about the sickness are similar to attitudes that we encountered back then. And it spread. I mean, it’s spread all over America, and it was in other countries too.
Melissa Kruger: I know, it’s going to be interesting in 20 years to read the book about this era.
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah.
Melissa Kruger: … what mistakes we made, what we should’ve done differently.
Jasmine Holmes: Are people going to be like, “Well it was so simple.” They-
Melissa Kruger: … What we should’ve done differently.
Jasmine Holmes: Are people going to be like, “Well, it’s so simple. They should have just, whatever.”
Jackie Hill Perry: Oh, of course they will.
Jackie Hill Perry: We become arrogant the longer way we get from a decade.
Melissa Kruger: Well, let me ask, as we’ve been in the season, it’s clearly done things to our relationship with God and as we’ve been studying. I love what you were saying that you started reading the Bible through in a year. How has it affected just what you think about God, as you’re walking with Him, has it had an impact on what you trust God for, what you go to Him for, how you pray, what you’re thinking about?
Jackie Hill Perry: Yes. I think it affected us financially in a way that put me in a position of dependence that I have not been in, in a long time. And I think I thought I trusted God for financial provision, but I feel like God showed me that you trusted your calendar. You had all of this stuff lined up that gave you the security that you would be good. But, you’ve always been good even when you can’t see it. And so, I think initially when I had the event cancellations and all of that, I sat up in my bed and I started to cry. And I was like, “God, I’m scared.” Because we just moved into a house. We moved into a house at the end of January, and then here is March and it’s like, “Okay.” And I got two children and I have two other adults living in my home and all this stuff and it’s just like, “Do I feed the birds or not?”
Jackie Hill Perry: And are you worth more than they? If that’s true, you’ll be okay. You may not have all that you’ve had, you may not have all of the good things that you want, you may not be able to get coffee every other day, but you’ll be fine. I think that’s a blessing, honestly, to have to, I don’t know, to have to need God in a way that I’ve always needed Him, but to actually recognize it.
Jasmine Holmes: That is good. I’ve just been really thankful. We were, maybe two months into quarantine and I just looked at Philip and I was like, “I like you.” And he was like, “Okay. I like you…” I was like, “No, think about it. We’re on top. We’re on top of one another. We were really working from home. We have two small children. We are the only other adults that we see every day. And I like you.” And that’s just so that’s nice.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s a blessing.
Melissa Kruger: That’s good.
Jasmine Holmes: It was like this is such a blessing because I’m sure so many marriages have been impacted and not that we haven’t had bickering arguments or just like, “I’m tired of looking at you.” But, just we’re going to be married, let’s see, six years in a couple of weeks. And it’s just been a really sweet time for us to see God’s provision and putting us together, just even in the midst of a pandemic. That we are the people that have to make life secure for two little people. And the foundation of that security is our marriage. And even when the world is falling apart, it’s still a huge comfort. That’s been a really, really big blessing and something that I’ve been very thankful to God for because he just put us together really fast, and we did not know each other well when we got married and it’s been like a roller coaster ride the entire time, and this year has just been, this has been the most peaceful year of our marriage, which is insane because it’s the craziest year of our life. But, yeah.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. I felt really similarly thankful that I like being with this person. Although I did really, I noticed it seemed like marriages were going one way or the other.
Jackie Hill Perry: Oh yeah. Yeah.
Melissa Kruger: There’ve been a lot of people who are like, “I’ve been with you too long. And now this is kind of this moment where it’s proving that we’re out.” And we actually had a friend say, “I can’t do this anymore.” With their marriage and things that I wanted to say, “Don’t make a decision in a pandemic.” It can show you, I love being with this person. And that’s how I’ve felt. I’ve been so thankful that we look at each other and we’re like, “wow, we like this. We like being together. I like talking to you about life. I like doing this with you.” But, I also, I know this is not normal. So, it’s like you want to caution people who don’t feel that way. [crosstalk 00:30:52] To be like, “Don’t leave just because you don’t like to spend 24 hours with them all the time. Just stick it out a little longer, get through this, get some counseling.
Jasmine Holmes: We are getting along so well, now. And the only reason that I can say that is because our first three years of marriage, we were like, “What did we do?” Oh, I don’t know.
Melissa Kruger: Our first 10 years of marriage.
Jasmine Holmes: Oh, man. It was just like, “What did we do? How, who are you? Why?” So, yeah. Not at all, trying to say that if you’re not having an ideal pandemic marriage, because we just got here and it’s nice to be here.
Melissa Kruger: Exactly.
Jackie Hill Perry: I think pandemic has been a light in many ways. A light exposes bad things and good things. And so, I think, for some, they haven’t had to be near each other in such an intense way where they see certain things. And so, now you not only see it, but you have to deal with it. And it’s the dealing with part that’s difficult because I don’t know if I love you enough to deal with it. I don’t know if I have the patience to deal with it. I don’t, you know what I’m saying? And so, I could see why, on both ends, there’s people like, “Oh, I do love you.” And it’s like, “You know what? I don’t, but I didn’t realize it because we only went to bed together and that was it.”
Jasmine Holmes: Right. Right.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. It puts you face to face again.
Jasmine Holmes: It does.
Melissa Kruger: With someone and you are kind of saying, “Huh? Do we have anything in common? Do we have anything that we’re talking about other than our jobs and our work.” And then it puts you face to face. I think it happens actually to a lot of people when the kids leave. Their whole lives were about their kids.
Jackie Hill Perry: I can see that being the thing.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah. You’re going to sports practices together, you’re talking about their school, you’re doing whatever. And then they leave and a lot of people start to struggle with the empty nest.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s interesting. Which is a good thing. I know it’s hard. I don’t want to be super optimistic, but I do want to be someone who exhorts people to see that there’s some beauty in the difficult stuff. Because God is not revealing anything in vain. He’s revealing it so you can lean on him to deal with it. And in dealing with it, then you become closer to your spouse and closer to God in the process.
Melissa Kruger: Well, there’s been no other relationship where I’ve learned how the Lord loves me, than by learning to love another like that, when you’re all in one another space, all the time. And when it says bear with one another in love, or love is patient love is kind, it’s not self-seeking. I can be so self seeking. I can be like, “Hold on. You’re sitting down on the couch, watching a TV show. I’m over here doing the dishes.” I can be so looking at my perspective rather than being like, “Oh, I’m glad he’s getting some rest.” Or whatever. And I realize, Oh, this is how the Lord loves me. He’s always for me, he’s always patient to me, he’s always kind, he’s not keeping a record of my wrongs, he’s bearing with me in love. But, I can only know what that is really like when I have to love another, that way. I don’t know. Its, marriage is that relationship, it involves both the good and the hard.
Jackie Hill Perry: Even friendships. Because I think there’s a lot more intentionality that I’ve had to have with my friends and the maintenance of those friendships
Jasmine Holmes: Especially single folks, they’re alone.
Jackie Hill Perry: Oh yeah. Even though, all of my friends are single and they don’t quarantine at all. If I see you at another brunch, I don’t know what I’m going to do. That’s why you can’t come over this house.
Jasmine Holmes: But, I can’t imagine being by your… I mean, as much as my husband gets on my nerves sometimes, it’s like at least we have a family of four under one roof together. Yes, we’re on top of each other. But man, that silence of if you’re quarantining and you’re a single person. So, yeah. Sorry, I interrupted you.
Jackie Hill Perry: No. It’s fine.
Jasmine Holmes: You were saying you need to be intentional with friendships.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. There just a little harder to maintain or to just even have fun. Because there was this section of time where I wasn’t letting anybody in the house or vice versa. And I’m pregnant, so I’m high risk and my mother lives with me and she’s over 60. I’m like, “I don’t trust y’all and I saw you at brunch on Instagram, when nobody had a mask on. No ma’am, you can’t come over here.” You sure can’t. But, yeah. It’s just the text check-in is just, it’s shallow. It was easier to check in, in person. So…
Jasmine Holmes: Yeah, we do Marco Polo a lot with my friends and try to both… Marco Polo used to be completely free, and they started charging $60 a year and we paid it. we just noticed, we weren’t even talking to people, certain people that live far away that were supposed to come visit, that couldn’t come visit, or my family. So we’re like, “All right. All right, we’re going to pay this.”
Melissa Kruger: I know it. Did you find out any other creative ways to keep in touch with people?
Jasmine Holmes: We had a lot of… I had a Netflix watch party, birthday party. I did. Because they have that little Watch Party app. And then we did Zoom stuff. I went to a couple of Zoom birthday parties. I had, Win, my son had a drive-by birthday party. And yeah. Just a lot of time outside. Even at school, I do a lot of my classes outside because we don’t have to mask up outside, because it’s hot in Mississippi. So, it’s just nice to be able to socially distance in a circle, as opposed to being in the classroom, everybody has on masks, I have on a face shield and we’re just trying to… It’s crazy.
Jackie Hill Perry: Bet you look very hygienic.
Jasmine Holmes: I just look in the mirror and I’m like, “How is this your life? You are going to work with a shield on your face.”
Jackie Hill Perry: It’s a strange… I remember being in Target and somebody was walking past, but they weren’t six feet away. And so, I kind of stepped back so they can move along. And I was like this is so odd that all of us are looking at each other like, “You better be six feet away or…” I never even thought like that before.
Melissa Kruger: Or the arrows. When people look at you like, “You went the wrong way.”
Jackie Hill Perry: Down this isle.
Melissa Kruger: I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. I didn’t see the arrows.
Jackie Hill Perry: I just wanted to take a shortcut.
Melissa Kruger: And then I’m like, “Oh, my. People are mad.” They’re like, “You’re supposed to be going that way.” And I’m like, “I’m so sorry.”
Jasmine Holmes: People are, they’re scared.
Jackie Hill Perry: They are.
Melissa Kruger: Okay. Is there anything… Last question. Is there anything you feel like you’ve learned in this season that you want to apply when things go back to, air quote, normal?
Jackie Hill Perry: Funny thing is, I probably won’t apply it. I’ll try.
Jasmine Holmes: I’ll try. I want to keep the gratitude, for the awareness of the fact that I have a lot of blessings during the season that I don’t need to be taking for granted, guarding myself from complaining, especially around people to whom my complaints sound ridiculous.
Jackie Hill Perry: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melissa Kruger: Hmm. That’s good. That’s good. Mine is, our life slowed down so much. We both, both my husband and I, travel and do things and I realized for a short time, I need to limit my travel greatly. I just need to say “No” more. We’ll get to people pleasing next season, but I need to just be willing to say “No,” because I’m saying… By saying no to something else I’m saying yes to things that really matter sometimes. And I need to do a better job of that. Mike and I also discussed that we both, every like four or five years…
Melissa Kruger: That we both, every four or five years, take six months where neither of us take any travel, that we both do it together because it was so nice. Often, he’ll be going to a place one weekend. I’ll be going somewhere next weekend. And it was just so nice to have weekend after weekend after weekend that we weren’t going anywhere. And so just to be more thoughtful, we were just saying yes, without really thinking through. And it’s hard because you’re asked sometimes two years in advance. And you don’t know what two years from now is going to look like. So I’m trying to really think through and do a better job of saying, I can’t make that decision till I get my kids’ schedule. And just being okay with a no, until I know it’s a yes for our family.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s good. Yeah. I want to stay in needy. I just feel needy now. And I think that’s such a good thing because I think it keeps me low. I can make an idol out of productivity often. And so I think for me to not be able to produce as frequently or to get a return on certain investments, and not financial investments, like creative investments, as quickly as usual, it just kind of makes you more like, you know what? God got it. It is what it is. I’ll be all right. I won’t die. And so I just want to maintain that when things get back to normal and the schedule was able to be filled up again and to say no, like I’m going to rest.
Melissa Kruger: That’s so good. Because it’s really hard when you’re competent to just go forward. And it does, it makes you more prayerful. I realize I can’t make this pandemic go away. I just have to pray.
Jackie Hill Perry: The passage in James 4, where it says, come now you who say today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit. Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, if the Lord wills, we will live and do this or do that.
Jackie Hill Perry: And I feel like if that isn’t a word for everybody in 2020, where it’s like, man, we need to be content with mystery and know that our plans are not rooted in someone sovereign. We are not God, and so we can not control what is to come. And that is not a bad thing to not know. It’s actually, I think, a thing that would give us a lot more peace.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, it’s almost been like, we were all Nebuchadnezzar staring out at our field saying, look at the wonderful world we’ve created. If I could go back to January, I had all my plans lined up. Then next second, next picture, Nebuchadnezzar is eating grass in the field for the next seven years. I do think it’s been one of those things where God is like, I am still God. You humans have done a lot. You’ve planned a lot. You’ve built a lot. But he can still turn this world on a dime.
Jasmine Holmes: Oh, and he has.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yes.
Melissa Kruger: And he has. And it’s really humbling. He is God. I love… I mean, it’s been pretty amazing because our theme for TGCW is steadfastness. I’m like, well, I didn’t know we were going to get an object lesson.
Jasmine Holmes: Right. That’s what you get when you pick out a theme or pray for equality. God’s like, I got you.
Melissa Kruger: So next theme is joy. That’s what we’re going to go for for next year.
Melissa Kruger: Okay. So favorite things. We’ve had a lot of time this year to be at home. So this week’s question is, what is the favorite book you’ve read this past year?
Jasmine Holmes: My favorite thing that I have read this year, I had never read Harry Potter before.
Jackie Hill Perry: I should have known you were going to talk about witchcraft.
Jasmine Holmes: I know. I told you. I said I was about to be worldly. I told you.
Jackie Hill Perry: I should have known.
Jasmine Holmes: So I had never read it because, of course, I’m a good Christian girl, and I was not allowed to read Harry Potter. And so I-
Melissa Kruger: I’m such a bad mom.
Jasmine Holmes: At the tender age of 30, finally picked up and read the Harry Potter books. And I loved them, and I thought they so fun.
Jackie Hill Perry: So when you say books, you mean all of them?
Jasmine Holmes: I read all of them.
Melissa Kruger: All seven.
Jasmine Holmes: I read all of them in two weeks.
Melissa Kruger: And they get really, really thick.
Jasmine Holmes: They do. And I was just so invested. And I listened to the Harry Potter podcast. I watched the movies. I was like-
Jackie Hill Perry: You were tweeting about it.
Jasmine Holmes: OH, yeah. I was like, do you guys know about these books?
Jackie Hill Perry: The world does apparently.
Jasmine Holmes: I know. And I was like, do you guys know? Have you guys read this?
Melissa Kruger: Everybody’s like, yes.
Jasmine Holmes: Do you guys like J. K. Rowling?
Melissa Kruger: You’re the last one…
Jasmine Holmes: And then J. K. Rowling got canceled right after I read her book.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah, she did.
Jasmine Holmes: I know. I learned about Nannie Helen Burroughs this year. And there is a book of her speeches and her writings and her. And she was just this amazing dynamic black woman. I love her.
Melissa Kruger: Say her name again.
Jasmine Holmes: Nannie Helen Burroughs. They called her the female Booker T. Washington. But I think she’s more dynamic than Booker T. Washington. But reading her writings has been one of my favorite discoveries of this year.
Jackie Hill Perry: So by this year, I’m going to mean the last 12 months, not 2020. So I’m going to cheat. But the book I’ve been talking about it a lot is Delighting in the Trinity by Michael Reeves. Did I mention this last season? I might’ve.
Jasmine Holmes: I feel like you may have.
Jackie Hill Perry: I probably did. And that’s how important it was.
Jasmine Holmes: Mention it again. Yeah.
Jackie Hill Perry: Because this is the thing, anytime you venture into, I think, trinitarian doctrine via books, it can just be so heady and confusing because the trinity is already kind of like, okay, one God and three persons. Father, Son, Spirit. Spirit isn’t Jesus. Jesus isn’t the Father. The Father isn’t the Spirit. But how does that work? It just becomes a thing that makes you want to give up. But with Delighting in the Trinity, I felt like it was one of the first books I’ve read about the trinity that was not, what’s the word? It wasn’t basic in its presentation of that theological doctrine. But it also wasn’t confusing. Yet even under all of that, it gave me an affection for God, which is so rare to me in theological academics books. Whereas I read it, and I was like, ooh, I feel like I love God more.
Jasmine Holmes: I love that.
Jackie Hill Perry: And so that’s what makes it really special to me.
Melissa Kruger: I think that’s the best compliment you could give a book.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yes.
Melissa Kruger: It makes me love God more.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. I know, but I also love, and that’s a difference.
Melissa Kruger: And then know should yield loving.
Jackie Hill Perry: It should.
Melissa Kruger: I mean, it’s God.
Jackie Hill Perry: Why is that not a thing?
Melissa Kruger: So That’s good. That’s good.
Melissa Kruger: Well, and I’m not saying this to flatter either of you. I read both of your books-
Jackie Hill Perry: Yay.
Melissa Kruger: … this year, and they’re both excellent.
Jackie Hill Perry: Thank you.
Melissa Kruger: Both excellent. So I always say it the wrong way. Gay Girl, Good God.
Jackie Hill Perry: Don’t blaspheme now.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, exactly.
Jasmine Holmes: Be careful.
Melissa Kruger: … by Jackie is excellent. And then Jasmine’s book From Mother to Son. Is it From Mother to Son?
Jasmine Holmes: Mother to Son.
Melissa Kruger: Mother to Son. Both, just excellent. And with both of them, I felt like I got to visit with you. So even thought I couldn’t see you, it felt like I was hearing from both of you.
Jackie Hill Perry: That’s a compliment too, to a writer.
Jasmine Holmes: It is.
Melissa Kruger: But I would say, spiritually, a book that really hit me, I’ve been really struck by this whole… I just feel like we keep watching Christians in our world turn away from the faith, whatever you’re calling it, deconstruction or whatever. And I have to say what it does for me is, I say, dear Jesus, keep me. And so I read this book by John Flavel. He’s from the 1600s or somewhere back there, it’s called Keeping the Heart, because I really just want my heart to be kept in this world. I just want to hear well done, good and faithful servant. That’s that’s what I want.
Melissa Kruger: But then the book, I would say, that was probably the best book I read, we talked about this last night, was The Warmth of Other Suns. It has been sitting on my nightstand for probably four years, and it’s really thick. And so I kept saying, not yet, not yet, not yet. And a friend, Jen Oshman, did a book club on it. And so that finally made me read it because we were doing a virtual book club. So I was like, okay, I got to do it. She tells stories so well.
Jackie Hill Perry: She does.
Jasmine Holmes: So good.
Melissa Kruger: She does all these stories. It’s one of the best historical books I’ve read because she does it through story. And so I just highly recommend it. Anyway, it was just so well, I love a well done book. And it’s just well done.
Jackie Hill Perry: Yeah. She has a new book called Caste.
Melissa Kruger: Yeah, I haven’t read it. I just started it.
Jackie Hill Perry: Of course, you did. You’ll be done by next week.
Melissa Kruger: Oh, no.
Jasmine Holmes: History teacher.
Jackie Hill Perry: Well, thanks for listening to the special bonus episode of Let’s Talk. Lord willing, hello, James, we will be back with season two in the early part of 2021 talking about how to apply biblical wisdom to everyday life. We hope that you will join us then. You can also find all of the episodes from season one of Let’s Talk at tgc.org/podcast or wherever you listen to podcasts.
Jackie Hill Perry: The Gospel Coalition supports the church in making disciples of all nations by providing resources that are trusted and timely, winsome and wise and centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ.