Expat Family Living in Spain


April 1, 2020

It’s been over two weeks that we’ve been in a lockdown due to the coronavirus in Spain. Over two weeks that the kids can’t go outside whatsoever. No playing soccer for my son, no swinging in the playground for my daughter, and the only sun they can get is from our tiny balcony. Over two weeks and we are not even close to end this quarantine. The president declared two weeks more of lockdown, but watching the numbers still going up here, and watching our neighbor country, Italy, I think that period might get extended longer.

I have mixed feelings about it. I am grateful that we are all in safe; the kids don’t have to go to school but do their work from home; we only have to go out for groceries and walk the dog. But, there are nights when I lay my head on my pillow, I feel like I am suffocating. I think of my kids, being stuck in our apartment, with no space to run, to play, to have contact with nature, for God knows how long it will be, and I can’t help but feel breathless. 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

God’s voice is real. Every night, as panic starts to take control of my mind, his voice comes and calms me down. He reminds me of the Bible verses I read and fills my heart with hope and courage.

In the situation we are facing right now, I think it is common to feel scared, anxious, overwhelmed, and sad. I think it is important to acknowledge them, but, we can’t let those feelings control us. 

I am very blessed to have my kids. In despite of the circumstances, they have never complained. They talk about missing being able to play, to see their friends, to go out, but they have never ever complained about it. They understand the situation. They know that right now, the best thing for us is to stay home. My daughter, every morning, she wakes up with the biggest smile on her face. Like if nothing is happening. She comes and gives me this wonderful hug and starts giggling. She is definitely Joy. But though I have great kids, I know they have feelings and it is important for me to address them. 

Every morning, before we start school work, the kids and I clean up a little and have a devotional time. We sing, we read the Bible, and we talk about it, then we pray. Every day I ask, how are you guys feeling? Because I want to help them to deal with their feelings with God’s point of view. It’d be naive of my part to think just because they are not complaining, they haven’t been affected by this situation. It is my responsibility to help them express their feelings and replace them with hope.

The other day, my son was sad because he saw pictures and videos of kids in America in quarantine in their yards. It broke my heart to see his face longing for freedom to run outside, to enjoy the outdoors. It seems easier to look at the things we don’t have right now and miss them. So, every morning we acknowledge what we are missing, but we don’t let it control us. Instead, we choose to give thanks for what we have: We are safe together, while we have friends that are separated from their family right now because of the coronavirus; We are healthy and enjoying each other’s company, while people are losing their loved ones; and some of our friends don’t even have a balcony to breathe some fresh air. So, we change our perspective to God’s perspective. Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances. Instead of being miserable for not having a yard, we rejoice for being able to enjoy our balcony. Instead of letting the lack of freedom to move anywhere upset us, we give thanks we are safe inside. And every time we see the numbers of infected people and deaths getting higher and higher and fear starts to creep in, we pray and we remember that God casts out all fear.

It is an uncertain time right now. We don’t know how long we’ll have to be locked inside of our apartment, but we know that every day we’ve experienced God’s grace, calming our hearts and minds, giving us strength and hope. Every day, through His word, we get encouragement and peace. And for that, we have more than enough to rejoice and give thanks!

  1. You guys are brave. I love how Joy just radiates joy every morning for you. What a gift. I’m sorry if my account of our kids being outside was painful. They are also so blessed to have you to help them sort out their feelings each day and to give them love and stability.
    May God continue to shower the four of you with peace and even joy in the middle of the most difficult circumstances.

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