When I heard coronavirus/COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by a new virus was now in the United States, my first thought was “why did I convince the doctors to let me wait another three months to open my stents?” I had just told Tim a few nights prior that I was going to call and see about getting in sooner due to some increased symptoms but now I have to wait until the end of April. And just like that the “what if” scenarios began dancing in my head.
Since my diagnosis of fibrosing mediastinitis back in 2002, I have experienced my share of fear over the unknown, anxiety over others dying from the same disease I have and wondering “am I next?” I have experienced depression and defeat from the overwhelming pain of one symptom leading to another symptom and frustration over the lack of treatment options to “fix” me. I was swallowed by bitterness and anger as I focused only on my circumstances.
And now I see the world consumed by all of the emotions I have experienced with my own disease and my heart aches! It aches for those who are being so cautious of not catching this disease that they have become paralyzed in their own fear. Or for those who have stocked up on supplies and left others who really need it with nothing. My heart aches for so many who are sick and have to suffer through the discomfort as they just wait out the symptoms or the fear of not knowing when they will get better. My heart aches for the families who have lost loved ones. It aches for those getting denied testing and care, for the medical teams who feel helpless and have to turn away yet another patient because there is simply nothing they can do without the adequate amount of medical supplies.
But my heart aches even more for those who do not have the hope in Jesus to get through what looks to be some very hard days, weeks and even months or years ahead of us! What will this do to our local small town businesses and how will this affect the world my kids are growing up in? What if I can’t get to my doctor at the end of April? What if my symptoms continue to get so bad that I cannot function throughout the day? What if my stents are closed all the way and doctors can’t open them back up? My husband has not been feeling well so what if he has this virus? What if my kids get it?? What about my other family members and friends? What if I get this COVID-19? What if…I die?
So much unknown right now but my hope in Jesus is the only thing that is able to push my “what if” fears to the back of my mind because He is the same as He was yesterday, today and tomorrow! He is faithful and calmed my “what ifs” by putting these words on my heart from my testimony I had shared a few years back…”No matter the outcome, my faith is in God and who He says that He is.”
The world is a scary place right now which has given me a passion to share my story and to especially encourage my kids in their walk with Jesus. When I get consumed with the number of deaths and the blunt press conferences urging people like myself to stay home and avoid life, I turn off the social media and focus on Jesus and my family. We pray together and my little Leah probably encourages me more than anyone as she randomly repeats words from the sermons we hear on Sunday such as “God has a plan and it might make us sad sometimes but He loves us!” Oh how I pray that everyone would have this assurance!!
Since my initial “what if” moment, I have had peace with this COVID-19 that has seemed to stop the world. I am going to deal with this just like I have dealt with the flu, the common cold season because a cold can turn in to pneumonia easily for me, or any other new sickness that arises…I will continue to take necessary precautions to limit my chances of getting sick. I avoid large crowds, I avoid any type of physical contact in public such as hand shaking and I am now trying to stay home as much as possible.
I am fully aware that I am in the 20% category the media keeps talking about. I know if I get this illness I could die but I am also not going to become so frightened that I stop living! I have already seen how God is drawing my family closer to each other but more important…how He is drawing us closer to Him!
With everything kind of at a standstill, we have had more sit down meals together this last week than we have had in a month! The kids have all gotten along and offered to do certain chores or help cook. All these little things we do throughout the day have been opportunities for us to pray together and have a lot of great conversations!
We have been playing games on the rainy days…
And enjoying the fresh air on sunny days!
We have had sweet friends encourage us with flowers….
And sweet friends make us laugh with toilet paper haha!
I let the kids give me a makeover…
Ohhh you noticed the messy attic in the background? Although it took all week, the kids did AMAZING at helping me organize!
I even let them keep their pet “Spots the ladybug” in their room…
Although I did panic one day when I thought I sucked it up with my vacuum! Haha!
We finished our week by watching church in our pajamas but what an amazing feeling it was knowing that my church family was at home too…focusing on Jesus and worshiping with me through social media!
As someone living with multiple chronic illnesses, I know we need to take this outbreak very serious. But we can’t make ourselves so anxiety filled that the emotional stress gets us sick too!! We need to apply that not only to this sickness but to any areas we have extreme stress over!
I am beyond grateful for so many of my friends who have reached out to see how I am doing, offering to help with anything I might need! With our world changing daily and with Tim working long hours seven days a week, I know the following weeks are going to be challenging but I am so thankful for a God who does not change. He is steadfast and sovereign, someone we can call out to day or night! He is the only thing stable in this unstable world! So I have pushed the fear and anxiety behind me and my family and I will continue to take it day by day with a lot of praying, laughter and love!!
We are in a very trying time so let’s use it as an opportunity! Our world is indeed changing and I have a feeling that this COVID-19 is just getting started in the United States, recently it has infected even more individuals in my area. Let’s make history not by the number of lives it took but by the way our communities…our world, came together as one in love, kindness, bravery and generosity! We can’t always control our circumstances but we can control how we respond to them.
“No matter the outcome, my faith is in God and who He says that He is”.