Hi Friends! First off, I hope this finds you and your loved ones healthy in mind and body during these most challenging and unique days we’ve been walking through. They have been filled with pain and struggle for so many; for too many. If the coronavirus has taken someone or something dear to your heart, I am deeply sorry. My heart has hurt knowing some of the massive losses of my family and friends over the past few months.
Weeks before we were sheltered in place, I stopped watching the news because reports of this worldwide pandemic heading to my “backyard” was breathing an anxious spirit within me. While we know that God remains in complete control of our world, our lives, and this virus, I’m not sure that we as a whole have ever felt so out of control. Nonetheless, I’d like to suggest something that you and I do remain in control of. Our perspective.
During these set-apart days, I have faced one physical assault after another. Just as one would subside, another would flare up. Currently, I have been battling numbness from my mid-spine down to my feet, after an injury 8 weeks ago. It has been nasty to experience and challenging to navigate. On top of it though, I’ve had another neurological flare up, including a reoccurrence of the seizure-like “episodes” I was fighting through last year; had two last night alone. They are awful, but extensive testing last year came up with only empty answers.
Towards the beginning of the quarantine, the Lord gave me a dream. In it I was standing next to a mountain of rock. I started to run behind it in an attempt to get around it, but I quickly became fearful and wanted to turn around. It then became oppressive back there in all the jungle-like thicket, but I said, “No, I need to press on. This will be for God’s glory.” So, I persevered and kept running forward, eventually curving to the left to round this massive, unmovable rock. As I made my way around to the front there were THOUSANDS of people in stadium seating cheering and praising God.
This difficult chapter in my story has been filled with the Presence of God. The day after the numbness started in my body, I felt He had revealed to me that it was “temporary”. Nonetheless, there have been many dark, discouraging and scary moments along the way. Giving in hasn’t been an option for me, though. It never has been. So, I keep persevering because I believe the Word the Lord spoke to me, that this is temporary and there is another side where He will receive glory.
I don’t know what your circumstances are right now, but I’m certain that they too are challenging; maybe to the point of taking your all just to breathe. PERSEVERE. There will be another side to your situation and this pandemic, and we will one day look back on this crazy season. In the meantime, though, I want to caution you and myself not to miss the good and the value of TODAY.
A dear friend of mine is battling stage 4 colon cancer that metastasized to her lungs. A while back, she was sharing with me how she and her husband had stayed up until 11 at night painting the porch because their weather was to drop like 30 degrees in the next 24 hours. She was so thankful that she finally felt well enough to be able to do that. While reading her text, I couldn’t help but think of how quickly “chores” become “privileges” when our ability is taken away from us.
That is much like our situation now. The stressful and challenging things, or even the mundane, of our pre-coronavirus lives caused many of us to complain and wish things were different. Now, it seems we long for the way things used to be! I think now more than ever, we can agree that life is a privilege that we get to live. Ever since hearing my friend share how she was thankful for the health and strength to paint her porch, I have tried to look at life differently and change my thinking from “I have to _________” to “I get to _________”.
As my pastor recently shared, “We’re not all in the same boat, but we’re all in the same storm”. In this storm, I don’t know what you are up against and anxious to get to “the other side of”, where the grass is greener, but here is what I want to suggest… The grass is green enough where we are today. I am not minimizing your struggle or mine (and if you are in an abusive situation, I am not speaking to you here), but we need to learn to make peace with today’s reality, allowing God to reign and our faith to grow, because our lives are made up of “todays”. Unless we overcome our circumstances and attitudes, they will overcome us.
The alternative to living in the hard of today is wishing our life away; and life is already flying by! Besides, tomorrow will have its own challenges. I honestly don’t want to miss what God has for me right where I am, in the midst of numbness and “episodes”. I leave you with the words written on a sign hanging in my studio… “Today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.”