It has been nearly six months since life as normal was disrupted by a virus we all know too well as COVID-19. Like most of you I expected this little virus to be over quickly and life would bounce right back into the happy rhythm it had prior to its arrival. Much to my surprise it did not. So, I settled in to the possibility I would need to hunker down a little while longer. A little while longer has now turned in to months past my tolerance level.
It all began third week of March when it was suddenly announced that the church doors would no longer be open and I would have to enjoy a church service on my digital device. I could no longer leisurely go shopping at any store of my choosing, I could not meet a friend for coffee or enjoy my Saturday lunch with my husband at a restaurant we liked. I was not sick but to keep me from getting sick I had to stay away from people.
By the time May had rolled around I found myself becoming frustrated and angry at what was stolen from me. As the days rolled by, like a slow boil, anxiety, loneliness and mild depression began to creep in. The life I was so familiar with was now a stranger. I became a captive of COVID-19!
I am an extrovert and I have a type A personality. I like being social. I enjoy the interaction and conversation with others because it fuels me. Now my sphere of people was reduced to my husband and an occasional visit with our oldest son. I was still able to tend to my two clients homes and at my every Wednesday house when I would clean my friend Cheryl’s house she would be there and we could chat. It was another human I could interact with. It was like a salve for my soul.
Now, it is the last day of August and September will arrive with no significant changes in all the virus restrictions. But there has been a change in the last four to six weeks in me. This extrovert has morphed into a place of comfort and peace that I was not experiencing before. Instead of bemoaning my captivity I began to cooperate with the isolation and spend much more time with the Lord as well as I completed the draft of my first book which a friend is editing now.
It was not as if I determined that would be my goal it just evolved. As I sat in my personal study/prayer room I enjoyed loving on the Lord and He loving on me. I listened to awesome worship music and songs, paid attention to what God was saying during my time with him and slowly I felt my soul being refreshed. My intense loneliness has subsided and I am experiencing a new rhythm of His grace.
This past Saturday I went to a simulcast women’s conference. There was one unique comment that I heard and have thought about since and it is this: Be good stewards of your adversity! I was not a good steward of my adversity until a few weeks ago. But somehow by the grace of the Holy Spirit it began to happen because I began to find light in the midst of what was dark.
In Jeremiah 29 the Lord gave a word to Jeremiah to the exiled Jews. They were going to be going into captivity in Babylon for seventy years. I am sure they were not excited about it. However, the promise to them was blessing in captivity. “For this is what the Lord says: “When seventy years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm my promise concerning you to restore you in this place. For I know the plans I have for you”- this is the Lord’s declaration-“plans for you well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. I will be found by you”- this is the Lord’s declaration-“and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you” – this is the Lord’s declaration. “I will restore you in the place from which I deported you.” Jeremiah 29:10-14.
It is never easy to initially find blessing in the midst of captivity. It has surely not been so for me. I have felt so much like a prisoner in my own homeland. Slowly, as these months have passed I began to cooperate instead of struggle so much. I cannot say I knew how to steward my adversity when all this pandemic imposed itself upon us but I have now found myself feeling liberated even in this man-made captivity. I desire to take what I have learned in the last six months into the days ahead because without a doubt there will be lots of opportunities to steward adversity. It is a part of life. I along with all of you are praying this temporary confinement will begin to release its grasp upon us all and we can celebrate the freedom we all long for.
Living by the brook,