The way I’d like to describe how 2021 started was similar to the feeling of an old type writer handle, that you have to push aside to get to the next line. It was a little bit of a “meh” feeling. I did try to pump myself up and dive deep into optimism and, and, and – but I honestly got quite lost in the instant busy-ness of the year – literally as the gun went off I was out of the blocks on the go.
I thought I was going to run hard – do it all, make it “the best year ever”. I mean why not? We’ve started renovating our house – its going to be the way I’ve wanted it for years. The kids are in an amazing place and have the capacity to do all of the things – but, whenever I sat down with my heart and my thoughts to seek out “my word for the year” – all I could hear the Lord gently whispering in my ear was,
“turn around, face the corner – drown out the noise and focus. Focus on me.”
My knee jerk response was (with a pouty lip) – “Nobody puts baby in a corner!” stomping my foot and feeling like a toddler being put into time out. I honestly didn’t quite get it. That’s until my hubby got diagnosed with Covid just after the second week of Jan hit.
It’s taken me a while to pull myself together to find the words to put down as the “caregiver” of a Covid patient. What I mean is, we’ve heard a lot about death, a lot about people surviving and their stories – but I felt I needed to share what actually goes on in the heart, body and mind of the family of the loved one that is fighting alongside someone battling this ugly virus.
There is no describing the fear, the anxiety and the anger that rose up within me. I could literally feel it grab me by the throat and stare me down saying things like, “it looks like you’re going to be a single parent now” and “what are you going to do without him? You’re going to have to explain death to your children” “you’re not strong enough, this is going to break you”
I’m going to be quite frank and honest – because all too often there’s a mask that we can so easily put on that says, “I’m fine, I’ve got this! Too blessed yo” whereas on the inside, I’m literally clawing at the chokehold that has me, the caregiver, gasping for air.
I have never suffered from anxiety before. I’ve always rested in the fact and knowledge that the Lord has me and all of His plans are plotted out for me. But this time – there was something different that tried to grab hold of my hope and pull me down.
Those of you that know me, I clicked immediately into high alert and just made the decision that I was going to do everything within my physical being to keep Tim from drowning. Please understand that I am describing my ‘humanity’ here and what my mind was dealing with – I will explain what happened spiritually soon.
I took every note in the book down, from those that survived, those that were fighting and those that lost the battle. I compiled a strategy in my own way to check on Tim every 2 hours and make sure that I logged every symptom, every medication, every response that he was having and how I could help or make it easier for him. All the while remaining pleasant, loving and caring for our wonderful children and trying to protect them from the fear.
I am going to note various events where I noticed the merciful hand of the lord through out the journey. The first one was that because we were starting renovations we couldn’t live in our house and had organized for us to stay at my mom’s house while this was happening. My mother in law, too – had to move out and went to be with my brother in law – this window fell just in time before Tim started showing symptoms. She was protected and safe.
The next one, we had made the call for Tim to stay on the property to be close to a friend who had just received some hard news and needed support that weekend. This meant that I moved out with the kids while Tim stayed in his music studio – we set up a bed for him in there only expecting him to stay there for a few days.
After this all being in place – we came to realize that his isolation had already been set up miraculously away from us. We’d moved on the Friday and he only started showing symptoms on the Monday – we then confirmed that it was COVID after a test on the Thursday.
To be honest – up to this point, we thought it was ok. But the moment we found out he was positive and his symptoms started to become increasingly serious – I did what I mentioned earlier, I kicked into high “caregiver” mode.
For those of you that don’t know, we had recently lost a dear friend just a month prior and so my high alert was on even higher alert than it normally would be in my hubby was ill. This virus is so unpredictable and I honestly felt afraid of being blind sided by anything unknown.
And so, because I couldn’t join Tim in the “isolation” studio space I made the call to grab an air bed and camp in our car in our drive way and do what I did with the kids when they all had chicken pox – I resolved to not sleep for 2 weeks and that was that. That’s exactly what I did.
I had my gloves, sanitizer and mask all set up at the studio door and my alarm set for every two hours to check on him through the night. This was my part in the battle and I was not going to let anything go down without a fight from my end.
But, this is where I came to quickly realize that no matter what I did or planned for myself – nothing, and I mean NOTHING prepares you for the emotional and spiritual battle that has to be faced. To be honest I would normally just isolate and deal with something like this on my own and rather wait for Tim’s call on whether we should tell anyone about it or whatever (he’s private like that, so am I when I think about it) – but there was something different this time.
I could feel that support was needed – not just physical support but spiritual.
Now, there’s probably a scientific explanation for all of this but I knew for a fact that evil is working through this thing. The reason being – you know when you’ve been in your house for the whole day and the sun is shining and you know that there’s nothing wrong and everything feels safe, but the moment the lights go out and everything goes quite and dark – there’s a caution that happens in your heart and mind, right? Especially when it’s a new place and you’re all alone. But it only happens at night – in the shadows.
It was that very feeling that came over at night. All of Tim’s symptoms were manageable during the day – but the moment night hit, chaos starts to break loose. Physically for him, but mentally and spiritually there’s a fear that rises in the dark. This, my dear friends is when I realized why the Lord had said what He had said to me earlier in the year: “turn around, face the corner – drown out the noise and focus. Focus on me”
It was here that I realized – without a shadow of a doubt – that this wasn’t just physical. I had to warfare for His life in the spirit. I messaged all of the people I knew would rise in warfare with me against this “plague”.
Don’t for one minute think that this came naturally to me – I honestly just wanted to run away and cover my eyes and ears and let whatever needed to happen, happen. But I could feel the Lord saying, now wasn’t that time.
I had to suck it up – start getting specific about what I was praying for and asking people to pray for. I am extremely grateful for those that the Lord has placed around us and who we can rally in any moment of need or victory.
The only other way I can describe what this felt like was like when the Isrealites in the bible were told to anoint their door posts to show death not to visit their home during the night. I kept asking the Lord what I needed to do – there were different things that I felt I needed to do as well as some friends that were led to do things as well.
These actions I felt were a way of my declaring the promises of the Lord. Things that He has written in His word that I needed to not only highlight to the enemy but also remind the Lord of His promises and bringing them down to our earthly situation.
I can, in all honesty, say that my heart kept wrestling with the question – “what makes our situation more special than those that have lost loved ones and love Jesus just as much?” I bet it’s the question that so many ask – because even while Tim was fighting and we were warfaring for him, my uncle tragically passed away fighting the very same virus.
I can’t even prescribe that what was done for him was any more or any less. The same goes for Tim’s best friend, Stet – why did they lose their flesh battle yet they were surrounded by just as much prayer and warfare?
This is where it got really hard. Tim got to a point during this week of isolation that we had to confirm our Last Will documents, he started making sure that I knew what everything meant financially and the decisions I would need to make should he pass away. This broke me.
I literally cried ugly tears while he is trying to get his last wishes noted and across. It was an extremely vulnerable moment between the two of us because he was coming to terms with the fact that at any moment, this could be the end of his earthly journey – while I was grappling through emotions, fatigue and spiritual heaviness listening to him talk about leaving – not only me but the kids as well.
It was here that I sucked it up – did the right thing and got the affairs in order. But I decided to change my language – I started making plans for him just for the next week. Like a hair cut, a shower, deciding on what to wear the next day.
It was the hardest thing to do – I felt numb inside. I cut myself off from the emotions and went reverse psycho. This is where I saw that it was a mental battle for Tim and I needed to help him change focus.
I brought the kids to the house for him to see them – This was for their well-being as well – because they were also thinking the very worst.
I think I’ll spare you more of the details as to what happened. But as the person taking care of him – I struggled with the fact that I couldn’t hold him and comfort him while he struggled to breathe. I struggled with anxiety as I took his oximeter readings and the numbers rose and dropped. I struggled everytime my alarm went off and he hadn’t sent a thumbs up to say he was ok – I then went in, all covered up hoping to not find him struggling. These are all of my real human feelings.
I struggled to even sleep because I thought my heart would race out of my chest. I came to realize that I had never experienced anxiety until these moments. It is the scariest thing. But, every time my head or my heart tried to run wild, I could hear this still small voice saying, “turn around, face the corner – drown out the noise and focus. Focus on me”
For those of you that know the part of the Bible where the disciples are in the boat and going across the Galilean sea when a storm comes and they are literally thinking they’re about to die – they go down to where Jesus is sleeping, in the boat and wake Him up to ask Him to save them. He does His thing and calms the storm and says, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” – This is exactly what the Lord kept reminding me.
He said to me, “Even if “the worst” happens – who is in your boat?”
This was where I had to look every time the fear rose up, every time the anxiety tried to choke me. He is not caught off guard, He is not surprised, He was teaching me where to put my focus, where to tune my ears and what to focus on.
To be honest, with the way that the world is going – this was a very clear way for Him to get my attention and realize what is truly important in this season. We are no longer playing games with the “end times” on the far horizon – it is now starting to bang at the door. I don’t know about you, but as much as the world is screaming loud with all of its voices and extravagant messages of “hope” and promises – there is only one Truth, and there is only one Way and there is only one Life worth pursuing and that’s solely ‘sniper’ focused on who Jesus is and what God is preparing us for.
I – now – have my face turned into the corner and I’m doing what I’m told and learning to be more and more obedient – there is no safer place to be.