Oh man, COVID is such a struggle and I'm still not over it and neither is the rest of the world.
I never dreamed that we would get COVID and neither did our housemates. We were all fully vaccinated and wearing masks majority of the time except in our personal shared space, where we shared a common kitchen and living room.
I was very upset about how everything played out and how disorganized everything was. But mostly, I was upset about how COVID took me by surprise and disrupted MY plans! Honestly, I don't blame Mercy Ships or any of the staff there because if it took me by surprise, then it certainly took them by surprise. I felt lulled by a false sense of security of being fully vaccinated and maybe now I'll be hypervigilant after my 30 days of immunity. And the staff probably felt lulled as well.
I don't want to focus on any of the details surrounding COVID and what happened because frankly I'm just sick of talking about COVID after having worked as a nurse both casual in the hospital and in a position in homecare over the past 18 months.
What I do want to focus on, is what God was teaching me during that time and is still teaching me and some things that I hoped that I learned.
I felt very lost in the American Healthcare system and I can imagine that is what my fellow Canadians and millions of Americans feel everyday. I'm a pretty persistent and demanding person, but honestly I was so defeated that I couldn't even advocate for myself anymore and I had to let other beautiful souls do that for me. It was such a humbling experience. I usually work with senior citizens and always think to myself, "please don't let me get to this point of needing help from someone," because I highly value my independence. On the other hand, I love helping other people and advocating for them so when I had to let others bless me, it probably made them feel good to be able to help. Majority of the volunteers and staff at Mercy Ships love helping others so it just natural for them to try and help us through our helplessness but we still greatly appreciated it. They are beautiful souls to who I am forever grateful!
This dependent state, helped me understand my identity in Christ a little more because I was stripped of all of my other identities and isolation is such a horrible thing to experience. In our complete dependence on Christ, we had to keep praying and trusting God's timing that the boys wouldn't have a positive test so that we could have a date set to fly out of Texas. It was not fun being so dependent and praying everyday that they would either have a positive test immediately or stay negative.
I have really enjoyed learning this new song over this past year. I would love for you to read the words or listen to it on YouTube: Take Courage with Words and Music by Kristene DiMarco, Jeremy Riddle and Joel Taylor
Slow down, take time, breathe in; He said
He'd reveal what's to come.
The thoughts in His mind, always higher than mine, and He'll reveal all to come.
Take courage, my heart; stay steadfast -my soul.
He's in the waiting, He's in the waiting.
Hold onto your hope as your triumph unfold.
He's never failing, He's never failing.
Sing praise, my soul, find strength in joy, let His words-lead you on.
Do not forgot His great faithfulness;
He'll finish all He's begun.
You who hold the stars, who call them each by name, will surely keep Your promise to me and I will rise in Your victory.
The words of this song really spoke to my heart about how much trust do we put towards placing our plans and our situations in our loving Father's hands? The one who looks after the universe and yet cares so deeply about every detail of MY existence.
It seemed like everything happened all at once, Ryan and I were sick with COVID and the conditional sale of our home fell through at the same time. It still is not sold so please keep praying for that request!
Friends were suggesting to us that these events were likely an attack from the enemy trying to stop us because God has great plans for us. I'm not totally convinced of that yet, but we will see what the future holds.
And others suggested that we use this time of isolation to slow down, be quiet and still and draw closer to God, and to be in His presence and to see what he has to teach us.
I initially felt this isolation was like a "Time-Out" punishment and that feeling of not being "spiritual" enough was not from God. Not that God didn't want to spend time with me but rather that He made use of that time regardless of what the enemy had done to prevent us from leaving Texas at that moment in time.
I still firmly believe that God never wastes time!
It was a good opportunity to read through the book: Making Peace with Change which was the perfect timing to read this book. It perfectly addressed our situation. It had so many good things to say which I didn't like because it meant mourning some losses and throughout the whole period of COVID, I just kept looking forward to this Mercy Ships journey instead of slowing down and grieving the losses that we had incurred because of COVID. Over the previous 18 months, I had cried a handful of times like when my kids missed out on sports and major events like school and Christmas with family were cancelled.
I didn't want to stay in that mourning posture for too long for fear that I would never stop sobbing.
However, during those days of isolation, I think we all had almost 10 days of daily crying, except for on Zachary's birthday.
I'm still having difficulty processing what happened. Have I mentioned that I don't like to be taken by surprise? I like everything planned out but I was mentally unable to plan anything during those 14 days. I felt totally out of control. My initial plan was to be by myself for at least 10 days while the boys travelled to the ship without me. Thankfully that didn't end up happening. But during those 10 days, I had great plans of taking advantage of the alone time to get a lot of financial coach business work done but instead I got ZERO work done. All I could do was sit, read, pray, cry and constantly plan via email for when we could leave. Oh! and also the daily COVID swabbing for the boys.
Someone said to Ryan, "I'm surprised that you didn't just turn around and go home at that point." I definitely considered it but even that was impossible to do with COVID. I kept reminiscing about how "easy" our life was at home, but I also recalled how restless I was with our easy life too. Thinking to myself that if this journey to Mercy Ships gets cancelled, I don't know if I can continue living this easy life, because my heart just isn't here anymore.
I still keep wanting to push forward and keep going because God placed this desire in my heart of wanting to join the Mercy Ships community for the past 20 years. And every time someone says, "Wow! You've had a really difficult past year to get here" and I stop and realize that it IS OK to stop and acknowledge the tough parts of life and grieve and process those moments. It's been a good emotional and spiritually growing experience for me and we haven't even gotten to Africa yet! And yet I know that God is preparing us for what is to come. And I know that God is changing my heart to understand the pain of others more and more too.
Please continue to pray for us as we go through this journey especially when times are tough.
Now go and be Intentional!