Coronavirus… such a tiny, little, microscopic virus that has changed the course of life as we know it.
Hey, I’m Anna.
I work at Miracle Hill with our volunteer engagement department. I’ve been serving for almost four years now and it has been a journey. There are so many stories to tell of life change and rescue from terrible situations that I have witnessed. While I could speak of those life-changing stories for days, I’m actually going to tell you about mine now. It all goes back to when I was born… just kidding. I’m going to specifically talk about this past year that has been plagued by COVID-19.
I am not the best person to talk about how to handle a pandemic well. You’ll want to talk to someone else if that’s the story you’re looking for. My story is one of walking [what felt like] by myself in the wilderness for quite some time. Some of the season I entered was created and stirred by COVID and other aspects came to light as a result of COVID.
My Heart Exposed
My life pre-COVID was not one worth marveling at, but I was good at hiding. When you become good at hiding, especially from yourself and God, then deception can easily creep in. I see this in the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They deceived themselves thinking they could outrun God and make choices that were good apart from God. When they lied, they were living in a mentality that God didn’t already know what was going on in their hearts and with their actions. They fell into shame and hiding after they knew God was there and they had done wrong against Him.
Likewise, I was in patterns of shame and hiding. Without blowing up this blog post as if it were my private journal, I’ll just say that I was in a romantic relationship and grasping at straws to make it work. In many ways I had departed from the Lord and His calling on my life. I lost vision for what it meant to walk in His will for my life and chose to satisfy myself by staying in a relationship.
Amid a difficult season, gasoline was poured on the fire, and I encountered one of the hardest things for me, which was isolation. Social distancing, lock downs and quarantining were all new to me and new to my body. The four corners of my house and the very limited number of people I could interact with daily were wearing me down, slowly. In moments of hurt and anger towards my then-partner, I was lashing out and handling hurt by outwardly protecting and barricading so I could not be hurt repeatedly. On top of that, I so badly wanted to connect with friends and family, and I was stuck in my house. I began to text friends, but I would not hear back from some of them for a couple of days. Insecurities about whether I was loveable and worthy welled up inside and were further fueled by the lack of support I felt. Maybe I was supported then, but it didn’t feel like it. So, I drew the curtains shut into my life and stopped reaching out. If others wouldn’t reach out to me, I wasn’t going to initiate. I was tired.
A Wake Up Call
The wake up call for me was the moment when I woke up at 4 pm on a Saturday.
There was a moment of clarity of understanding that something wasn’t right in my life. There were many ‘somethings’ that weren’t right. Number one was getting right with God. In changing my ways, I didn’t have an all-of-a-sudden transformation into getting back into spiritual disciplines, but I can see how God pursued me this whole time, gently. He left the ninety-nine to bring me back to Himself.
God woke me from the sleep I was in—both in relationships and within myself—because of His mercy. A bucket of cold water dumped on my head is not a sweet wake up call, but in His mercy, God didn’t want to leave me where I took myself. I took myself to isolation and hiding. He said to come out and into light.
It started for me by admitting I couldn’t cope well and seeing a therapist, again. I didn’t want to start again, but I said yes to my rational self that knew it would be helpful and inspire growth. Another step was ending the relationship with a man I loved so fiercely. So much of my flesh said to stay, but the Spirit said to go. It was and sometimes is a really sobering thought because we were nearing marriage. In all of this, I think, God in His goodness wanted something better for both of us. And so, it was.
In all of this, there was no magical opening from the clouds. There was no one word answer to the hurt of loneliness that gripped my heart. But God, in His faithfulness, drew me out of a dark night of the soul. As I uncover the rubble that was COVID-19 for me, I find that I was able to grow. Under the pressure of so much uncertainty and change I forged new thought patterns. I realized that in the vulnerability of admitting my weakness and need—both for God and for friendships—I could be strong. We were not meant to live six feet apart from people, gather in groups of three or less, and just see each other on Zoom. Some of that was COVID’s fault and other parts were my own fault. I took the stay-at-home orders and social distancing time to retreat into myself, when really, I am called to come out of myself and into what God has for me and who He has for me on earth.
Though my ability to remain selfless and steadfast waivers daily, God’s faithfulness never waivers. It never ended for me while I was alone and scared during COVID. It is alive and well for you as well, regardless of anything you’ve said and done or thought. I’ll leave you with the lyrics from my favorite song by Elevation Worship:
Your Promise still stands great is your faithfulness, faithfulness
I’m still in your hands
This is my confidence; you’ve never failed me yet.
I’ve seen you move, you move the mountains
And I believe I’ll see you do it again.
You made a way when there was no way.
And I believe, I’ll see you do it again.
Stay strong, my friends. You are in my heart if you are going through something right now. Lean on Him and He will strengthen you.
Post submitted by Anna Baumgartner. Anna can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.