The last 10 days of November … WOW!
My wife, Kara, tested positive for Covid and found out about another health concern in about 30 hours. Nothing dire, but nonetheless there were challenges.
People reached out quickly.
One of the first texts I got from a Locker Room leader resonated:
“My encouragement to you is to let God have it…all if it… I mean EVERYTHING. Then tend only to the things that He puts back on your plate… the kids’ hearts, encouraging Kara… your quiet times with the Lord wherever you can carve that out… If God puts it back in front of you, then steward and care for it well. If not, don’t think about it… it will be there when you guys get through all of this.”
I knew those words were true in the moment. But those truths only grow by the day. Here are 4 things I learned while quarantining for 14 days (Ouch!)
- Take care of what’s right in front of me.
I’m one person and there is plenty I can’t handle or seize control of. I knew Kara needed me and so did my children (maybe I needed them). How do I love them well? How do they become even more so my number one priority and ministry? Sometimes that meant pausing to watch Survivor. Being more intentional with meal time.
When I did have a chance to talk to people through that time, our hearts connected quickly. We go to what’s important, we don’t talk about the frivolous. As I tried to be focused at home and love, I was met there by others.
- I grew in seeing what God expects and wants from me, and what I can expect of Him.
I felt I was about 2/3 of capacity, but there was much grace in that. I tried to live hour by hour with what my friend said. Only take back what He puts on my plate.
I tasted His sovereignty and goodness. He’s truly so big and I’m small. Yet we get to co-labor and He truly calls my friend. I love Him more because of this season, not in spite of it.
- Steward and care for things well.
I experienced that from people and I think I’ve lived it pretty well. Another friend emailed and said: “I see strength in her and in you. It’s in these times that everything you both have done to move closer to Jesus and the community will bear fruit.” That played out.
I bet personally over 100 people minimum reached out to me. I have not idea how many sought out Kara. Meals were brought, flowers, words from the Lord (which mean a ton), much prayer. She was on a prayer list that reaches 4000 people and keep in mind we only reached out to several circles. Many did the work from there. I told Kara it would me amazing I bet to see what cities/states had people praying. Keep in mind this is not a viral kid story that captures people or some national tragedy. But people still responded in huge ways. As we have tried to steward and care well, we encountered the same multiplied.
- Carve out Jesus time whenever you and I can.
I felt on the clock around the clock. That’s tiring and yet beautiful. I saw the challenges that pastors speak of at wedding ceremonies. But it’s where strength and endurance come in.
I was spent and needed rest many times and faced discouragement some. Music which usually speaks to me didn’t do much. Prayer was a challenge and at best hit and miss. I did do a bit of reading and studying. The valuable pivot though was letting great men of God and the Word speak to me.
I drank deep from a well of sermons. Things hit me square. In the face. In the heart. In the soul! We’ve all experienced it, but most every message – no matter the speaker or actual date – was preached for me. God met me and allowed His grace, rest and power pour in.
This is plenty, you aren’t screaming for more but I know I could go on. God was good, even when I wasn’t. When I was on, He was even better.
As the popular Bethel worship song says so well:
“You have led me through the fire
And in darkest night You are close like no other
I’ve known You as a Father
I’ve known You as a Friend
And I have lived in the goodness of God, yeah!”