Positive

My first thought when I looked at the two lines showing on the Covid rapid antigen test was, “I am triple vaccinated! How did I get Covid?”

I had taken every precaution. Yes, I had gone to a grocery store, I had gone to church, but everyone was masked. No close contact. I sanitized, washed my hands, basically I had done everything right, short of locking myself in my house, and I was now sick with Covid. Government health officials in Alberta had said to expect that one in three people would get this new variant: Omicron. The sci-fi named variant now had me in its grip.

It had started with a sore throat, then a bad cough and sinus cold. When the symptoms included a migraine, some friends dropped off a rapid test to “rule out Covid-19”. It was negative. I was so relieved. “Just a bad cold,” I thought. Two days later, the symptoms, along with the constant cough, now included joint pain, fatigue, and a host of other unpleasantness that refused to abate. I phoned my daughter who suggested taking another antigen test.

It was positive.

Did I mention my husband was out of town? He was supervising a seismic project way up in northern Alberta, so I was alone. I was scared. I was sick. I was cold.

Oh, I forgot to also mention …the old boiler that had been heating our home for the past forty years died. The day after testing positive for Covid, I was dealing with having to line up plumbers, trying to figure out how to isolate and deal with people at the same time. I was overwhelmed. I coughed out a feeble “help me!” prayer to God.

In tears, I texted my oldest daughter, Laurelle. Within a half an hour, she had mobilized her two siblings into action. Masked up, my son, Brett came over immediately and lit a fire in the fireplace for me. While he was doing that, Laurelle had phoned a plumber and she was ready to meet him at the house, while I isolated upstairs in my room. The plumber managed to resuscitate the boiler, and perform a bandaid fix on it until we could replace it in the Spring. That evening, my youngest daughter, Carmen delivered two bags of groceries to my door. I was still sick, but I was warm, well-fed, and their acts of service in my time of need showed I was well loved. When they shared news of my testing positive for Covid on prayer chains, phone calls, and offers of help poured in from my church family. It overwhelmed me.

I am on day eleven since the symptoms started. I retested again yesterday and it’s still positive. So, I will stay isolated a little longer. The cough still lingers as well as the fatigue, but I can feel myself coming out of the fog.

My husband phones me two to three times daily, checking up on me. My kids do the same. I’ve binge-watched more Television series than I can count. I’ve spent time in the Word, and hours praying. Every day I hear another friend downed by Covid. Thankfully, most have managed to avoid being hospitalized. I am grateful I have managed to avoid hospitalization too. I credit being fully vaccinated for that.

It’s been a challenging start to 2022, but I’m POSITIVE it will get better!

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Love in Every Word

We are less than two weeks into the New Year and the news headlines are much the same as last year’s. A new Covid variant with a sci fi name “Omicron” is spreading like wildfire. Even the fully vaccinated, like me, can get it. Although the outcomes may be less severe, those with compromised immunity, like me, can still end up in hospital. So, I am under a self-imposed lock-down. Some may call it irrational, but I’m just being overly cautious.

You will have noticed that I have been silent the last few weeks (at least from a writing viewpoint). It seems that the January doldrums or “blues” have hit me especially hard again this year. I had prayed that 2022, would be a less stressful year. It started off with such positivity in many ways, but within days the “peace and goodwill” of the Christmas Season was transformed into mind-numbing grief over the passing of a loved one. My dearest stepmother-in-law, the only grandmother my children had known, and truly she was like a mother to me too, closed her ninety-four year old eyes and opened them in heaven on January 3rd. With covid restrictions we must wait with celebrating her life at this time. Instead, I look through family photo albums, and the memories cascade around me like my tears of grief. Etta will be profoundly missed by all who knew her.

The New Year’s “blahs” accentuated by grief, have taken their toll. I admit I feel anxious, perhaps even depressed; I know the signs. So, I put on the battle armour and immerse myself in Scripture. I turn off the bad news that blares through the television and focus on The Good News that comes from being in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

I was reminded today, as I have been reminded at the start of every New Year, that casting my cares once more upon the strong shoulders of my Saviour is a choice. It’s not easy to let go of my anxiety. At times I wear it like a security blanket. I become more comfortable in my stress than letting go of it. Grief is harder to let go of.

Etta, was a letter-writer. She wasn’t one who relied on texting or social media to communicate with loved ones like I tend to do now. I have saved some cards and letters she wrote to me. Pages and pages of newsy letters, and her heartfelt love for me and our family written in her own hand emblazoned on each page. There was love in every word! Reading them, I am thankful I had the benefit of her wisdom, her tender heart, and caring spirit. I am mindful that she is in the presence of God now. He is expounding on His Own Love Letter in Person to her and to all those who have eternity before them in His Kingdom. It gives me great comfort to think on that.

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My New Year’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

I have meditated upon Your Word this morning.  I have reflected on this past year, and the lessons You have taught me through the many highs and lows I’ve experienced this year.  In everything, I give You praise!

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” (Psalm 150:6)

I admit this past year I have squandered opportunities.  I have allowed discouragement and anxiety to overwhelm me while at the same time knowing that YOU were (are) always in control and I need not fear.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.   And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6-7)

I have prayed this year, laying my requests before You.  You have been faithful!  Still, there were times I was surprised by You.  I prayed, with mustard-seed faith, and was surprised when You answered back with mountainous blessings.  Forgive me for my lack of faith!

I BELIEVE, Lord!  Help me with my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)

I confess I became impatient many times, trying to do things on my own, in my own strength.  I would find myself running ahead of You, or lagging behind rather than allowing You to set the pace and then join You comfortably in the centre of Your Will.  Forgive me for trying to circumnavigate my way around You, having the audacity to think MY agenda was more important than Yours!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord.  “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”  (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Lord, as a New Year unfolds, keep me mindful of the things that are of utmost importance to You.  Rid me of any stubborn pride or vanity.  (John 3:30-35)  Teach me to better:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  (Luke 10:27)

I thank-You for the year ahead.  I thank-You for Your Son, for Your Word, for the gift of Salvation!  Thank-You for this incredible Journey I walk with You every single day.  May everything I do or say this year be to Your Glory! (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Amen!

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