Covid-19 Reality

I woke up this morning with the sun shining into my eyes from our overhead skylight.  I got up to look out our bedroom window and took special note of not taking for granted the preciousness of routine.  There was new fallen snow on the ground and I could hear the neighbour’s dog, barking at their patio door, insisting to come in after his morning ablutions.  A squawking magpie was mocking the dog from the safety of its perch on the wooden play structure my husband built for the kids when they were young.  Looking to the west, I beheld the mountains turning a familiar hue of pink, as the sun rose steadily on its natural course.  I smiled and yawned contently, enjoying the sights and sounds of the morning and then I remembered.  As familiar as this scene was to me, it was a reminder of normalcy in the middle of chaos.  Looking out my window, no one would ever suspect that anything was amiss.  Yet, I was into my second week of self-isolation, strictly adhering to the guidelines set out by government authorities to ensure my compromised immune system would not be attacked by the Covid-19 virus.  By the muffled sounds of the T.V. coming from downstairs, I already knew my husband was already up and checking the stock markets, and listening to the ongoing news updates.  I wanted to go back to bed and reboot the day, to erase the viral pandemic from my mind and just enjoy the morning.

But that’s not our reality right now.

It seems like forever since I hugged on my kids and grandbabies.  I miss the feel of little hands holding mine as they lead me to my cupboard and ask for “Grandma Treats”.  I miss sloppy kisses, and soft sighs as they curl up on my lap so I can read a storybook to them.  I miss the closeness and laughter of my adult children, conversing with one another, or teasing each other all in the same breath.  They post pictures and videos of their days so I can keep up with their activities, but it’s not the same as my being there in person and joining them in play.

Last week I wrote a “song” full of satire, making fun of this new normal.

The Covid-19 Song (My apologies to the Rolling Stones) by Lynn Dove

I can’t get no social interaction,
I can’t get that since Covid-19.
I can’t get no social interaction,
The government says it ain’t safe for me.

Gotta wash my hands over twenty seconds,
Can’t touch my nose, mouth or face.
Gotta cough into my elbow,
Can’t spread germs all over the place.

I can’t get no social interaction,
Gotta social distance since Covid-19.
Can’t shop at Walmart or eat out no more,
Gotta stock up on hand soap and hoard my T.P.

I can’t get no social interaction,
Borders are closed and airplanes won’t fly.
I can’t get no social interaction,
Don’t know how I’m gonna get by.

I can’t get no social interaction,
I can’t get that since Covid-19.
I can’t get no social interaction,
The government says it ain’t safe for me.

That was last week and I laughed at the silliness of people cleaning out grocery stores of toilet paper, but I’m not laughing this week.  When our Prime Minister spoke to our nation on Monday and said, “Enough is enough!” and angrily told all Canadians to “go home and stay home”, I knew Covid-19 was no longer a laughing matter.

Last week my daughter, Carmen was laid off from her job at a local cosmetic boutique that was forced to close its doors until this pandemic is done.  She worries about how she can pay her rent, feed her dog, pay bills.  She is worried about whether or not her wedding planned for July will need to be postponed.  My heart breaks.

My daughter, Laurelle and daughter-in-law, Chandler who both run dayhomes, have had to make tough decisions whether to open or close their homes to the kids they look after.  My son-in-law has seen the company he works for lay off their employees.  He has so far been spared. Teacher friends of mine are working from home, teaching online classes AND caring for their own children.  I know several in the medical profession who are on the front lines of fighting this virus, and the exhaustion, and worry is taking a huge physical toll on these courageous workers.  It is the least I can do to stay home, self-isolate, so I do not add to their workload by getting or contributing to the spread of this horrible virus.

In the midst of this I lean on God.  I know He understands my anxieties, and He listens to my tear-drenched prayers.  His mercies ARE NEW every morning!

Last night we met with our small group from our church in a video conferencing chat.  There are a lot of negatives associated with technology, but last night I was so thankful to see my friends and spend time with them in prayer.  Our Pastor has organized a community-wide prayer meeting by video conferencing.  He and his staff, have had a powerful online ministry since all churches were told not to meet in-house anymore until the pandemic is over.  I listen to the online Sunday services and their short Facebook devotions they post everyday and feel so encouraged!

I had a phone conversation with Carmen, and pondered out loud to her whether this pandemic was God using it to “reboot the world”.  I had seen some videos of swans and dolphins in the canals in Venice for the first time in years, now that the waterways were devoid of boat traffic.  The air quality around the world was improving as a result of fewer people on the streets and roadways.  I also recounted the numerous acts of kindness we were now seeing.  Neighbours helping neighbours.  Even physical distancing ourselves was not detouring people from delivering groceries to doors, or photographers offering “porch portraits” to families who were self-isolating.  Children colouring pictures and posting them in the windows to cheer people as they drove or walked by.  People posting words of affirmation and encouraging scripture online to combat the negativity that is prevalent with this world crisis.

This scripture has impacted me this week like never before:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 The Message (MSG)

“Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.”

I have often wondered this week whether or not I would be glad for this season of trial.  First with my latest battle with cancer, and now the challenges facing us all with the Covid-19 pandemic.  I know if I focus on the circumstances I will become disheartened, but I can already see Christ move in my weakness, fill me with good cheer, and embue me with strength I never knew I had.

How about you?







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A Call to Prayer

Yesterday our Premier in Alberta announced that because of the Covid-19 outbreak all schools are closed and classes cancelled for all students in the Province for the remainder of the school year. All daycares are closed. It is an aggressive measure to “flattening the curve” in the spread of this virus. Our federal government announced today that international flights are cancelled and foreign travellers are banned from entering Canada. Canadians living or vacationing abroad are to come home ASAP. Libraries, arenas, recreation centres, museums and more community spaces and businesses are closed. All churches are not to have in-house services. Our church has been proactive for awhile with a live stream of our Worship Services on YouTube, so my husband and I tuned in online on Sunday morning. This was not a new experience for me because for all intents and purposes I have self-isolated myself all through my months of cancer treatments because of my compromised immunity. I know what it’s like to socially distance myself to keep myself healthy. I understood the need then, but I was sooooo excited to be around people again after my treatments that this new forced confinement is very disappointing.

It is a pandemic. I have never seen this kind of world-wide response in my lifetime. Unfortunately, even with the progressive and overly cautious approach in trying to stop the spread of this virus, more and more people are being diagnosed with the disease each day. The most vulnerable, the elderly, those with pre-existing health conditions, and others, like me, with compromised immune systems, must be safe-guarded. I also think of the economic implications for all of those people who have been laid off, or hours cut substantially because their workplaces have been shut down. Social distancing means that people don’t go out to restaurants, attend plays, go to movies, shop in malls etc. Parents are forced now to find childcare, or keep little ones occupied within the confines of their homes. My adult children have all been directly affected with layoffs because of business closures, schools being closed and hours of work cut. Mortgages and rent still need to be paid, bills paid, and their futures are uncertain. My mother’s heart breaks for them. My husband and I see our retirement savings investments dwindle away with the stock market plunging to new lows. It is hard to not feel anxious so I have clung to this scripture: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5: 6-7 NASB)

It is timely that my Pastor has been preaching a sermon series on Prayer. Another scripture comes to mind with regards to this current world situation: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV).

This is a call to prayer!

I ask my world-wide readership to join me today and through the following weeks and months ahead to pray in the following way:

1. Praise God for His Sovereignty! God is in control! Do not doubt His ability to provide for your needs. He is faithful. He will never leave you or forsake you! Ask according to His Will and He will listen from Heaven and answer your prayers. Pray God will stop this Covid-19 virus. He is able!

2. Pray for all world, country, provincial, municipal, and civic leaders. They have an unprecedented task to make decisions on our behalf to stem the tide of this health pandemic. I don’t envy their task!

3. Pray for all those frontline workers in healthcare, (doctors, nurses, technicians etc.), who are ministering to so many at this time. Pray for them and for their families to be protected from catching this virus, or any contagion that might prevent them from doing their work. I praise God for each and every one of them! Along with praying for them, I want to THANK them for their service!

4. Pray for the most vulnerable. Pray for all seniors, those with immune-compromised systems, those with previous health concerns, those who have mental health issues, those who are homeless, etc. Pray they will be protected from the Covid-19 virus. I can’t help but think of all those undergoing chemo and radiation treatments right now. I know from experience how challenging it is to face cancer on its own, but add to that a concern of getting a deadly virus, my heartfelt prayers continue for all who are battling, or have battled cancer.

5. Pray for parents. With economic stresses at an all time high, now add the need to seek alternative childcare or to stay home with school-aged children and not work. There are no places open in our community right now to take children to work off energy, nor can they play outside as it’s still too cold. My daughter has reached out to families she knows that she is available to help with homeschooling questions they might have. She has expertise in online schooling as well as running a day home. I pray for her and the countless others who want to assist parents at this time.

6. Pray for all those affected with job layoffs, work and business closures etc. I pray for the global economy and those who have been affected by a falling stock market etc. Pray God will provide for financial and daily needs. Pray for families, relationships, and marriages to stay strong during this crisis even in the midst of facing financial, mental, and physical challenges.

7. Pray, as Christians, that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus at this time. Check up on your neighbours. Yes, we have to social distance ourselves, but there are numerous ways to connect with one another. Text, phone, Skype, FaceTime, message one another. Let them know you are praying for them. Don’t hoard food and other supplies for yourself. Share, or buy extra to give to others.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Listen to the prompting of God and pray as He leads you. I will continue to pray, blog, and connect with you here on Journey Thoughts, and hopefully I can continue to encourage readers as we traverse this journey road together.

Lastly, stay focused on God and stay in THE Word people! Scripture says: “Do not fear, for I am with you; for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ( Isaiah 41:10)

Need further encouragement? Read 25 Encouraging Verses That Prove God Is In Control.

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The Fear Factor

It’s hard to watch the news these days. My husband calls world events this week a “perfect storm” with the Covid-19 Corona virus listed today as a pandemic, the Russians and the Saudis feuding over oil, and here in Canada, rail blockades. The stock markets are in a tail spin and people are hoarding toilet paper. Seriously, our world is insane at the moment. I saw this on Instagram today: “The World Health Organization has announced that dogs cannot contract Covid-19. Dogs previously held in quarantine can now be released. To be clear, WHO let the dogs out.” @DiageoLiam

I will admit, I laughed out loud!

I suppose I needed something to laugh at in the midst of such troubling times. People are so incredibly fearful these days. Fearful about pipelines, the environment, climate change, the economy, and now a health pandemic. I remember my Mom used to throw her hands up and beseech the Almighty when she was overwhelmed by life events, “Stop the world, I want to get off!”

I’ve certainly felt that way this week.

I honestly do not know how to respond to what I’m hearing in the news. I understand people are panicked about being quarantined for any length of time. The most vulnerable, and I was told I fall into that category because of my recent battle with cancer, fear contracting this deadly virus. Since going through my treatments, I’ve been so proactive avoiding large crowds and I’ve always followed a meticulous hand-washing regime because I am a bit of a germaphobe. However, I did travel on a plane to Vancouver Island, was in two airports, went to my local gym, went to church, had a pedicure, spent time with family, ate at restaurants, and went grocery shopping over these past two weeks. I’m just living a normal life after cancer, or trying to at least, but this virus has me nervous. I’m supposed to attend a women’s conference this weekend. Should I or shouldn’t I go?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who is feeling the stress and worry based on the world events at present time. The thing is, I cannot allow fear to overwhelm me and dictate how I live my daily life.

In the Scriptures, “fear” is spoken of over 500 times. In addition to the 103 “fear not” or “be not afraid” verses there is also the “fear of God” verses which speak of having reverence for God alone, and the many other verses that encourage us not to be anxious or worry. In 2017, I wrote a blog post with 50 Encouraging Scripture Verses to Combat Fear. It is still one of my most popular posts to date. I encourage you to read those verses if you are feeling trepidatious about your current situation or if world events are causing you anxiety. I don’t negate the seriousness going on around us, nor should we make light of the fact people are suffering and families are grieving over loved ones who have passed on as a result of this virus. It is important to take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of Covid-19 or ANY other infectious disease now or in the future. I appreciate how so many governments, organizations, businesses etc. have responded so proactively to contain exposure and spread of the virus. Some, have been overly cautious perhaps, but better safe than sorry. I won’t fault any one for going above and beyond in fighting this pandemic.

So, I’m still wrestling with going to the Women’s Conference this weekend. I’m praying for wisdom. I know all precautions have been taken in organizing this event, and I don’t want to be ruled by fear. So I lean on my “go to” verse while I pray:

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

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