We are in the third wave of Covid here in Alberta. Thankfully, my husband and I were able to get our first vaccination (Moderna) nearly two weeks ago. Doctors say we will have about 80% immunity against the virus about two weeks into getting vaccinated and about 96% after our second shot. That said, we are still following all health protocols until the entire province (and country) is vaccinated. It has been a long slog through uncharted territory with this pandemic, so I figure the sooner everyone gets vaccinated the sooner we can start to get back to some semblance of normalcy.

But that’s only my opinion.

I’ve noticed how the enemy has used Covid to divide God’s people. We have differing opinions how to combat this disease. I don’t want to debate the arguments for or against masking, or restrictions or vaccinating, I just appeal to my brothers and sisters in Christ to love one another regardless of whether or not we agree or disagree with the stances taken to combat Covid. It’s okay to disagree, it’s not okay to malign one another.

Over this weekend I attended the CNBC Overflowing Women’s Conference, where women from across Canada gathered online to encourage one another to “spread the Word”, using Acts 4:20 to anchor us in prayer, discussion and inspiration. I would have loved meeting face to face, but I felt a camaraderie with the ladies nevertheless, and enjoyed the gathering immensely. I latched on to one word that was repeated several times from speakers and in the panel discussion that I have pondered upon ever since the conference: REORIENT.

Definition of REORIENT: Transitive verb: to orient (someone or something) again or differently: such as: to change the orientation or direction of (something or someone) for example: reorient the antenna or she reoriented herself so she was facing North. Or to reacquaint (someone, especially oneself) with a situation, environment, etc. For example I woke up and reoriented myself to my surroundings.

The English teacher side in me wanted to go deeper so I discovered that a transitive verb is one that only makes sense if it exerts its action on an object. It needs to transfer its action to something or someone. Based on this, I think I’m correct in saying that to reorient something or someone requires a change of some kind to occur with an object or a person.

When I was in the Canadian armed forces, I remember learning the sport of Orienteering. Basically we were taught some navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point A to point B. We tested those skills one weekend in 1977 on Vancouver Island near Nanoose Bay, when we went on an overnight camp out. The exercise was simple: we were driven to the top of a “mountain”, and with only a compass and map to guide us, make our way down to our camp. It was only a big hill, not a mountain, but to our little group it looked like a daunting challenge. I was in a group of four gals including a woman Corporal who thought she would join our group because she felt we were the most competent team to get down the “mountain” before nightfall.

She was wrong.

An exercise that should only have taken us a couple of hours to complete, instead became an effort in futility. We became disoriented! We didn’t have confidence in our equipment and so we started to rely on ourselves to get us “home”. The end result: we became hopelessly lost. We couldn’t seem to agree on how to navigate at all. No matter how we tried to reorient ourselves to align our way with compass direction and map topography, we just couldn’t find a clear path to our camp destination. Our Corporal became more and more panicked as the sun started to set and we learned she had an irrational fear of the dark. Finally, we caught a glimpse of a campfire, the only light we could focus on in the darkness. We ran full tilt through the trees and underbrush towards the light and miraculously crashed through a thorny thicket into our group camp. When questioned why our team was so late, our still-flustered Corporal reported to our commanding officer that we were just being overly methodical in our orienteering technique. He grinned knowingly, “Well, you’re here,” he said. “Glad we didn’t need to call out a search party!”

The life lesson I learned that night of orienteering failure was that I had the proper tools in my hand to help me get down that “mountain” quite easily but I refused to utilize them. I need to apply that lesson today. During this season of Covid, I don’t have access to a map or compass to navigate through these uncertain times. If I’m honest I probably wouldn’t rely on them much if I had them. I still have no sense of direction…just ask my husband. So, there are times I feel so disoriented with what’s happening in the world that I feel like I’m running full tilt down a mountain, relying on just myself to get me safely to an unknown destination.

I need to stop doing that.

I do have tools at my disposal to navigate through these tough times, I just need to utilize them. -Specifically, God is calling me to reorient myself to a new way of doing “church”. It may be a long while before we gather in worship like we did before Covid. Rather than complain, I’m asking God to show me how to adapt and find new ways to serve Him.

-This is a chance to grow deeper in my faith. An uncertain time is an opportunity to experience God on a whole new level. Digging deeper into the Word, and being purposeful in prayer centres me on Him and not on myself.

-I am still in community with other believers even if we may not be sitting side-by-side or face to face. Thankfully, technology is available to connect us. I felt that online companionship this weekend at the conference with the ladies. I also felt a unified connectedness when I joined a coast to coast to coast Zoom Prayer meeting last night for our dear Pastor, Bob who is in hospital fighting Covid. Though apart, all our hearts were (are) united in prayer for his healing.

I’m reorienting myself to a new way of following God during and after this pandemic. He’s given me the tools to make it easier for me to get through this uncertain time: spend more time in prayer, dig deeper in the Bible, and stay connected with other believers.

In truth, I’ve always had access to that, but I need to remember to utilize what God has given to me whenever I feel like I’m careening down a mountain, in the dark, alone.

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