It was a year ago that I sat in a hospital bed feeling trapped, isolated, and unsure if I would make it through everything I was dealing with at the time. The hospital was just the beginning of the journey. Four weeks after this consisted of doctor’s appointments, home therapy visits, antibiotics, and a whole lot of anxiety. Anxiety was the one thing that gripped me the most. It paralyzed me. Even though I was no longer aimlessly wandering busy hospital hallways or sitting in the hospital bed watching Gossip Girl for the 100th time or staring out the hospital window questioning God, I was still gripped with so much fear. I begged and I pleaded to God to allow me to leave the hospital, in probably the most obnoxious way possible. But I had to endure and be patient, and then I was able to leave and smell the fresh air. But the upcoming weeks were going to be some of the hardest I had to face in a long time.
I became weary and tired. Everyday was a battle and all my nights turned into questioning moments. The battle of feeling completely alone and isolated was the worst part of it. No one else really knew what I was dealing with. I had an infection living inside of me, and the reality of knowing that I had almost lost my finger was debilitating. When I was in the hurricane, it felt like it would never end. There was no end in sight, and I wasn’t sure how much more I could take.
That time in my life reminds me so much of right now. There is so much uncertainty and questioning. It’s hard to imagine when all of this will end or how it will end. It’s scary to think that maybe we have a few more weeks of this. Businesses are plummeting, people are sick, and the economy is suffering. While the battle I faced last year wasn’t a battle I was facing with the entire world, it was a battle nonetheless, and one I think fits perfectly into what’s happening now, even if it is on a larger scale. The thing that’s comforting about this war though, is that this time, I’m not totally alone and you aren’t either. We are all experiencing this, in different ways, together.
How do you face a battle? How is it possible to find joy in the suffering? I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I’ve learned quite a bit along the way. Nothing about this season is easy, and I’ll be the first to admit I’ve struggled, and I’ve questioned. But then I go back to how faithful God has been in my life, and how he truly has carried me through fire and rain. So, while we are all dealing with this, I hope some of these tips will help you along the way.
Here’s what I’ve learned (that might help you too):
Writing down answered prayer helps:
I have found this to be extremely helpful throughout this past year. Writing down answered prayer gives you great perspective on just how good God is. When you actually see it on paper, you are reminded of the faithfulness of God. He answers prayer, and sometimes it’s good to not just think about those prayers but writing them down is helpful too.
Talk to someone:
I’m someone who internalizes everything, and I mean EVERYTHING. Talking things out is not my first reaction to anything, but what I’ve learned since even being in the hospital a year ago is that talking does help, and usually, the other person helps you puts things into perspective. Not only that, but I’ve noticed that after you’ve talked it out, you tend to feel much better and it’s easier to carry on with your day. If you feel like you just can’t internalize anymore, talk to someone you trust.
Read it, and cling to it. If there is anything you take from this, let it be scripture. Reading God’s Word is so important, and it always has an answer. People will fail you, friends will come and go, but God never will, and neither will His Word. Don’t run from God during this time but run to him and cling to his word. (2 Tim. 2:8-10)
Breathing deeply can help us manage the anxiety response on a physical, physiological and mental level. It is recommended that people with anxiety practice deliberate breathing for about 3 to 5 minutes during each session at least three times a day. Trust me, it really does help.
Pro Tip: When I do this, I either pray or turn on some worship music. It’s extremely helpful to me and I think it will be for you as well.
When we pray, we are in communication with the Creator of the universe and the author of our salvation. He knows every detail of our being and understands the intricacies of our brain. He knows what’s going on in the world right now, and we must remember that he sits on the throne. Talk to him and tell him what’s on your heart. He tells us to cast our anxiety on him because he cares for us. We fear BUT GOD is with us. We may wonder how we will get through this BUT GOD is going to carry us, just like he always has. Run to him. Draw near to him. He loves you. He is faithful. Most importantly, he is in control (not the government, not the health department, not even the president). Don’t run from him but run to him.
PRO TIP: Read It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Teurkurst. I read this book while I was in the hospital last year and it changed my perspective on so many things, and I can honestly say, it changed my life in many ways as well. Read it. You won’t regret it. You can purchase it here.
Hebrews 4:16- "Let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need."