This time of year brings back several good memories, and some sad. My most painful recollection is the death of my mother. Dec 20, 2004 is forever imprinted on my calendar marking my holiday by the reminder of this loss and my grief. While it was sixteen years ago, every year it feels like yesterday. Some find comfort in the age-old line, “time heals all wounds.” I have found time to be a healer of some wounds, but certainly not all as the sting of this death still lingers.
Grief in Quarantine
Hence, this will not be my first Christmas in quarantine. In fact, every year before the date approaches I isolate my emotions tucking them away until the next year. Overwhelmed by the stress of grief, I was paralyzed. And due to my emotional paralysis I found myself turning to isolation. Many of us have become acquainted with much grief this year as well. This pandemic has turned our lives upside down. And for some, it appears there will be no end in sight. But in spite of all my loss I have found that it is God’s faithfulness that remains and keeps me strong (Lam. 3:23). Sharing my testimony with you, I pray you are encouraged to hold on in spite of sorrow trusting in the faithfulness of God.
While many lost loved ones, this year I found myself as one of over 30 million unemployed due to COVID-19. After some time I was thankful for the job I found, but the truth is it did not cover all my expenses. This caused even more problems to arise. My rent was in jeopardy. Although the rental company, due to the pandemic, allowed late payments, it was stressful. I paid October and November at the end of each month, but did not want to do the same in December. I found was anxious and overwhelmed by this burden because I just could not keep up.
Casting My Cares
You know what I did? I turned it over to God. You heard me right. I got to the point where I had exerted all of my strength, all of my resources, all of my connections. I had nothing left. So, I said “God, I have done all You asked of me and I cannot do any more. Please take this.” Now, if I’m honest, although I gave it to Him sometimes I would still think about it. I’d ponder take back control. I’d think about what I needed to do to help God. But I allowed myself to “be still and know that [He] is God” and allowed the thoughts to fade. One of the ways I did this was by focusing on ministering to others.
Blessings on Blessings
While I focused on ministering to others, God focused on ministering to me. And on December 11, 2020, God answered my prayer. The apartment manager called and said the Maryland Department of Housing are assisting late tenants and all you need to do is sign a form. I went, signed the form, and now my rent is paid for December. The amazing thing is, I never applied for this program. I didn’t even know about it! Look at God! “Before they call, I will answer and while they are yet speaking, I will hear” (Isaiah 65:24).
Now, just in case you are wondering, “How will she keep up?” God answered another prayer. In January 2021, I will be starting a new teaching job. In spite of the difficulties of 2020, I have come to know that God cares about me. His heart is touched with my grief, and all things eventually did work together for my good.
God is Not Quarantined
My word to those reading my story is this: whatever you are going through during these unprecedented times of fear, loss, grief, loneliness, sickness, instability, and hopelessness, give it to God. He is not quarantined from us. He hears our cries, sees our needs, and already has the answer. All we need to do is come to him believing that He is who he says he is, “for without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).