Here in Kentucky, we are entering the fifth full week of social distancing (Governor Beshear recommended social distancing on 03/11/20), self-quarantining, or whatever your choice of distance description is due to COVID-19. And let me tell you, it’s getting hard.
As a very independent introvert, I felt like I was built for this at first. I was making lists upon lists and being extremely productive. I had already transitioned to working from home after a job change in February, so that was more normal for me than for many others. My favorite local coffee spot (Q Coffee Emporium) has remained open to customers via drive thru (love y’all!), and many fast food chains are also open either for delivery or drive thru if I need to bop across the street for a gourmet lunch at McDonald’s. As a rule of thumb, I keep my house pretty stocked with all basic household necessities: everything from Benadryl for allergy season, cleaning materials, and yes the good ole Charmin and Bounty. And I don’t yet have a husband or children, so my house is fairly quiet much of the time, just how I like it!
The weeks have continued to pass, and some days have been more productive than others. Some days have been more enjoyable than others. And some days have been just flat out hard. I have been on the team for our church’s Sunday services a couple of times, so I was able to see a few people even if not with the expected normalcy. (Trust me, you all should have seen me furiously wiping off my camera handles and microphone those two weeks.) At the same time, I miss the actual people on Sunday morning services–whether it’s hugging the necks of my former DNOW babies, joking with Holly about her kid’s silly voices, or greeting our pastor in the parking lot on our way in.
Then, there’s small group. Ours meets on Sunday nights, and many of us–if not all of us at this point–are heavily involved in ministry, so we’re all usually on the same page if we have an event and need to cancel for a week or are all feeling drained from the same busy time. We do fun stuff, too. Game nights, birthday parties, meals together. That’s been missing.
My family also experienced the death of my grandfather during the past few weeks of social distancing (causes unrelated to COVID-19). They capped the number of people permitted in the visitation room/five minute service, and we all had to remain by our vehicles at the graveside. We all know there is going to be a full family gathering held in the future, but it was so odd and surreal to try to grieve something in which you couldn’t be safely involved.
The list could go on and on, and there are things that are getting increasingly harder while other things are helping to keep some sanity in place. Just to briefly shoutout, voice lessons with the amazing Maddie, shows to catch up on, exercising outside in warm weather, and my dear Nathan all help to keep me from literally laying endlessly on my infamous couches.
As I was having myself a little pity party this morning (or as I prefer to say it, allowing myself to feel my feelings), “Way Maker” came on my Spotify shuffle. This song is all over Christian playlists, virtual Sunday morning services, and even posts on social media quoting its lyrics. I’m very familiar with the song and have been since it first came out as my friend Jordan told me about it. However, as I was listening this time, it was the spontaneous ad-libbing Leeland sang over the interlude:
His name is above…
His name is above depression;
His name is above loneliness;
His name is above disease.
If I hadn’t been driving and listening to this, I think I would have stopped dead in my tracks. Yes, He is the Way Maker, the Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, and Light in the darkness, and He is working in and through this. Many of us are praying for the Spirit to fall down like fire in this time and stir up a revival. Many of us are begging for this to end. Many are praying everything in between and beyond what I’m sure I can fathom. He will make some sort of way through this for each and every one of us who cry out. I’ve seen Him move; He moves the mountains; and I believe I’ll see him do it again (lyrics adapted from Elevation Worship’s “Do It Again“).
But I really don’t want us to miss the lyrics above.
I have a hunch that the first three things Leeland specifically mentioned during this spontaneous moment of worship are the three most pertinent struggles during this pandemic.
For example, I saw an article today that mentioned alcohol sales skyrocketing, and pornography sites are giving away free memberships right now. Some people have been extremely open about their sadness and going so far as to declare it depression perhaps with or without utilizing substances of any kind in the process. Similar to depression and along the lines of overall general mental health, anxiety is soaring right now. Our dear, lovely, and fantastic pastor mentioned during our service today that he had his second anxiety dream the other day and went on to elaborate that his body responds to anxiety without necessarily having anxious thoughts. For those in whom anxiety is already an ongoing burden, this time has stirred up anxiety that we couldn’t have even imagined: anxiety about the disease itself, anxiety for our family members, anxiety for our finances, anxiety for our kids getting their school work done and not killing each other, anxiety for bringing the disease into our home somehow, anxiety about the work we’re struggling to do…and that list could go on and on and on as well.
Many are struggling greatly with loneliness. Just ask an extravert who lives alone (I actually had a brief conversation with one of my friends, #campfriendsarethebestfriends, a couple of weeks ago about his struggle with it). But it’s not just reserved for extraverts. We are all missing something right now–whether it’s a loved one fighting this disease or another one, teachers missing students, kids missing therapists, on and on and on it could go. Loneliness is real right now. Then, do I even need to go into the final line written above? Disease. That is exactly what we are dealing with right now in this terrifying, novel strand of coronavirus. While I fully believe these three topics are ongoing sources of pain and struggle for us as humans, this is an unprecedented time where these three in particular are undeniable.
We need not stop at describing these three negative things, though.
Because HIS name is above them all. The name of Jesus.
It is entirely clear to me that COVID-19 is straight from Satan himself. His entire goal is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10), and that is exactly what this virus is doing. It is stealing graduations, birthday celebrations, weddings, and more away from people. It is killing more people than the flu last year. It is destroying more than can be quantified in a single blog post.
But…His name is above depression, loneliness, and disease. As we enter this fifth full week of social distancing, I urge you to please continue to maintain distance first of all. I know it’s hard if it’s even getting hard for me, but it is the most selfless thing you can do to serve your family and others if you remain home and distanced as much as possible. At the same time, though, talk to Jesus. Tell Him about your day whether it was great or terrible. Yell at Him if you’re mad. He can take it. I’m asking Him for this to end, too. We are free to ask for whatever we want in the name of Jesus; while He may not work according to our timelines, He loves to hear the voices of His children calling out to him. He is the Way Maker, the name above all things.
P.S. If you read to the end, thank you! I know that was a long one with no pictures apart from the title graphic. Finally, if there is any way I can help to serve or pray for you during this time, please do not hesitate to leave me a comment or reach out to me personally if you are able. This is a time we need to be building each other up and innovating new ways to serve, and I am happy to walk, crawl, or run alongside you however I can.