“We think you have COVID-19, and at this time there is no course of treatment. We are going to do the best we can, but we honestly don’t know.” I could read the real fear in the doctor’s face even though now I could only see his eyes. We sat in the ER and I looked at my husband, who was afraid, and I was quite frankly angry. I wasn’t scared of COVID-19. It was like the flu, I told myself confidently.
Four days later my confidence was gone, an illusion really, as I now navigated the reality of his condition. My husband took a turn for the worse, was placed on a ventilator and was in complete respiratory failure. The hospital staff couldn’t give me hope, and the next two weeks I would go toe to toe with fear. Thoughts of being a widow, raising my daughters without a father, never seeing him again except in a casket, thinking of him dying alone in a hospital room, they were all racing through my brain on an eternal loop. These were real and legitimate fears, but if we were going to make it through, I would fight for him with everything I had. Today I would like to share with you three things you do when you are facing fear.
Call your Prayer Community
If you are going to call your mom at 3:30 in the morning, it better be because someone is dying. I hadn’t told anyone he had COVID. We didn’t tell anyone because he was the first in the county, I was a nurse, our kids were in public education, and people were going to social media platforms asking for his name, where he lived, and in those moments I was afraid for our family. I sent our daughters to a friend’s farm just in case someone tried to do something foolish. As I sat in darkness, alone, knowing that they were taking my husband’s lifeless body to Cleveland, I was afraid.
I called my mom and cried on the phone, desperately wanting someone to hold me. I say as she told me what the Lord told her, and then I said this: I don’t care who knows where Nic is as long as they are Bible-believing prayer warriors, call the crazy one’s mom. My mom is a fighter, and she began to pray, my momma mentor, my grad school sisters, my teachers, friends, and pastors, they all began to pray. People reached out to their prayer friends, and the global church began to pray for my husband. When you are going through hell, you call for backup, and I can tell you even though I was alone in my house in quarantine, I felt more surrounded by God’s people than I ever did in my whole life. Community strengthens you, and when you are afraid, you need to find those who love you and ask them to seek heaven with you.
Shut off ALL distractions
I shut myself in my bedroom with the visual reminder of Nic’s side of the bed empty. I put scripture on his pillow, and I prayed for him continually. When we are afraid our first response is not to embrace the fear, but I had to. I sat with it every day and embraced it, but I didn’t let it overpower me; I don’t bow to fear, but I don’t run from it either.
I turned off social media and the news. Why? Because when you are trying to hear the Lord’s voice, you can’t be consuming others’ trash. I don’t get on social media much because I don’t want the voice of fear speaking for me. Maybe this season, if you are fearful, you shut everything off for forty days and see if that helps you. Fear is a normal reaction, but it isn’t a place we should always be. I heard God audibly in that season, felt His presence tangibly, and knew that He had us no matter what.
Baby Steps Through Hell
When you are going through hell, its baby steps, and you celebrate every single step. Nic wasn’t going to get better overnight, I knew the minute the tube went down his respiratory system we were looking at six months recovery, and we were not getting out of this hell in one fell swoop. Baby steps. So we counted our wins and celebrated every single one. The day that I was able to Facetime him for the first time, I cried. The day the vent tube miraculously came out, I fell to the floor and cried thanking God of His goodness. The day he moved from ICU to Step Down, the day he came home, the day he hugged his daughters for the first time, the day he slept through the night, the day he went back to work, and the list could go on. I wrote them all down in a notebook. I look back on them frequently, and I remember the Lord’s goodness.
Maybe you are going through a season of fear. Are you anxious or angry? Always fighting something that isn’t there? Not sleeping at night? If you want to know how to navigate fear, I want you to try these three things first. Join us for our monthly Zoom Gathering as we help you learn how to navigate this season of unknowns.
By Cassie Brown