by Jenny Reeverts
“Is it hot in here, or is it just me?” My heart skipped just for a minute and the thoughts came rushing into my head. “Do you think you have a fever?” I asked. Sure enough, he did.
Tuesday October 6th I was with my mom taking care of her for the day. My 86 year-old stepdad had been struggling with what we thought was a head cold the week prior. Early that evening he came into the house after working outside most of the day and sat at the kitchen table next to her while I was preparing supper.
I am sure that most people have had conversations within their own families deciding how they were going to choose to live out the COVID issue. We sure did. We had several zoom calls during the lockdown which was hilarious, but we also had some serious conversations about our aging parents and what their needs would be.
Three months ago my 81 year-old mom took a terrible fall that caused excruciating pain in her back due to the massive amount of hardware she has had from several back surgeries over the course of her life. Her fall also caused brain bleeds and accelerated her dementia. After a month of hospitalization and therapy, we as a family were confronted with the choice of her receiving continued care at Grace Manor or providing 24/7 care for her at home.
Hands down we decided to bring her home. Our family is large enough that we felt that we could take on this responsibility. Was COVID the key in this decision? Not at all; we were aware that if we did have to put her in a facility, we would not be able to spend much time with her due to the regulations. We were sure that she would not survive the separation from her beloved husband or her family.
“What about COVID?” We had to ask ourselves that question. Choosing to take care of our mom meant that we were going to come into their home from different locations each taking our turn throughout the week. “Would we wear masks?” Well, honestly that question never came up. But what we did agree on, no matter what, (mom and dad included) was that there would be no blaming if we were “the one” that brought sickness into their home. We were going to live life as normal as possible.
Once out of the hospital she struggled with even knowing where she was! She didn’t recognize her home, she couldn’t remember the names of her children or her grandchildren, she couldn’t even remember the fall or ever being in the hospital.
Temperature is rising…
“Harold, how has your taste been?” I asked.
“I have had a terrible taste in my mouth for over a week, but food still tastes good.”
We tracked back the days and other symptoms that he had experienced: Body aches on the first day, followed by a sore throat penetrating the top of his mouth, then just sinus congestion and fatigue for several days after that, until finally the fever.
I went back to chopping vegetables asking myself, “How do I address the elephant in the room?” “Could he have COVID?” Since he had symptoms for over a week, was I already exposed due to my earlier visits the week before?” “What about my family?” What about my husband?”
There was almost a sense of relief! The very virus that we have been told to be afraid of may have finally arrived into my presence. Was I ready?
“Harold, I think it would be a good idea for you to get tested for COVID.” He didn’t really like the idea at first, but once we talked about the family rotation of caring for mom, he certainly agreed that it was a wise choice. We made the call, and he was scheduled to be tested the following day.
My husband, Jon, and I agreed that I would not return home until we knew for obvious reasons. The unknown of this virus caused us to react cautiously, as much for others as ourselves. We cancelled youth group that night.
Wednesday afternoon my stepdad did, in fact, test positive for COVID with minor symptoms; no health official recommended a doctor visit.
Those that really know me would know that I have had a strong interest in nutrition and health for many years, not only because of Jon’s battle with cancer, but because of my own battle with health issues. My family teases me, “No one eats like you, Jenny!”
“Jon, I am going to need my Zinc, vitamin C, and D3,” and then I rattled off a lot of essential oils, other supplements, veggies, berries, and whole grains which has been my daily routine for nearly a year. I knew that the best thing I could do was keep my immune system strong. Unfortunately this meant a trip to the store for him which only added stress to an already stressful situation.
I would be quarantined for at least a week with my mom, stepdad, and one of my sisters who was living with them at the time. Seven days away from my husband, longer if I began to have symptoms. That is a really big deal for us! In 36 years of marriage, we have only been apart for any extended period of time on one other occasion.
In our ministry, we share the Biblical truths that God created man as spirit, soul, and body. All three parts are meant to function perfectly together with the spirit being the most essential. We as believers in Jesus Christ have the Holy Spirit dwelling in our spirit. We are capable of living fully dependent on Christ in all situations drawing from His Life and allowing His Life to be expressed through us. This, of course, is a choice of the will. When I choose to ignore Christ, I am choosing to live independently of Him; therefore acting as if “I am God.” Anytime we as Christians live this way, it is called “walking after the flesh”. We were not meant to live this way. The result is fear, conflict, frustration and brokenness.
In our souls, we uniquely choose, think, and feel as we experience life on planet earth. We choose what to believe, our thoughts surround our beliefs, and the emotions follow.
The body was created to take care of us; an “earth suit” as we like to call it. Our body allows us to experience all that God has created through our senses, but He also created our bodies to fight diseases and illnesses, to heal broken bones, to cool and heat itself, to store memories in our brains and so forth. (There is so much more I could say about this.)
God’s word tells us to take care of our earth suit. Because of sin entering the world due to the fall of Adam mentioned in the second chapter of Genesis, no one has and no one will live in their earth suit forever. However, more than that, sin in the garden also caused all mankind to be separated from God spiritually resulting in the “I am my own God” mentality. Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection was God’s rescue plan to bring us back to a life of dependance on Him.
Quarantined - A Story of Hope in the Madness
Did my stepdad social distance by staying in another room? Did he get worse? Did we wear masks? Did I clean and sanitize constantly? Did my mom get sick? Did my sister get sick? Did I get sick?
Harold, at the age of 86, continued working outside, but came in to rest more often. My mom ,at the age of 81, would have been most likely the one that would have contracted the disease since, ya know, they slept together every night. Nope… no symptoms. I would evaluate myself every day. “Am I having any symptoms?” Nope! Did my sister have symptoms? No! We did not wear masks. We did not social distance. We did not do any extra sanitizing.
Every day was like any other day, except we all had to stay on the farm. What a special gift that was! My 6AM walks brought joy and healing. The familiar smells of the farm and curious cattle behind the corrals reminded me of my childhood. The gorgeous sunrises were beautiful with nothing in the way to block God’s majesty! Our conversations around the kitchen table brought up past memories that my mom reached deeply to remember.
COVID - A disease we are unfamiliar with. Nevertheless, our bodies are equipped, just like they were the first time the body experienced anything that was foreign or unusual after the Fall. Obviously there are times that we need help and God has gifted man with the ability to discover and to be creative through natural remedies and medicines. Yet, regardless of how well our bodies are equipped, we will eventually die. It is inevitable!
Many people have expressed their great concern for Jon’s health. Having one lung would certainly put him in the “high risk category, but it is also the reason that wearing a mask is almost impossible for him. BUT, and that is a big but… But God… has called us to His mission of bringing the Life of Christ to children, teens, and adults.
We have said many times that we are not going to let COVID scare us… “We are going to live!” That’s all good until you are facing what the “world” has said we should be so afraid of. Our kids all say, “I don’t want to be the one that brings it home to dad.” I get that. Neither did I. I tested negative twice before returning home.
The worst part about this entire experience was driving up to my driveway on Wednesday afternoon, after my stepdad’s diagnosis, where I sat in the car. Jon brought bag after bag of all that I had requested out of our house loading my trunk without us even getting to hold each other. “Social distanced.” Angry? Yes! What power have we given this virus? God has allowed us to live through cancer for 12 years and now COVID was supposed to be our greatest threat? Something wasn’t right and we both knew it.
We are told to wear masks, sanitize, and social distance. I truly understand that there are those that are at high risk. I know so many people in that situation; my husband is one of them. However, I believe that wearing masks and social distancing will have lasting ramification on our society. Right now masks are meant to “protect us”, but we have encouraged youth groups for years to stop hiding behind “masks.” - Instead, know the truth about what God says about them.
I know you might be saying “that is not the same thing”, but the deceiver is playing a role in ALL of this! Also, I have learned a lot about our amazing bodies through Jon’s battle with cancer. A great book by Dr. Josh Axe, Eat Dirt, says that America is too clean, too obsessed with sanitizing everything, so now our immune systems are weak and unable to fight like they should.
Eight days in quarantine with transmittable COVID - No one else was infected! Why not? I don’t know if statistically that is normal, but regardless of my experience,
here is the point:
Spirit, soul, body are created to work perfectly together, but the most essential is our spirit. Why? When we receive Christ as our Lord and Savior, He takes up residence in our spirit! Jesus says, “In this world, we will have trouble, but He came to overcome the world.” He sets us free from sin and the power of Satan. His LIFE in us changes everything! Without Him, our spirit is empty and we are easily controlled by the influences of the world. We are under Satan’s rule.
What needs to be our focus? God is in control! Do not be conformed to this world. We cannot depend on worldly knowledge to guide us through life’s challenges.
It is true that 2000 years ago God sent His only Son to take on the penalty of ALL sins and the destruction it has had on His creation, but much more than that, Christ came to live again. On the other side of the cross is His resurrection! And, our life as believers is IN the resurrection! COVID is not a surprise to God and He didn’t cause it! But God… has provided a way for us to live through all of life’s challenges including COVID.
As in-dwelt Christians:
Who tells us not to fear? Jesus! Who gives us hope? Jesus! Who is fighting for us? Jesus! Who is in control? Jesus!
If we are not setting our minds on Christ, we will try to be our “own gods” trying to control everything as if we have the power to do so.
This is my prayer for us:
In our Spirit - First and foremost - May we recognize that the best way we can love others is to remember Christ is our Life! His Life being expressed through His children is what our world so desperately needs.
Second, In our Soul - The best way we can love others though this pandemic is to choose Christ! We will not let fear overcome us. It is paralyzing! We cannot blame others. It is not their fault! That is what the deceiver wants us to think which is causing so much division and hate. Spend quality time with those that we love. Laugh with them, cry with them, and let them see our faces.”
Finally, In the Body - Our bodies are under attack because of this fallen world. The best way we can love and protect others is for us to take care of our own bodies. Fight to keep our immune systems strong by eating nutritious whole foods and avoiding sugar, take our supplements, enjoying the fresh air, and drinking lots of water!
We operate in this order; we are a spiritual being having a physical experience; we are not a physical being just looking for spiritual help.
That is God’s design!