Overwhelmed by sadness, I shut my laptop and my eyes. My chest is heavy with grief and fear. Although I planned to hop on Facebook for a few minutes to check on friends and family, my screen quickly filled with news that made my soul ache.
A friend shared a post from a friend whose husband has COVID-19 and is alone fighting for his life in the ICU. His lungs are filled with fluid; his wife is filled with fear.
Another friend shared that her eight-year-old came home from school in tears and asked, “Is my daddy going to get coronavirus because he’s Chinese?” The hate and disproportionate suffering Asian Americans are experiencing makes me furious and sad.
Then I saw a photo of an exhausted woman with tears streaming down her cheeks. A friend shared it, asking for prayer for this young mom who had tested positive for COVID-19. She has asthma and her fear of pneumonia is terrifying but so is going to the ER. If she gets admitted and doesn’t recover, she may never see her children again.
I am overwhelmed with sadness as I read each post, and my heart is now worried about our twenty-two-year-old son, Andrew, who also has asthma. He lives two and a half hours away. What if he gets hospitalized and doesn’t recover? What if we never see him again?
I don’t know what to do.
I want to be strong enough to stay and sit in the pain with others who are suffering. I want to leave words of encouragement and prayers under each post. But I also want to get in my car and drive as far away as I can until I run out of gas and have to stop.
When school first closed, we all thought this would only last a month or so. Staying home wasn’t a big deal to me after a year of battling undiagnosed chronic pain and sickness, stretches of anxiety-induced depression, a recent diagnosis of malignant melanoma on the back of my leg, and surgery to remove it.
The melanoma was gone, and I figured out the cause and cure for my chronic pain. Then news of coronavirus and a global pandemic hit.
Within a week our twenty-five-year-old son, Josh, was without work and income due to COVID-19. A few days later, Andrew called to tell us the venue for his May wedding is limiting them to ten guests, due to the new regulations. Suddenly, eighteen months of planning and their wedding-day dreams were being turned upside down.
It’s all too much!
After reading through social media posts and worrying about my children, I have empathy and anxiety overload. I know God has not abandoned us, but I don’t know what to do with all that’s happening around me and in me.
I put my laptop on the bed and go downstairs to see what my husband is doing. We have a list of home projects that will be a good distraction, but J.J. isn’t where I expect him to be. Instead, he’s outside mowing the lawn.
I stand in the middle of our kitchen, looking out the window, not knowing what to do. I could call a friend or text the kids to see how they’re doing. I could start on our project list. I just want to do something!
I know that avoiding my feelings won’t make them go away, although I wish it would. I want the courage to be sad even when I am afraid I’ll get stuck there. I need to process all these messy thoughts and emotions with God. He knows better than I do what is going on inside my heart and soul.
It’s all too much for me, but it’s not too much for God.
I walk back upstairs and sit in my favorite chair, open my journal and turn the pages of my Bible toward the back where I find Jesus waiting for me, inviting me to come and stay with Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
“Stay joined to me, and I will stay joined to you.”
In her book, Stay, my friend Anjuli Paschall describes what this looks like: “The invitation is to crawl up into our Father’s lap, letting His arms wrap us up. We are like tired children at the end of the day, with our worn-out bodies and watery eyes, heads resting on His shoulder, listening as He whispers hope into our cracked hearts, ‘I’ve got you. . . . I love you. . . . I’m not letting you go. I am for you. I am not a checklist or burden or something to get done. I’ve only ever been about being with you.'”
Surrounded by countless concerns and needs we can’t possibly meet, there are days when it’s all too much.
What if, when we are tempted to escape or avoid it all, we stay instead of running away? What if we sat still in the hardest parts of our days and emotions and got quiet with Jesus? Could we listen to our hearts long enough to feel what we feel and let Jesus show us what we need?
God is the only One strong enough to carry the weight of the world on His shoulders. He can handle it all, the sadness and fear, the sorrow and pain. He sees what we can’t, and He reminds us we don’t have to make it all okay.
How is your heart today, friend? How are you walking through
the times when it feels like it’s all too much?
I’m giving away a hardback copy of Stay: Discovering Grace, Freedom, and Wholeness Where You Never Imagined Looking! All the details on how to enter to win are here. Also, be sure to download my new free resource filled with encouraging promises and simple prayers to help you pull away from all that is pulling on you in this season of uncertainty and overwhelming concern.
God sees what we can’t, and He reminds us we don’t have to make it all okay. -@ReneeSwope: Click To Tweet