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Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth! – Psalm 46:10 NKJV
Sometimes I feel down for no particular reason. As a COVID-19 long hauler, I sometimes feel like my brain is too big for my skull. I have heard that COVID-19 can cause inflammation in the brain, triggering depression. That’s probably what I experienced back in September 2020 during the third week of my COVID-19 recovery. I’m lucky to be alive.
To be still when we are exhausted is not always a choice. When we crash, we crash.
In that stillness, we can do nothing but acknowledge our weakness and know that God is the Lord. His thoughts are not our thoughts. The Lord knows our pain. Amen.
For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; Colossians 1:9-11 NKJV
Sometimes our state of mind is dark. We can’t see the good in our lives because we are physically and mentally exhausted.
When I tested positive for COVID-19 on September 1, 2020, I never would have thought I would suffer for the long haul–that brings new meaning to the word “longsuffering.” I wonder when I will feel back to normal.
The Lord can restore our strength and our joy. We have to be patient. Amen.
Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up. – James 4:10 KJV
Overcoming an illness can be humbling. When we are used to doing everything, it can be humbling when suddenly we can’t because of our health. When I had tested positive for COVID-19 last September, I never would have imagined that I would be sick for more than two weeks or become a COVID-19 long hauler. I never would have thought that being sick for that long would set into motion some drastic life changes, such as a move to another state.
The Lord gives us strength in sickness and health. He knows our thoughts and fears and can heal us from any ailment. We can be grateful when our health returns. When He lifts us up, He lifts us physically and mentally. Amen.
Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. – Isaiah 43:18-19 KJV
As my family embarks on a new journey by moving from Nevada to Idaho, I reflect on the new blessings that God has brought into my life.
Even though I tested positive for COVID-19 on September 1, 2020 and suffered from COVID-19 long haulers symptoms, surviving the ordeal has strengthened my faith and brought me closer to God. I am grateful that my husband was able to stay home during my recovery to take care of me and Jacob. I am thankful that my husband was able to find an Executive Director job in Idaho. Our house in Nevada sold within three hours of listing it, and we were able to buy a duplex in Blackfoot, ID.
Instead of remembering how difficult my illness seemed at the time, I am grateful for the new opportunities that God has brought into our lives. He makes way for new blessings. Amen.
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us… Hebrews 12:1 NKJV
My dad, Henry Akao, ran eight marathons during his lifetime. I have never even attempted one. I am so easily prone to fatigue now post COVID-19 that I can’t imagine having the endurance to start running, let alone finish a race.
Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith. He can finish our races for us when we are too weary to continue. He has strength in contrast to our weaknesses.
When we ask Jesus for help daily, and even at every moment that we need Him, the weight that we carry on our shoulders lightens. The future seems brighter with Him at our side. Amen.
Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; Yes, our God is merciful. The Lord preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me. Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you. – Psalm 116:5-7
I know what is like to be brought low. When I tested positive for COVID-19 on September 1st, I was scared. I didn’t imagine that I would be sick months later. I don’t have the energy I used to have. I need to rest more than I did before. After I was released from quarantine 28 days later, I think many people assumed I was fully recovered. Although many of my symptoms significantly improved, and I was no longer contagious, I had fatigue and nausea two months later. Some people say this pandemic is a hoax, but it is not. It is real, and we are all in it together. Immunity has come at a price.
Christ paid a price for our sins. The Lord knows we need to rest. He knows we are living at a difficult time, but He cares for us, and He will always be there to save us.
Therefore as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humidity, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another. If anyone has anything against another, even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. – Colossians 3:12-13
I have a hard time forgiving people who deliberately overstep my boundaries. It makes me furious.
Boundaries protect our finite energy. Sometimes we trade temporary discomfort in order to protect our energy. We only have 24 hours in a day.
We only have so many breaths that God has given us, and when those breaths run out, we die.
As a COVID-19 Long Hauler, I had shortness of breath. It reminded me that my breath is a gift from God. I can’t take it for granted, because it won’t always be there. Some day I will die, but “we have this hope that burns within our hearts; hope in the coming of the Lord” (as the hymn goes). Some day we will meet our Savior in the clouds. It will be a glorious day, and the things of Earth will pass away.
This life is only a fraction of the existence that we can spend with God. He asks us to turn our eyes upon Jesus. It is a challenge sometimes when the things of this world distract us, but when we notice that distraction, we can gently but firmly refocus our attention on God. He knows the big picture. He doesn’t want us to be stressed. He wants us to feel joy, eternal. Amen.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5: 6-7
After it had been 17 days after I first found out that I tested positive for COVID-19, I began to experience what is called “long haulers” side effects of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a malicious disease that can attack the heart, lungs, and even the brain.
Global studies revealed that I was not alone in my long haulers symptoms. There are real, long-term symptoms of COVID-19, well after the fever goes away.
I had experienced a dry cough, shortness of breath, pain in my right rib cage from coughing for three weeks, nausea, loss of appetite, insomnia, headaches, fatigue, anxiety, and severe depression during the third week of my illness.
A doctor prescribed me a low dose of an antidepressant. I didn’t even realize that I was depressed at first. All I knew was that I didn’t feel like myself. COVID-19 can negatively impact the brain.
I had spent many years in school cultivating my knowledge. It seemed like a cruel and unusual punishment that COVID-19 had impacted my mental and physical health, and that it hit me so hard.
It was humbling to admit that I needed an antidepressant for the first time in my life to get back to a healthy balance.
What does it mean to cast all of our cares upon Jesus? Does it mean that all our problems go away? Certainly not. It does mean that Jesus has gone through far more suffering than we have ever seen. He knows our pain. He knows how to heal us. He reaches out to us daily and asks us if we want to be healed. We just need to take Him by the hand and accept His gift.
It is by grace we have been saved. It is not of ourselves. It is the grace of God. God’s grace heals us. We just have to trust Him. Amen.
Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrow; smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. – Isaiah 53:4-5
I have many sorrows sometimes.
I had never felt as overwhelmed as I was when I was recovering from COVID-19. After I tested positive for COVID-19 on September 1, 2020, I hadn’t felt like myself. I had been exhausted and angry. I had lashed out. I had yelled and cried and had meltdowns. It wasn’t normal.
COVID-19 is a malicious disease, and its long-term effects are not fully understood. Many “long haulers” like me have experienced depression, fatigue, and loss of appetite, well after the fever has gone away. I didn’t fully understand what was happening to me at first, and I was scared.
But the Lord has given me strength to seek professional help. He lined up many friends, family, therapists, counselors, and doctors to help me.
My church prayed for me. God knows the beginning and the end. He knows about suffering more than anyone else. He knows how to help me and whom I should ask for help. He won’t give up on me. Amen.
Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the Lord will keep your foot from being snared. – Proverbs 3:25-26
I have a lot of fear. I am afraid that I’m such a people pleaser that I won’t be able to take care of Jacob sometimes because I am so caught up in pleasing other people that I no longer have anything left to give.
I felt burnt out, exhausted and overwhelmed after my COVID-19 diagnosis.
It is a scary feeling to have no energy, not even enough strength to get up.
It felt like I was powerless when my energy plummeted during the third week of my COVID-19 recovery.
The Lord did not want me to feel this way. He wants us to walk in light, not in darkness.
He can calm the storm, any disaster, be it a raging wildfire, a pandemic, or a mental meltdown.
Our anger is to protect us, to tell us that something is wrong and that something needs to change.
Jesus asks us to choose life. We need to have the confidence to follow His lead when everything seems to be wrong and nothing seems to be right.
He loves us more than life itself. He wants us to be free.
We just need to accept it.