It’s amazing how quickly things can change. In a short period of time (although, some days it feels like forever), life for everyone has been greatly simplified. The things that once were normal—everyday things—are not anymore. We are now more than ever appreciating the simple things that we once took for granted: a hug from a loved one, getting to visit with friends, worshiping together as the body of Christ, going to work, or sitting at a restaurant. I know I never thought that toilet paper and going to the grocery store would play such a primary role in my life! We have all had to give up many things and we now miss what was once normal.
Recently, I experienced a new level of appreciation for the simple, everyday things. At the beginning of April, I became sick with COVID-19. I had really intense symptoms like a fever that wouldn’t go away and persistent coughing. I would get short of breath just moving about my house and had this heavy, burning sensation in my chest. This lasted for 3 weeks! Because of the infection in my lungs, things I took for granted such as talking, walking down the street, taking the laundry out of the dryer, or even laying down to rest, I struggled to do.
I remember one Sunday, my family and I were streaming worship service online and the worship team began leading us in song. Singing worship music is one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world, yet I found myself unable to sing without pain. I felt so discouraged, I just wanted to cry! I had felt like I had given up so much already with “stay-at-home-life” and now I couldn’t even sing or chat with a friend on the phone, take a walk to get some fresh air, bake a batch of cookies or even lay down to sleep and rest well.
I gained a whole new appreciation for just being able to breathe. Breathing is kind of a big deal and not being able to breathe at full capacity can be a very scary thing. Of course, I had heard all the terrible stories of people getting sick and ending up in the hospital or worse. I tried not to focus on what could happen and just tried to focus on the here-and-now, but I must admit that my struggle with fear was a very real thing for me. Fear of not getting better, fear of dying and leaving my family behind, fear of my kids or husband getting sick–-so much goes through your mind when you have nothing but time on your hands.
One morning, as I sat in my cozy “time with God” chair, I was pouring my heart out to God. I felt so afraid of what my body was going through, wondering if I would ever feel normal again, wondering if I could ever sing praises to the Lord again. As I prayed, I slowly began to surrender all these fears over to God.
In the background, words from one of my favorite worship songs came to my ears. The words from the song started to pour into my prayer…”I give You everything, to You I belong. Every beat of my heart, the breath in my lungs. All I am is Yours, all I am is Yours. I lift my hands up. God I surrender, all that I am for Your glory, your honor, your praise.”
As I mouthed these words to the Lord, I was reminded that every beat of my heart and every breath in my lungs is from Him. I was filled with such gratitude. I remembered that He is God and He is trustworthy. He’s in control and I don’t need to be afraid. My fears slowly melted away as I surrendered my all to the Lord. I told the Lord that no matter what was ahead for me, I would use every breath He gave me to praise Him.
There is such freedom and peace that comes from surrendering all to God, especially in times when we are afraid. Fear makes us feel helpless and powerless. But we are set free from fear when we choose to trust God and surrender to Him all that we have and all that we are.
From that moment on, instead of focusing on the things I no longer had, I chose to give God what I did still have. We may surrender out of a place of desperation, but as we choose to trust in the God who holds the world in His hands, the God who breathed the stars into existence, we can find a peace for our souls like no other.
It still took several more weeks to gain full recovery, but God walked me through it. Every time I was tempted to slip back into fear or discouragement that I wasn’t healing fast enough, I chose to remember that my God is mighty, and that He has me firmly in His loving hand.
As I was driving in my car from the store yesterday, singing from my favorite playlist, I was filled with gratitude once again at how great our God is and how faithful He is to restore us.
If you have been feeling fearful or desperate in spirit too, hopefully my story and this song that is my hearts’ cry, will encourage and empower you as you surrender all to the Lord.
“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” – Psalm 150:6