The Big Interruptions in Life:
I like to think I’m mentally strong. An overcomer. Fierce in my faith. Anchored in. However, the reality is that few of us are ever really prepared for the big interruptions of life. I’m not talking about the pipe that bursts, the flat tire that makes us late for work, or the pot of beans that boils over on the stove. I’m referring to the issues in life that are overwhelmingly “in our face.” The ones we can’t fix. Those that create insurmountable uncertainty and challenge our “seasoned” spiritual structure. For some, when life interruptions occur, fear of the unknown cripples them to the core of who they are.
For me, I felt numb. And my life interruption came in the form of COVID.
Our Stories are God’s Stories:
When I was asked to share my journey, I wavered. Did I really want to bare my soul to a world of people I don’t even know? I mean, after all, throughout the entire course of events, we told no one other than family.
Sometimes being a very private person can be lonely. But in my trusted little world and small circle, my family and God are everything that I need (aren’t they?). I’m not that person who openly shares or the one you read about on the Wednesday night prayer sheet. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that; it’s just not “me.” Maybe that’s from growing up a PK(preacher’s kid).
As I inwardly struggled and debated the pros and cons of sharing, I was reminded that this wasn’t my story. It was God’s. What He brought me through and allowed, warrants getting out of my comfort zone and giving Him the praise He deserves.
And so, my story begins.
May 8, 2021:
Fortunately, Hub (the name everybody calls my husband) and I are seldom sick. I’ve often joked that my claim to fame is that I haven’t “thrown up” in over 40 years. That’s a pretty good track record, right? Hub is like me—seldom a cold, never flu, and maybe one or two bouts of bronchitis in all these years. But somehow, this was different.
Hub came home from work with a serious fever. For days, (although without fever), I was totally exhausted and had zero energy. I was stuck on the sofa. Unable to move. And now my caregiver was sick as well. No big deal; the two of us could get through anything—together.
Mother’s Day May 9, 2021:
A big family gathering had been planned and we certainly didn’t want to miss that special time. After all, it was only a cold. So, we made the decision to miss church, sleep in, and then get ready for the late afternoon luncheon. The rest and cold pills worked wonders! We pulled ourselves together and arrived right on time. But as the day wore on, so did we. I had been struggling to breathe for over a week and was getting worse. For the first time ever, I had no reserve.
Finally, we went to Patient First where we both tested positive for COVID. Quarantined and on high-powered meds, I knew we would soon be well. However, our journey had just begun.
Sunday, May 16:
Our son came to check on us. Hub and I, both in bed, could hardly breathe. Insisting we go to the hospital, I pushed for Hub to go and insisted that if I could only get some rest, I would be okay. They both “bought in” to my illogical argument. As our son put Hub in his car, I stood at the door with tears streaming down my face wondering if Hub would ever come home or if we would see each other again. Hub was worried, leaving me behind. As he too cried and waved goodbye, I prayed for God’s mercy and went back to bed.
Hub was admitted to the hospital with his oxygen in the low 70’s. I was relieved he would get some help; I was going to get well on my own. By now, our daughter and her family also had COVID—and we felt responsible.
On Monday, our son came back to check on me. I was better! The rest had been effective, so once again I convinced him I would be okay.
By Tuesday, when he returned, I had “crashed.” My oxygen was in the 60’s. Our son waited with me in the ER for 19 hours and 15 minutes. No room was available. Hub, two floors above me, was trying to arrange me sharing his room with him. It almost worked. But I was too sick and would require more specialized care.
Receiving the Diagnosis:
I don’t recall getting to my room. My first moment of awareness were the loud noises, the beeping of the monitors hooked up to me, and the oxygen machine. I was quarantined. No visitors. I was also on high-flow oxygen. The nursing staff had to “suit up” from head-to-toe to enter. My initial thought was, “What in the world am I doing here? I feel FINE!” As the steady stream of doctors assessed my case, my life unraveled. The diagnosis was DOUBLE COVID PNEUMONIA. That is more serious than double pneumonia and COVID. My pulmonary artery was under duress, my spleen was enlarged, lungs scarred and completely compromised with a 5cm “unknown” in the left lung. Scans clearly showed this although doctors never determined a confirmed diagnosis. Thankfully, Hub was on the floor above me so we could at least talk on the phone. And together we prayed.
Finding Purpose in God’s Plan:
Finding purpose and God’s plan through suffering can be a challenge; however, it became my sole focus. I wanted to know why I was there. As I began to piece together the puzzle, God showed me His plan. I love people and never meet a stranger. And with my heart for others, God opened my room to the point that it became a “revolving door” of people needing Hope and someone to listen. One by one, nursing staff, doctors, maintenance, housekeeping, and those delivering meals heard the Gospel. I prayed with the doctors, witnessed to everyone entering my room, and led two nurses to the Lord.
In tears, they shared their hurts, secret heartaches, and sense of desperation. I told them about Jesus—the only Hope for all of us. As each person shared with others, more and more people poured into my room. I was humbled yet overwhelmed. And tired. And very sick. Numerous tests and scans brought more bad news. I was weary.
God gives Hope to Weary Hearts:
One night, after reading numerous scriptures, I asked God to give me rest. As I closed my eyes for the first time in days, I went into a deep sleep. God ministered to me in a very real way. I was in a beautiful, peaceful place, with many flowers. No, I don’t think it was Heaven; but I do know that God called me away to a very quiet place where He brought Hope to my heart with assurance that He was in control.
After two weeks, I was released—but not with a clean bill of health. Instead, I required oxygen 24/7. Doctors were clear they had done all they could. More than likely, this was the end. I couldn’t breathe on my own, my bones had deteriorated, muscles had atrophied, spleen was enlarged, and my liver and lungs were severely scarred. The weeks ahead were hard. My hair fell out in clumps. Four teeth fell out—no pain—no blood—just dropped out of their socket. I still had zero energy and was bedridden for weeks. The mental fog was almost debilitating. Hub, still in recovery himself, stayed by my side. We prayed and God gave me this verse
I sought the Lord and He heard me And delivered me from all my fears.” Psalms 34:4 (NKJV)
Little by little I began to gain strength. My hair grew back. We “got” more teeth.
It was then, my brother, David, a pastor, was taken Home to Heaven due to COVID. That was a set-back for me as I was too sick to make the trip to Atlanta for his funeral. “Survivor’s guilt” is real. David’s ministry was strong, and he loved the Lord. With a huge church and Christian school, God had taken him and left me behind. Once again I was faced with finding God’s purpose. It should have been me, I thought.
I still struggle. Oxygen tanks in both the front and back of the house are a reminder of my journey and are there when I need them. Ongoing tests and scans check for change, but my lungs and liver are still compromised and scarred. In fact, testing shows that my liver is one tenth of a point from Cirrhosis due to COVID damage. However, I no longer worry about tomorrow or my health. God brought me through a very dark place, so when I go for tests, I share my testimony of God’s amazing grace. He has put so many people in my path I would have missed knowing had I not experienced this course of events.
I can tell you…God doesn’t waste suffering.
He uses it to make us better. It’s our choice how we respond.
This is From My Heart~
Bonnie Lovelace is a contributing writer to The Hallelujah House. She resides in the Tidewater area of Virginia with her husband Hub. Bonnie is passionate about leading women to the source of her hope in Jesus Christ. You can read more about Bonnie or contact her directly, by clicking on the About Us tab on the Home Page.