I was talking with my husband Robert about what I should share on a webinar I was about to jump on to give encouragement during the Coronavirus outbreak. In this post, God is Our Refuge and Strength a Present Help in Trouble, I shared how my first go-to stance when something tragic happens is denial.
I think, oh, this can’t be happening. Denial is a coping mechanism, so it’s only natural to be in denial. But as soon as I said those words out loud talking to Robert, I said, “Holy cow! This is grief! We are going through a grieving process right now!” That had never occurred to me.
Loss and Grief with the Coronavirus
Think of all the losses associated with the Coronavirus:
- We’ve lost our normal
- We’ve lost all the activities we are used to doing
- We’ve lost major events: sports, weddings, trips
- We’ve lost being in our every-day environment that brings us life in community, school, work, church, team sports
- We’ve lost the security of buying every-day groceries because they are no longer on the shelf
- We’ve lost security with the financial markets
- We’ve lost jobs and income
That’s a LOT of loss!
The Stages of Grief
This is not to be depressing but to encourage you that it’s NORMAL to feel the five stages of grief right now:
- Denial and isolation
- Bargaining with the what if’s and God
So take comfort in knowing that this is a grieving process.
We’re certainly going through those stages. Plus, we can’t even surround ourselves with the people that we love because we’re supposed to be distancing ourselves from others.
Focus on What’s Happening Within You Not Outside You
This now normal is new for everyone. There is certainly no certainty what will happen. That’s why it’s so important to pay attention to what’s happening within you more as opposed to paying attention to what is happening outside of you.
I love what Philippines 4:7-9 says. And the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable whatever is just whatever is pure whatever is pleasing whatever is commendable if there be any excellence and if there be anything worthy of praise. Think about these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Lean on Faith
What we really need to lean on now during this time is our faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
We certainly can’t see what will happen, but we can be certain that God will provide for us.
Prior to this Coronavirus happening, I wrote a post called Banish the Tyranny of Feelings of Not Doing or Being Enough. I talked a lot about not allowing busyness to make you feel less than. Now that busyness has been taken away!
So this is a time for you to look at what God has put on your heart that you’ve just been too busy to get around to doing. Or maybe you just thought about doing it but haven’t done anything about it. I encourage you to take this time to meditate on what that is.
Here are some things you can do to guard your heart and guard your mind as well as how to listen to what God may be saying to you during this time.
Overcoming those Grief Symptoms to Find Peace
Take time to be still. Journal. Immerse yourself in prayer in Scripture and meditation. The meditations I’ve created can help you to quiet your mind and listen to God.
Get your feelings out. Call a friend. It’s important to express your fears and how you feel.
Meditate on the 23rd Psalm or any number of Psalms. Choose a gospel to focus on and read then meditate on a chapter at a time.
Listen to soothing music. Feed your mind with inspirational books.
Take Time for Self-Care
Take this time to practice self-care. I know that stress eating can be a go to response particularly now.
A six pack of beer and two bags of Doritos are not going to help you! You may feel good in the moment, but you’re going to regret it. You will open yourself up to shame, guilt and not feeling good! Plus, it’s not healthy.
Eat well, get enough rest, drink enough water, and get in exercise. A walk is great and will get you into fresh air. Right now there are plenty of fresh alternatives at the grocery store. So take this time to really take care of yourself.
This Coronavirus situation has made me a lot more mindful and a lot more grateful. My son is a supply tech for a major hospital here in St. Louis. His job, along with all the health care workers have always been important. But I am now so mindful of these people, working under tremendous physical AND emotional strain.
I’m mindful of all the people that provide us with food. The truck drivers, the train operators, the conductors. The people that are stocking products on the shelves in the grocery stores for us.
I’m mindful of those people that have been affected and have lost income and lost their jobs.
Practicing Gratitude to Combat the Grief of the Coronavirus
I was listening to a podcast the other day about happiness and about gratitude and what gratitude can do to literally rewire your brain. In the past I’ve heard people say to think of three things you are grateful for each day. But unless those things are new each day, the brain won’t rewire.
So, think of three new things you can be grateful for each day. Think of these things with another habit like brushing your teeth each night. Then you will go to sleep with a grateful heart instead of a worried heart.
Even more impactful is to reach out and do something good for another. Write an email of appreciation, call someone, send them a card.
Practice this gratitude habit so that you can have greater peace and not dwell on everything that’s going on in the outside world.
I know that we are going to come through this. I know that this can be an opportunity for growth. I know it may not seem like it at the moment, but growth only happens when we are given a test or challenge.
You are not alone. We are all in this together. And you are certainly not alone as God is with us always. Stay encouraged.
What are you doing during this time? Can you resonate with this post? I’d love for you to post your comments below. Have a prayer request? Post it in the comment section so that all who read this post can pray for you too.
Resources for Peace and Encouragement
These meditations were created to engage with God in a deeper way to experience peace, clarity, and to embody the fruits of the Spirit. God Notes – Daily Doses of Divine Encouragement is a unique devotional, there are no dates so you don’t feel guilty if you skip a day. Most people open the book at random to see what “word” God has for them. More resources are at the JoyAndFlowStore.com
lisMarch 22, 2020 8:47 pm
hi Jackie, l am grateful for your connect.
A week ago, four days after placing my 23 year old severely autistic nonverbal son in emergency care, the ‘shut down’ was enforced and l am not allowed to visit him at his new Residence. It is the first time in his 23 years that l have been separated from my son. As he is non verbal l cannot even speak to him online or by phone. He requires care like a two year old but in a 23 year old body.
I am broken hearted as l try to trust that God cares personally for him and that he will protect him. Does God actually care about individual situations like this? How do l as a Mom get past thoughts that my son might feel that l have abandoned him to total strangers in an environment unknown to him. Does God actually hear my cry?