“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Matthew 11:28-29

The lifespan of a crisis is unpredictable.  You never know when a crisis is going to happen, and when you are living in a crisis, you just crave normalcy and hope the crisis will end soon. As many of us are learning in these “unprecedented times,” any crisis can be disorienting and anxiety producing.  In my experience, there is only one solution necessary to endure the uncertainty of a crisis: a strong faith in God. 

In October 2016, my husband (Bill) and I had a conversation about our “what next” in life.  Our children were all young adults at that point: our two daughters were married and we had just delivered our youngest son to his college dorm weeks before.  We spoke about how long we should work until we would retire, and then we both shared our dreams of what retirement might look like for us.  We had a plan for the next decade and a half and we were happy with the years ahead of us.  About three weeks after this conversation, we received the news that Bill had a deadly brain tumor.  When uncertainty shows up, all of our hopes, dreams, plans, and future can seem shattered. 

The year 2020 has been like no other for so many reasons, and we are only half-way through.  COVID-19 has changed many people’s hopes and plans.  The physical, financial, and psychological effects of this virus will leave many people hopeless.  We want to make plans and feel a sense of control, and when a crisis strikes, it is as if the rug has been pulled out from under you.  You cannot plan for a pandemic, and, from what I am learning, you cannot plan during a pandemic.  It is like a machine with several moving parts so there is no way to achieve the certainty we all crave.  This can so easily pull us into the trap of living in fear, trying to control little things, or driving up unhelpful anxieties. Our world is in need right now and we are all searching for answers. 

James 1:2 says “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds.” This is completely opposite to my natural response.  I do not naturally consider the loss of my husband or living through this pandemic a joy.  James goes on to say that we should be joyful when facing adversities because they build a perseverance that will grow us into the “mature and complete” individual that God created us to be, “not lacking anything.”  Crisis is certainly going to happen, and our Creator challenges us to find joy in overcoming adversities to come out better on the other side.  Finding joy in such a lousy situation is not an easy thing to do, but we need to have faith that He will make all things beautiful and new in His time.

As I approach the second anniversary of losing my spouse, I know without a doubt that the only thing that will give me certainty is to know Christ.  I cannot help but to reflect on how my life has changed over the last four years, from initial diagnosis to me sitting here as a widow. God has blessed me in ways I would have never known on this journey.  

How do you get through any crisis?  

“Crazy times shake our cage and if we seek God for Him to BE GLORIFIED it becomes the best gift we have ever received. “- Bill Gellerstedt’s prayer journal January 25, 2017

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