“I don’t understand how you’re doing this, Ashley.” I’ve heard this statement several times over the past few weeks, as my children and I stay secluded in our home, safe from any exposure to COVID-19. My answer? My God may come off a bit trite to those who don’t understand the supernatural power of Jesus Christ, but for those that do, this is a word of comfort.
My God. When I respond in this way, I’m merely saying that God loves me so much that he granted me the opportunity to experience long-suffering back in 2011 when I was battling a rare neurological disorder. I was home alone, mostly for about six months, completely uncertain of how things would end with my health. At the time, I was suffering from Psuedo Tumor Cerebri. This condition increases cerebral fluid level in your brain, which results in immense pressure on your optic nerves, causing temporary blindness. I was in extreme pain every waking hour, I couldn’t see, and the medications that doctors were experimenting on me caused me to lose most of my muscle mass, such that I was bedridden.
Some days I was optimistic as my headaches subsided, and my eyesight improved. In contrast, other days, I was utterly overwhelmed with the prospect of possibly dying of a sudden brain aneurysm. The fear of the unknown was debilitating, but eventually, I found my refuge in God. I sought him out diligently through scripture and desperately longed for revelation, as I listened to sermons. God’s Word ultimately healed me, and more importantly, what trained me to thrive in situations like the one we are currently in solitude.
During the quiet hours of the morning, when the sun was just yet up, I would sit in my sunroom and pray. I didn’t know how to pray like most Christians did, with the platitudes of higher-level language and scripture reference, but I did know how to talk to the ONE person who I knew could help me at this time. I’d talk to God for hours. Then, I’d sit and listen to the stillness in the air. It calmed me and reassured me that He was up to something I couldn’t see. In my Bible study time, I’d learned that the prayers of the righteous avail much (James 5:16), so when I spoke to Him, I knew with full confidence that He heard me and was already working on my behalf. I prayed for my health at first, but the more days passed by, and the longer I was alone with Him, my prayers changed. I sensed Him suggesting what and whom I should pray for. “Pray for Areshia,” He’d say. “Pray for your mom.” I wouldn’t always know why, but without fail, later in the day, I’d get a call or text from the person I was praying for telling me about a challenge they were facing. I quickly connected the dots: God wanted our connection to be a catalyst for Heaven’s power to be transferred to the Earthly realm…for “His Kingdom to come.”(Matthew 6:10)
The six months I have pulled away from the hustle and bustle of daily life was the greatest gift God had ever given me. Yes, I was lonely. Yes, I lost relationships with loved ones who didn’t understand my journey. Yes, I missed out on events and activities with friends. BUT, My God. My God transformed me into a more exceptional person than I would have ever been having I kept living a life so far from His presence. My God gave me new, fruitful relationships to replace those that didn’t survive my growth. My God gave me a new life with new mercies and unique favor that continues to feed and bless not just me but everyone that crosses my path.
During this time of “social distancing,” I encourage everyone to stop resisting the golden opportunity they have at hand right now to build a more intimate relationship with a God that will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19), never forsake you (Psalm 9:10), and forever direct your path (Psalm 119:35). Embrace this window of time to feel a Love like never before and be renewed by a supernatural power that will bring you peace beyond all understanding (Philippians 4:7). Cast all your cares on Him (1st Peter 5:7), and He WILL set you free. (John 8:36) You will no longer be a slave to fear and anxiety, but most importantly, as you walk in lock-step with God, you will walk in your purpose and fulfill your destiny. You will wake up and become your true self.