I tested positive for COVID-19 early in September 2021. While I’m sure I was not even close to being the sickest patient in the hospital, I was still very sick and scared, especially having friends who started out ill like me and ended up dying. I was not afraid of dying and going to Heaven to see Jesus, our second son Taylor, and many others. I was just not ready to leave my earthly family yet. As always, in my greatest need, God was there with me.
He has used COVID-19 to give me so many gifts, one of which is the last chapter of my book. I won’t share the whole story now – spoilers are a bummer for the last chapter – but I feel it’s critical now that I share the story of the most important gift of all, God Himself, and how He and the prayers of so many led me to healing through worship.
The 5th night I felt so alone and abandoned by God. It was a horrible night with crippling fears that my husband and daughter sick at home could die. Day and night I had many times of hyperventilating and panicking because I couldn’t breathe. It was difficult to keep my oxygen in the safe zone, and I wondered if I’d ever see my family again, including our other two sons Andrew and Shawn and their families. I cried out to God and He reminded me how I made it through our son Taylor’s death, in worship with gratitude. I was a worship leader at the time and positioned exactly where I needed to be during that tragic time.
While singing is not necessary to worship God, and despite my breathless condition, I felt God telling me it was okay to sing even though it seemed impossible at the time. Before COVID-19, my paralyzed vocal cord was giving me so much trouble that I could barely sing at all. With the memory of other miracles reminding me of His faithfulness, I decided to trust Him and pulled up my favorite worship song list. I knew immediately the best song was Breathe by Michael W. Smith.
I started… This is the air I breathe… I was able to sing the first line, then carefully walked through the next lines. With my confidence in Him working in me building, I stepped into a true place of worship, amazed at how much the gift He was giving me caused me to love Him more.
Then, moving into the lines And I…am desperate for You… I’m lost without You… I began weeping because it was in that moment – I knew at a depth beyond any other moment in my life – I truly am nothing without my Creator, and yet I am so deeply loved by Him. It was only because of His grace and mercy, He thought it best for me on that morning to be alive. He was waiting for me to truly surrender my whole literal life and Bethany’s and Gary’s lives to God. That meant He could choose to heal us on earth or in Heaven. I surrendered all my continued earthly dreams to him and felt such a load of heaviness off my chest. A deep peace settled in the room… I wasn’t alone. I was in awe I could sing almost the whole song without coughing!
As if to make sure I believed He was looking out for me, the next song that popped up on the list was another Michael W. Smith song, Way Maker. Being reminded, in case I’d forget, that He is here, working in this place… a way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness… I felt hope growing even more. Not to mention what I really needed, in the darkness of that night alone, was to tell Him,
Even when I don’t see it, You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working,
You never stop, You never stop working,
You never stop, You never stop working…
These words were added power to His air He was breathing into me.
I continued to listen throughout the day to my song lists, not always able to sing along, but my spirit was singing. After each nap, I woke with one of them playing in my head, feeling so loved immediately in my loneliness. It was so beautiful.
My healing began accelerating that day, as well, and over the next few days my oxygen levels gradually stabilized, preparing me to leave the hospital. In addition, my hand which had been partially paralyzed from the illness started to heal – before I left the hospital I was able to start opening it again. Today I can type normally, and this morning I hand wrote in my journal. Healing began when I was at the weakest point of my entire life, and it began in the center of the purest worship I have ever experienced.
The most precious gift of this experience is the deeper understanding I now have of the gospel of Jesus, after 55 years of following Him. Because of sin in the world, I truly am nothing, not even physically alive, without my Savior Jesus and His loving act of dying on the cross for my sins bringing me life on earth and in Heaven.
Going back and reading my last sentence doesn’t do justice for what I feel, but I hope and pray you can experience His love in exactly the way you need, to see Him more clearly in your life.
I’m sharing my favorite song list here, hoping maybe you can wake up with one of these songs in your mind each morning, stepping into a time of worship you won’t forget. I did this morning and was able to sing again today! Thank you, Jesus!
Breathe – Michael W. Smith
Way Maker – Michael W. Smith
What a Beautiful Name-Agnus Dei – Travis and Lilly Cotrell
Is He Worthy – Chris Tomlin
Agnus Dei/King of Kings – Brook Ligertwood, Jenn Johnson, & Chidima Uubah
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.