My wife tested positive for COVID-19. That was not the only positive our family experienced during that time.
First, I’m thankful that my wife has almost fully recovered. Finding out that she had COVID-19 was very scary as I recognize that not everyone experiences the same outcome. I do not wish this on anyone. Not only is the uncertainty of what could happen heavy, but isolating her from the rest of the family was very hard.
We have three girls (11, 5, 2), and trying to serve as a 5th grade and kindergarten teacher while taking care of the little one was a challenge in and of itself. Taking care of them, wiping butts, feeding everyone, cleaning the house, walking the dog, and trying to work was just too much for me to handle on my own.
If you are going through the same, I want to encourage you and share what worked for me so you can not only survive but hopefully come out on the other side even stronger.
There are not a lot of verses in the Bible that I know from the top of my head. Two of the most encouraging ones that I know are in the same chapter, Philippians 4. In this chapter, Paul, one of the most influential leaders of the New Testament, is encouraging a group of people he built into, the Philippians. This is what he said:
- Verse 6: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
- Verse 13: “I can do all things through him (Christ) who strengthens me.”
Paul lets the Philippians know that even in difficulties and struggles, we can find contentment. That we can find a source of comfort and strength beyond logical explanation. He is telling us (and the Philippians): you got this!
Hopefully, you are feeling a little bit more confident mentally and spiritually at this point, but you might still be thinking about the practical things that still need to happen. I was too. Here a few things that helped us survive:
- Rely on your community. People are tired of being stuck at home. They will love a reason to serve someone that they care about. Let them know what you are going through. Not convinced?
- They can encourage and check on you. You might need an adult to interact with—even brief text messages can make a difference.
- They can take care of your meals. Cooking is just another thing on the to-do list that you do not have to do, although you have to feed yourself and your family. We have experienced some of the best meals in a long time. Thankfully, people brought enough food to take care of our dinners and lunches.
- They can bring some fun surprises. We have had a few treats, coffee, and kids’ activities delivered. Not only did me and my wife felt loved, but our kids also felt cared for.
- Involve your kids. This might be obvious as there are just too many things to handle on your own, but here a few surprising things I got out of this week.
- Give everyone a role. Being part of a team is fun. We are all sacrificing when at home, so talking and operating as a team will bless you. My little one liked feeding the dog. My middle child enjoyed walking the dog. My oldest one helped entertain the kids by playing crafts, baking cakes. Of course, there were a few fights.
- Use technology wisely. It can be so tempting to have them watch TV the entire day, and honestly, some days, I felt that this was all they did. But something I stumbled upon was watching them record themselves doing something fun or helpful, and then watching the recording over and over. This, my friends, might be the holy grail of parenting hacks.
- Have a sleepover every night. The day was not long enough. We went to bed late, but it was fun. My girls and I all slept in the same room the entire quarantine and would talk, read, pray together. I even read an adult Bible study one night, and they all fell asleep (you’re welcome).
- Allow work to take a back seat. It would be naive to think that you will be able to help kids with school, everything else at home and work on top of that.
- If you can, ask for time off. This will let them know what is going on and might even prompt a few people to help with some of those meals.
- If you can’t, set the right expectations. If you are very organized, you might be able to squeeze in a few hours of work a day. Don’t stress about it. Your family needs you more.
- Regardless of your work situation, trust that this will be temporary.
Luckily, no one else in our house got sick. We made it through 10 days of my wife being jailed in her room. It was tough. I don’t know how I would have handled the entire situation if I wasn’t constantly reminded that I am loved by God and by the people around us. In this case, I felt Christ’s strengthening through the amazing community around us, and for all of them, I am very grateful. (If you don’t have community like that, let’s help you find some!)
If you are going through something similar, I am confident that some of these ideas can totally change your COVID experience and that there might be more positive things that you will get to experience beyond your diagnosis, too.