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OPINION

SGLY: The many faces of COVID

By Tiffany Chartier
Special to the Bryan County News
Tiffany Chartier

COVID-19 is unpredictable. It has many faces, one of which is my 17-year-old daughter. Those who think COVID is a hoax or solely likened to a bad case of the flu, stop reading. I do not intend to change anyone’s mind or spark a debate. I am too tired to bang pots and make disagreeable noises of controversy when I could be using the pot to make soup for my daughter. And that is precisely what I am doing – caring for her. And because I also care for you, I write to share our truth as we have lived it the last week and counting.

I know this virus affects people differently. Some have COVID and do not realize they have it; others are fighting for their life, or worse, have lost the fight. I have read the news. I have seen the pictures. My heart continues to ache while doing my best to take the recommended precautions. Even still, COVID somehow crept through a crevice in our home and cracked our lives open.

She had no symptoms the day before- no underlying health issues. I had recently taken my daughter to the dermatologist for “facemask acne,” as she is required to wear her facemask while at school, and her skin has become quite irritated. Apparently, “facemask acne” has kept dermatologists busy as the doctor explained the many options available for this now common condition. We left feeling hopeful, pleased to have a possible solution. What we did not realize was a new problem had already surfaced — one with, at this present time, no solution.

At 3:00 a.m. the next morning, my daughter woke me, crying and groaning. She could barely stand. She told me she hurt worse than she had ever known.

“Where?” I asked. “Where do you hurt?” I flipped on my nightstand light, rubbed my eyes, and tried to take her in. She was pale, shaking, and wobbling. “Sit down,” I told her, patting the mattress.

She sat and gripped the comforter with fisted hands. “Everywhere,” she sobbed. Her eyes were wet and pleading. “My head won’t stop screaming, Mama, and my muscles hurt to touch.”

My husband took her to the emergency room. Almost an hour later, I received his call: “She tested positive for COVID.”

What happened to the happy and hopeful girl who was with me less than 24 hours earlier? It was as if someone snapped their fingers and changed the scene. There was no intermission. No time to adjust.

The days that followed have been unlike anything I have ever experienced. I begin to think my daughter is improving; then, we get blindsided with a re-emerging of a symptom we thought had passed or a new symptom. Horrific headache, nausea, joint pain, and muscle aches. Chills. Dizzy and weak. Lack of appetite. Loss of smell and taste. All the while, no fever. She does not want to get out of bed and repeatedly tells me, “Mama, I can’t.”

In her “can’t,” I must ask myself what I can – WHAT CAN I DO?

The answer is sobering. I cannot heal her. I cannot stand in her place, no matter how much I wish this were possible. I can only love her, care for her, and tend to her needs. But there is something more I can do.

I can trust in God to do what my daughter can’t do… what I can’t do. Years ago, I learned from a Bible teacher that God does not give us a map to show us step-by-step how things will work out, but He does give us a compass in His son, Christ Jesus.

How carefully am I looking to Jesus during this time?

My doubts are quieted when I look at the Lord. But I must confess, there are times of late, even just moments ago, that I have been more focused on my concerns than the Lord’s control. I am thankful He remains faithful even when I am weary. Because I am weary, I know what I must do:

I must protect my mind in the Word of God.

I must exercise my faith more than my fears.

And I must be more Christ-centered rather than self-centered.

My trust in God is required. God’s plan always has a destination, and I must trust Christ to lead me there. I walk in faith, not forgetting how far He has already taken me.

The walk shared by our family has been eased by those who shine Christ’s light upon the path. From comforting texts to helping with groceries, many have demonstrated God’s love in action. These helpers, encouragers, and servants of the Lord are also the many faces of COVID. And we are so very thankful.

This journey with my daughter continues. Small improvements are big victories, and I pray that she is well beyond the worst when these words are read. COVID may be unpredictable, but God is reliable, unfailing, trustworthy, enduring, and unshakeable. Where better to place the prayers for my daughter than in the hand of the One who created her?

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).

SGLY, dear reader.

(Smile, God Loves You.)

Tiffany Kaye Chartier is a Christian author and opinion columnist. Submit feedback and connect for more soul lifts on Facebook: Tiffany Kaye Chartier; Instagram:@tiffanysgly; and Twitter: @tiffanychartier. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.