by Noelle Kirchner
Sophia is the Greek word for Wisdom, and Propel Sophia seeks out the voices of truly wise women and asks them to share worked examples of how they express faith in daily life. Pull up a chair at Sophia’s table, won’t you? There’s plenty of space.
It started out as simple congestion, so we did little more than keep an eye on it. But by day three, my husband lost his sense of taste and smell. We got him tested, and he got a phone call from the doctor: He was positive for COVID.
His diagnosis was challenging in two respects. First, there was the fear of the unknown. He is a healthy man, but we were aware of stories in the news that sometimes COVID takes an unexpected turn. He monitored his pulse and oxygen level. He rested and took several key vitamins.
While he was isolated in our basement, our other challenge was our concern for the health of our three children, one of whom is only one. My older two boys and myself distanced from each other and wore masks as best we could, as I cared for the baby. We persisted until everyone could get tested after the incubation period. Meanwhile, the baby had mild symptoms. I was exhausted, but we banded together, grateful for food deliveries from friends.
Each of my three children, including myself, tested negative. My husband fully healed after experiencing very few symptoms. We marveled at the fact that he had gotten sick at all, because we had taken the necessary precautions seriously. Thankfully, those precautions had aided his recovery and kept the rest of us from getting sick.
COVID had hit our family in a personal way, and my husband and I wanted to do something to help others. The infection rate was rising on the news and among people we knew. It felt empowering to respond to Jesus’ call to spread a little light in a time of darkness. I thought of my friend Amanda.
Amanda founded a local assistance effort for people who need everyday essentials. The number of people coming to her had multiplied since COVID, as had the breadth of their need. Many were sick, needing work without the language skills to find it, and mired in food insecurity. Though she had rallied a veritable army to help, she mentioned particular needs for toilet paper, paper towels, and disinfecting wipes. My husband and I had wanted to give to her organization in the past; it seemed like the perfect opportunity.
We mentioned a donation amount to my friend and connected her with another contact who runs a local paper and office supply company. I left the selection of necessary items to her discretion, expecting she’d stock up on the toilet paper, paper towels and wipes she’d mentioned before. But on the day of delivery, she told me that she had looked through the supply store’s full list of items and enthusiastically picked something else. She had bought cases and cases of aerosol disinfectant spray cans. “Your donation will allow me to give one can of disinfecting spray to every one of our people living in senior living. COVID is rampant there. This will help protect them,” she said.
My eyes began to tear. Since my husband’s diagnosis, we had learned of three extended family members with COVID. One had passed away in a nursing home without us being able to go to them. The way she used our gift unexpectedly honored the memory of our loved one by going where it was needed most.
God gave me assurance in that moment that he was there, even in this difficult time, to heal. His therapy went deeper than healing my husband to touching our private grief. Matthew 5:4 says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” We knew God saw us—and he comforted us.
But it was also more than that. God is an overflowing God, and his comfort spilled over to others. We saw the words of 2 Corinthians 1:3–4 actualized: “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” Even as we grappled with the pandemic and our own storehouse felt empty, we gave in honor of Jesus. Doing so allowed us to open and share the gift of his grace.
Rev. Noelle Kirchner, M.Div., believes we don't have to live with full schedules and thin souls. A busy mom of three boys, she is an ordained Presbyterian minister, regular contributor to Crosswalk, and the host of a faith and parenting TV show "Chaos to Calm'' with on-demand episodes. You can connect with her on her website (noellekirchner.com) and also check out her new book, How to Live Your Life Purpose: The Six-Step Journey to God's Best.