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Last Spring, everything shut down. My husband and I decided to make a garden. It took us about two months to build. It has two doors, raised beds, and a fortress fence to keep the animals out. Shoveling became my favorite activity. One day my elbow hurt, but I enjoyed digging so much I chose to muscle through it. That was the wrong choice.

Fast forward a few months. I could no longer lift anything with that arm or move it without extreme pain. I had to go to a specialist. Tennis elbow was the diagnosis. More like, “Garden elbow.” I said. The doctor didn’t laugh. I was to take anti-inflammatory medication and go to physical therapy. My arm has been aching and causing me pain for almost a year.

A year ago today marked the unsuspecting week before the shutdown of the world. We were preparing to celebrate my daughter’s birthday when it all happened. Her birthday last year was the last day of school for the kids here. I never imagined we would still be going through this.

I never imagined my arm would hurt this long, either. This morning I was lamenting my arm. I was frustrated that it still hurt. I wanted it to be better. I feel like there is no end in sight. I then thought about the pandemic. I began to think of how tired I am of it, how I wish it were over, how I want it to stop causing us pain and discomfort. I want to move on already!

That is when I realized if I stop going to Physical Therapy and stop using my brace, my arm pain would not magically go away. I have to keep fighting to get better.

The pandemic is the same. I can’t ignore it. I have to continue through the process whether I want to or not. The scripture in Ephesians 6:13-18 encouraged me today, especially what I highlighted:

13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

I feel like I have done all I can to stand. My arm still hurts. The pandemic is still limiting what I can do. I am desperate, but the scripture always has an encouragement to offer us. “Stand firm then…” I can’t give up. I have to keep going. When I feel weak, the scripture calls me to have faith and stand firm, relying not on myself but God above. Will you join me Standing firm?

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