There is a saying by Thomas Fuller: “We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.”

It is human nature to start taking things for granted when danger isn't banging loudly on the door. As an employee for a healthcare organization, and prior to COVID-19, I did just that. I had my work routine down. From the moment I woke up at 5:30 a.m. each morning, I would hit the auto-pilot button and be on my way. My paper calendar was my ”bible” and provided me with direction each day on where I needed to be and what I needed to do. It was no big deal to drive up and down the I-5, the 99 Freeway, West Ventura, the Antelope valley or the San Fernando Valley area as part of my work duties and responsibilities as a property manager. At home, I could come and go as I pleased. If I wanted to jump up on a Sunday morning and have breakfast with friends, do some shopping (whether intentional or just for ideas), look at new model homes in the area, plan a girls' trip—no problem. Attend the next supper club group gathering—not a problem. My husband and I recently transferred to a new church closer to home where we looked forward to attending each Sabbath. I took for granted night would turn into day, winter to spring, weekends would come after a long week at work, vacations, short or long, could be taken, high school reunions could be attended (I have a big one in 2020). Basically, I was free to move around the cabin and do whatever I wanted to do and go wherever I wanted to go—whenever.

All of that changed in mid-March. I felt a change coming at the end of February, but I had no idea what the impact would be to my life and the world as I knew it. Initially, I had a lot of anxiety as I am sure many had and many still do. From worrying about simple things like toilet paper, paper towels, food and hand sanitizer, things I completely took for granted that would always be there, to now having these items rationed, stepping outside with a mask for safety and participating in “surge” planning for work. It has become a very surreal experience. Once the anxiety began to fade somewhat, and being the reflective person that I am, I have had the opportunity to take a step back and look at how I had been living life before the pandemic and the things I have taken for granted. The following is a list of the major things that have changed in my experience:

1) God’s love and sovereignty. I am reminded that God is in control and has the right and the power to allow whatever happens to happen. He is wise, just, righteous and grace. He knows the beginning from the end. This reminder has increased my trust and faith in him no matter what. 

2) Prayer. My prayer life has grown tremendously. I am taking the opportunity while in isolation (even though I am still working), to spend quality and consistent time with God. I have joined a study/prayer group on Wednesday nights and started a call-in group on Sunday nights. What I pray for has also changed. Yes, I will continue to pray for God to vanquish COVID-19 from the Earth, to protect my loved ones, to be with those who on the frontlines and those who have personally lost loved ones, but I am  also seeking the Holy Spirit's abiding in me so that I can be used in some way, whether it be calling on my elderly friends who are also confined to their home, sending cards, calling people, praying with people; truly seeking to be used each day and not wasting my time worrying about this. 

3) Studying the Bible. Even before the pandemic, I had just come out of a dry spell in my spiritual journey and had recommitted to spending time studying the Word. I cannot begin to tell you how being intentional has changed my life. 

4) Family and friendships. So many lives have been lost as a result of this pandemic. As I grow older and realize there are more days behind me than ahead, I am convicted not to take my family or my friendships for granted. 

5) Work. With the staggering statistics of unemployment as a result of the pandemic, I count my blessings every day that I have a job. It may be stressful and frustrating at times, especially during these times. However, I praise God every day for the work assignment He has given me.

“Take not one minute for granted because that minute can never be replaced.” – Melody Carstairs