Confessions of a Homeschool Mom – When RSV and Swine Flu Hit Our Family
A good friend of mine once said that the benefit to growing older is that you have more testimonies of God’s faithfulness as you walk this life journey. I have found that to be true and, as we face this new virus affecting every continent, folks are beginning to panic. Evidence of this panic is obvious when you walk into the local Wal Mart. As you may or may not know, FEC has monthly supply needs like toilet paper, paper towels, soap, hand sanitizer and cleaning supplies. We order from Amazon or get our supplies from Wal Mart, but suddenly we are in a position where the costs have greatly increased and some of the supplies are not available. The same is true for other schools and medical facilities. Folks have cleaned out the supplies and we now have to spend time searching for these needed supplies.
Also, this same week, I have been alerted by my own doctor about staying home and working from home. If you do not know, I am an immune-compromised American citizen. I have had Type 1 Diabetes for 35 years and have to be cautious of various viruses.
If you listen to the news, every channel is highlighting how to avoid the virus, how to wash hands and even today, President Trump indicated that there may be a cut in payroll taxes in order to help the faulty economy.
So many of us have spent time worrying about this virus. But, if we are worrying, we are living contrary to what God intends for us. Worrying, according to scripture, will not yield anything productive. Instead, we should be actively pursuing our Heavenly Father, who is taking care of us.
In 1997, there was a particularly bad spread of RSV and my son, Seth, became very sick with this virus. Children can die from this virus and I really just thought that he had a bad cold. He ended up in the hospital for several days and for several months after this, it was recommended that he stay home and receive daily treatments to help him breathe. Then, in 2010, my oldest son, Wesley, came down with what seemed to be a cold. He was sick for over a month, during his senior year, in March and April. He ended up in the emergency room, very lethargic and completely dehydrated. We discovered that he had the Swine Flu. This strain began in 2009 and lasted until mid-2010. Various sources suggest that 50,000-150,000 were affected by this disease and over 14,000 died worldwide. If you research this disease, you could accidentally feel like you are reading TODAY’s news about Corona Virus. Wesley became sicker as the weeks went on – it seemed to be a bad cold and the stomach bug combined. He missed so many fun things during the spring of his senior year. His friends kept in touch, encouraged him and he continued to keep up with work as much as he could. He eventually received some treatment and, in time, recovered. Both boys went on to recover, receiving lots of TLC from mama. In addition, their immune systems, through these viruses and others, have become quite strong and they are usually very healthy.
My point in sharing this is that there is NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (please read Ecclesiastes). These diseases are going to keep coming – the enemy is constantly shooting these arrows at the world. And while we cannot control what challenges come to the human race, what we can do is rest in our heavenly father.
Over the last few weeks, I have been asked what our ‘plan’ is for this illness. What will we do if other school systems close? How will we change our cleaning protocol? I have been ‘warned’ by people that they may not attend for a period of time. Others ask if we will charge tuition if we have to close for several weeks.
I want to encourage you on several fronts.
First, the disease in 2010 was JUST AS BAD, but not nearly as shared in the media. Ten years ago we were just starting to have this amazing social media phenomenon light up the airways. It seems worse now because we are hearing EVERY piece of news on the Corona virus. We know immediately when someone else dies. We know immediately when someone else contracts the virus. It is just the way that it is, so I would encourage you to ONLY listen to the news once a day. Or only check one website each day…I would recommend the CDC site.
Second, I would encourage you to spend MORE time in scripture. Read about our heavenly Father who split the Red Sea in half so the Israelites could cross. Read about the heavenly Father who sent His son from the heavens on high to a young girl named Mary. Read about the heavenly Father, who protected that little Jesus as they escaped to Egypt. Read about the heavenly Father, who defeated death after Jesus was brutally murdered. And there are so many other stories that we should ‘swim’ in when we are scared and nervous.
Third, pray that God would protect our little community and each family. Pray that He would protect our state, our county, our community. Pray also for our administration, that God would give wisdom as we make decisions about when we will meet. If you were with us last year, we had 7 snow days and still our students continued with their education. We have had only 1 real snow day and that was on the day of our Christmas Party. If we have to take off some ‘sick’ days, we will do so. But the learning will continue. Teachers will still post HAS forms, provide assistance, videos, etc. in order to keep your children learning. The school year will not fall apart!
When my children used to have terrible fear, I would ask them to consider the WORST thing that could happen. They would list the worse scenarios and we would talk through them. Unfortunately, folks are becoming sick, so we should expect that some among us will become sick. Most of us are healthy and will ‘weather’ this storm. I would ask that you pray for me and others in my ‘station’ in life. I am over 50 and not a terribly healthy person with the Diabetes. Play for protection for folks like me, but pray for our WHOLE community. Being prepared with healthy food, soup, some symptomatic medications and perhaps a stack of books and word puzzles to avoid boredom are good things to do. Think through an area of your home that you can use as a sick room to keep the germs somewhat contained. These are reasonable things that can help you be prepared. There is nothing wrong with preparation, but prepare with calm and confidence in Jesus.
As for school and closing, we will provide weekly updates. Tuition will continue so that we can pay our teachers, especially as they consider how to serve you at home (in the event of a closure).
This storm is just that – a storm. It has affected the economy, the health and wellbeing of everyone in this country. But let us remember WHO we serve and let us remember WHO is on the throne. Let us rest in Him, be confident in Him (even if the storm hits home and we suffer with illness) and let us remind each other of His tremendous faithfulness through the ages. Consider the Israelites standing on the beach of a huge sea. They could hear the gallop of the horses, the call of the enemy coming after them, the trumpets sounding in the distance. They were trapped between Pharaoh and the deep waters. What would they do? Their children would drown, they would suffer a horrible death. God had failed them. Pharaoh would win.
BUT GOD. A loud roar began, winds were whirling, something was happening. Hands seemed to appear and seemed to be scooping the waters aside. How was this possible? There was land that they could actually walk on and they began to walk. On the cavernous, bumpy ocean floor. They walked. As they passed, the hands that had scooped up the waters, began to put the waters back where they belonged. Soldiers drowned. Horses drowned. Pharaoh drowned. Let us remember these hands that separated those waters and remember that HE will be with us.