Is There Ebola On My Shopping Cart?

P1010542Whose sweaty hands might have pushed this shopping cart before me? Someone with Ebola?  This was me: the face of normal suburban woman. With the mind of a panic-stricken psycho. That’s why I passed up the shopping carts that day, with my child on my hip, determined to carry all my groceries in my arms.

Hello. I’m one of “those” people with what’s been called “fear-bola.” And this is the very reason I was at the grocery store. I was  preparing for what my husband likes to call “the Zombie Apocalypse.” And by preparing I mean storing away some non-perishables and bottled water. Shampoo. Supplies. Etc. And by “Zombie Apocalypse,” I mean…well, use your imagination.

I’ve seen the movies people! I’ve seen Outbreak, and Contagion, and World War Z.  And if Ebola catches fire in America, the next thing you know is that everyone will start freaking out and looting grocery stores, and there won’t be anything left on the shelf, but a bottle of ketchup. My family can’t live on a bottle of ketchup.

This is why I was at the store: in case we have to bunker down. But because I was too freaked out about Ebola to even use a shopping cart this is what happened: I was carrying Selah on my hip, and stockpiling containers of oatmeal in my arms, like a real lunatic. But as she squirmed in my one arm, and I tried to load the oatmeal in the other—one by one, the oatmeal containers kept slipping out of my arms, and dropping onto the floor, and rolling down the aisle, picking up [I’m sure] even more viruses. Ugh!!

That’s when I realized: I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t hold both my daughter and my fear—without dropping something.

So…I abandoned my “plan” and marched to the front of the store. And I should have left right then, but I didn’t. I stopped at the front of the store and stared at the carts. This is crazy. You are acting like a crazy person, I told myself. But in my jumbled reasoning, I kept quoting from Proverb’s, “Look to the ant.” I needed to be smart. I needed to be ready. I needed to get food for my family. So, after a giant leap of faith, and a fist full of sanitary wipes, I wiped down a cart, snapped Selah in and reverted to my mission with more Mama Bear zeal than ever. ROAR!

Now with a cart, I could carry more. So, instead of going back to the oatmeal, I went for the “dog food” size bag of rice instead. More efficient, I told myself. Then I went to the water aisle. But as I’m plopping jug after jug of water into my cart, I see that Selah is licking the cart handle. Licking it, ya’ll! 

Ahh!!!??? “What are you thinking???!!!  

“Selah!” I looked in her eyes. Blue and wild with wonder. “Selah, don’t do that! Okay!?”

And at this point, I’m mad. I’m mad because I can’t control it. I can’t control her. I can’t protect her from anything..really. And there is no sanitizer for tongues. Yet.

When I got to the register, all that filled my cart was: rice and water. I awkwardly loaded my giant bag of rice and tried not to make eye contact with the cashier, or anyone around us.

Once we arrived home, I carried Selah’s tired little body in my arms and laid her down in her crib for her nap. And, just like that, she fell asleep. So peaceful. Without a care in the world.

And the memory came back then, of them both slipping out of my arms. Her and the oatmeal. And the oatmeal dropping on the floor and rolling. And of not physically being able to do it. Of not being what I wanted to be for her. As her protector. As her mom.

And I felt angry and sad and helpless. Because she licks shopping carts. And because I can’t protect her. And if it’s not Ebola, it’s terrorists, or school shootings, or a rare disease, or a car accident, or bacteria in baby wipes.

And I’m wrestling with all these fears, and all these emotions, and all these questions. And I feel pushed down by them all.  I just want her to be safe. I just want her fragile little girl life to be beautiful and safe and not interrupted or broken by the evil in this world. Is that so much to ask?

And suddenly I’m not just wrestling with fear. I’m wrestling with God.

Himself.

I’m wrestling, and wrangling, and sweating. God, I hate it here. Why is it like this? Why is it so dangerous and ugly and risky?

And why can’t I just be her savior? 

And I’m pushing all my force, and all my anger, and all my questions into Him. Where? Where God? Where can I go to get a life that is just…safe? And without pain? Or heartache? Just give me that life God! Just give her that life! Because I don’t want her to bruise, or bleed, or die..

And after too many words, and tears, I hear Him say in a voice so still and quiet, that it hushes me completely:

“Who do you say that I am?”

And it’s moments like these where I feel like Christ comes and presses my squirming, fighting body up against the wall, like a lover would, and whispers gently in my ear.

“Who do you say that I am?”

“Do you trust Me?”

“Do you know Me?”

And I’m held like this, in breathless stillness. No longer wrangling. But still. And small. And I feel His strength locking my weak frame in his arms and all I can do is weep…because I want to be held like this forever. 

And here in the weakest place, He wants the places of my heart that I most fiercely protect. And I just…let Him hold me. And I let Him hold her. My sweet girl. For her life is in His hands. For she was always His first, and mine second. And I can entrust her to Him, the very One who made her, and calls her His own, to watch over her soul. The part of her that will live forever.

Our world is full of risk at every turn. John Piper says, “We cannot avoid risk even if we want to..whether we stay at home under the covers or ride the freeways. You don’t know if your heart will stop before you finish reading this page. You don’t know if some oncoming driver will swerve out of his lane and hit you head-on in the next week, or if the food in the restaurant may have some deadly virus in it, or if some man with a rifle will shoot you at the shopping center. We are not God. We do not know about tomorrow.” —Don’t Waste Your Life, pg. 80-81

I do not say this trouble you, but to give you hope. To help you see that God holds the power of life and death. And He may not always do what is best for our physical bodies (which are temporary), but He will always do what is best for our souls (which are eternal). Whether by life, or by death. He will care for us…forever. With perfect love. In this life and the life to come.

So we don’t have to be afraid, and we can say, “Even if the earth quakes and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea; I shall not fear. (Psalm 46) And if an army besiege me, even then I shall be confident. (Psalm 27) And I will not fear the terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness. (Psalm 91) And if I perish, I perish with hope…in the Lord.”

But no matter what happens, nothing, I say this with tears, nothing shall separate us from the love of Jesus Christ. Not angels or demons. Not the present or the future. Not hunger or famine. Not ISIS or Ebola. Not fatal car accidents or cancer. Not heart failure or anthrax. Not bombs or bullets. (Romans 8) Nothing shall separate us from His love.

And whether by living, or dying, I want to know Christ. I want to proclaim Christ, for He is the treasure in this life, and the life to come. I want to say, “Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid; for the Lord is my strength, and my song, and He has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2

For soon, and very soon,

I will stand before Him. Face to face. My own eyes will see Him. I and not another.

And He shall ask me one simple question:

 

Who do you say that I am?

14 thoughts on “Is There Ebola On My Shopping Cart?

  1. Thank you for allowing God to speak through you. This post was very powerful and a great reminder that God holds us in His Hands always!

    • Sherry,
      I’m glad you could be encouraged by it. It was really difficult to write because of the complexity of how I feel, but I felt it was important to get these rather raw thoughts out and put them in the light of God’s truth. He really does want all those places of my heart that I so fiercely protect. And I’m so glad that He holds us and never lets us go.

  2. Thanks for your blog post. I have an anxiety disorder and some times I have to remember that the Lord knows what is best for us even if we don’t. That is something that I have been learning as I have been learning to deal with this disorder.

    • Hi! I’m so glad you could be encouraged by this. I pray that you will be set free from the anxiety as God reveals more and more of Himself to you. And that you will hope in His unfailing love. I’m so glad that our God is not far away, but near. And cares so very much about the intimate struggles of our hearts. <3

  3. I so feel this post. I wipe down every shopping cart, fearful of entero virus passing through our city. If I let my little guy ride in the cart. Most of the time I wear him. And last night he choked on gripe water that his dad gave him. I spent all night & most of today worried about secondary drowning. The world is full of fear and those who spread it. And it is also full of God & people who spread his love–the love that overcomes fear. Thank you for being one of those people–the ones with good news, with God news. I needed this tonight.

    • Keri,
      I love your response. And I am right with you. Fear. It just seems to just keep popping up in different guises. And now as a mom, it’s even worse. That verse has always intrigued me, “Perfect love casts out all fear.” Because I want to know that love, the God who loves like that, and I want Him to drive away all this fear and doubt and dread! Ah, thank you for seeing this. And you are right, the world is full of God too. And we need to invite Him every where and reclaim every territory fear has stolen for God. I desperately want to bring God-awareness to others. And at the same time, it can be such a fight to have the awareness of Him for myself! I am glad that your little one is okay:) And I’m also glad that He is constantly watching us, and loving us, and one day, when we are before Him, we will rejoice and jump up and down for His wisdom and power, when it is finally revealed to us. 🙂

    • You are welcome and I’m so glad you could connect with it. It was really difficult writing this one because of the complexity of emotions I felt, but I had to get it all out in front of me to see what was really in my heart. But I also knew I needed to write it, because these are feelings we all wrestle with as mom’s! P.s. I love the title of your blog! 🙂

      • I tend to resort to panic first, instead of fully analyzing the situation. My husband affectionately refers to me as tinfoil head because of my anxiety, LOL! Our mother instincts coupled with emotion and the sensationalism found in the media sure can add up to hysteria. You definitely are not alone! Thank you for bravely sharing this important message. 🙂 And thank you! My house is filled with coffee mugs and sippy cups, so I thought it was fitting.

      • Lol. You are right, the combination of fear, emotions, and media is a sure recipe for disaster! So glad God has a way of piercing through all that and assuring us, we can trust Him.:)

  4. Just been strolling through some of your older posts. Wow. I want to write like you when I grow up.:) You struck the very core of the panic I too often feel in my daily life. Because I spent the better part of my childhood and eight dark years of a first marriage in abuse, I think the ability to trust the Lord with my whole being has been perhaps the most significant challenge of my life. For me, danger has always been just around the corner, waiting to break me. Yet, this I call to mind: I am NOT broken! He was there at every turn, every hit, reminding me I was more than a punching bag to Him, drying every tear, keeping me sane in the midst of insanity. He rebuilt my heart and my life from scratch. Surely, I can trust Him with it all, right? Ah, would that I could say I always do now, but, well, let’s just say praise God for His generous learning curve!In my worst moments, I often think on my preschool teacher days and sing to myself: He’s got the whole world in His hands…and then, I smile that peace that passes all understanding smile and walk on a little lighter for having laid my burdens down like so many containers of oatmeal.: )

    • What a beautiful response. I am so sorry you have had to endure such a difficult journey of pain and abuse. May God continue to heal you more and more. How amazing that you have turned toward Him and taken safety in His shelter! It is so hard to trust, so hard to surrender–I’m not sure why. I have too always been trying to prepare myself for the “impending doom!” (Of what? I do not know.) But realizing when I live gripped with fear and the illusion of control–am I really living? So thankful He is gracious with us in our weaknesses and failings. And that He is gentle enough to reveal to us when we are not trusting Him, but ourselves. May God continue to show us and help us to surrender it in His hands. Like you said, “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” (That includes us!)
      I have really enjoyed your feedback and encouragement. Thank you!

      • Happy to be an encouragement.:) That is the terrific part of finding sisters in Christ, to boost one another in our walk. Naturally, I wouldn’t wish some circumstances from my past on anyone, but neither would I trade them, for they’ve shaped my faith. Time and again, He’s proven so true to me like no other!

  5. Pingback: Does Missions Separate Families? | Distant Fields

Leave a Reply