As a supplement to your normal small group routine or family discussion, perhaps you could read this story and then discuss the following questions as a family or group:
COVID-19 has ushered in disease, death, division, and fear. Despite the evils surrounding the pandemic, have you seen or experienced God in the midst of it? If so, how? Have you seen or heard of any stories of “Beauty and Courage” like the ones shared here? Discuss.
It was the third night of my COVID-19 infection and things were getting worse. Like the two nights prior, I was tossing and turning all night finding myself wide awake again at 3 AM unable to sleep. Rather than waste my misery, I decided to turn to God. We had a lot to talk about.
My Mom, Dad, Sister, and her kids all had COVID in Ohio and they were deeper into it than my family. The kids were doing great with minimal symptoms, however, the adults were struggling. My Mom had just been admitted to the hospital for the 2nd time and we were concerned. My twins were infected here in Colorado as well. My wife and youngest already had it about a year ago and we wanted to take precautions so they would not get it again. My body hurt, I felt miserable, and my head felt like it was going to explode. Yes, lots to talk about. Lots to pray about!
I had a sweet couple hours with the Lord that night. I sang worship songs to him, prayed extensively for my family, and listened. At one point, I was asking him if he was going to heal all of us. I clearly sensed “Yes!” And I clearly sensed yes specifically with respect to my mom who was the most concerning out of all of us because of her lung condition and admission to the hospital. It was relieving to know she would eventually be healed from the effects of this nasty virus as I drifted back to sleep that night.
With God’s tender love and healing promise in my mind from the night before, you can imagine the shock I had to wake up the next morning to the following text from my mom:
“Not doing so good. Covid pneumonia is getting worse. Please know I love you all so much. I have the best family ever. They are doing all they can for me. It is in God’s hands if I heal.”
Danielle and I called her as soon as we could wipe the sleep from our eyes and prayed with her. She could barely breathe. She thought she was going to die. We thought she was going to die.
The doctors did not have a good prognosis either. We were shocked and heartbroken. So much so, that I did not even know how to pray or what to say. I spent hours talking and singing to God the night before with thousands of words and now all I could cry was “Save my mom Lord, we need a miracle.”
My troubled heart and mind raced. What?! How could this be God? I thought I clearly heard from you last night that you would heal my mom. Now I am never going to be able to hug her again this side of eternity? Why?
I spent much of the rest of the day praying for my mom and asking others to do the same. We encouraged her to keep fighting and coordinated treatment with my sister, dad, and doctors.
My Mom showed great courage that day and going forward. She felt miserable and could barely breath yet texted “I am continuing to fight not giving up. Lots to live for…It’s just very hard.” When the medical staff met with her she asked “What are my chances [of living] here?” The doctor did not give her a direct answer but expressed his extreme concern with her preexisting lung condition and current situation. It did not look good.
Those who know my mom well, or even somewhat well, know that she ALWAYS thinks of others before herself. A rare and almost unimaginable quality, especially in our current “ME” culture. It is Jesus working through her as she lives out her faith here on earth. She is always ready to listen and comfort before talking about herself. Always asking about your day before talking about hers. Always knows family and friends’ favorite things and making sure they regularly have them. Always writing hundreds of postcards and cards to send to people with notes of encouragement. I could go on and on. There is nobody like her and those that know her well will tell you the same thing. She is full of beauty. Courageous self-sacrifice.
You would think that as she knocked on death’s door, her focus on others would fade a bit. It did not. As she met with the medical team that day, she described trying to find something in the hospital room for 20 minutes the night before and how tough it was. The staff asked her “Why didn’t you just buzz us, that’s why we are here?” “Oh, I didn’t want to bother you guys, I know you are busy.” At the urging of my sister and the nurse, she finally agreed to buzz them in the future if she needed something. She also asked them what she should do with the home oxygen bottle because she “didn’t want her [my sister] to get charged.” When I spoke to her that day she asked, “How are you today, Eric?” “I’m doing a little better, Mom” “Oh that is great!” she replied before talking about her bad condition. She rushed to get all the bills paid and paperwork complete that day so that my dad would not be bothered by it if she passed away. Always courageously thinking of others even in what was thought to be her last moments.
Fast forward to now and I am pleased to report that my mom courageously fought the disease during that second hospital visit and was released in much better health than when she arrived. Thank you for saving her, God! Forgive me for my unbelief in your healing promise to me that night.
We are so proud of her fighting spirit and so grateful to our good Lord for leading her down the path of healing and rejuvenation. I know for a fact there were hundreds of people praying for her from Colorado to Ohio. She continues to make slow and steady progress recovering from home as I write this, and it will be a long road to complete recovery.
There is another story of “beauty and courage” from the day my mom was admitted to the hospital and this one did not fall too far from the proverbial bravery tree. My sister, Devon, found out that my mom’s oxygen level was dangerously low for a dangerous amount of time while she was trying to recover from home. Because of this overly concerning symptom, she encouraged my mom to let her drive her to the hospital again even though it was only 1 day since her being discharged the first time. Mom wanted nothing of it. She was home now and wanted to stay there.
When persuasive arguments for why to go did not work, Devon got audacious. “Mom, if you don’t go the hospital with me right now, I’m going to call 911 and have the ambulance come to the house.” She reluctantly agreed to go to the hospital and on the way tried to convince my sister to take her home, she was fine. Devon had nothing of it. When I spoke to my mom a few days later she called my sister a “rock” and she could not have been more accurate although she was talking more about her care of the family who was sick instead of her firmness on going to the hospital. I believe it was that rock-like tenacity and immovable will that saved my mom’s life that day. This, yet another story of courage that should be told and celebrated among the people who love Kim Krajewski (my mom) for years to come.
My personal experience with the virus was 10+ days of feeling pretty miserable although I am grateful to have avoided the need for hospital care. The experience did give me more intimacy with God and was a good reminder to me of how beautiful God is and that he is near me (and you!) during good times and bad. I would argue that he draws closer, loving to show off his glory and tender love even more spectacularly during the bad times.
There is nothing beautiful or courageous about COVID-19. It is a vile and opportunistic virus with evil origins, in my opinion. Although I have come to realize since writing the first “Beauty and Courage” blog about my wife’s struggles with the virus, that it has a way of bringing these qualities out of people.
From first responders, to doctors and nurses, to prayer warriors. From my wife, to my mom, to my sister “the rock,” this virus is bringing out beauty, audacity, and courage in people in very powerful ways as they wage war against it. For that, I thank God, the very source and epitome of beauty and courage.
Yours in sickness and in health,
Director of Small Groups