Staycation: Quarantined by Corona (complete)

Quizzically, I watched my sister labor for each breath as she leaned, flanked by the foyer wall on the left side and her husband on the other. Exhausted! Walking from driveway to door forced her to pause, recovering in between steps. Slow blinking, gasping for air in between words, she attempted explaining, through the face mask, details of her hospital encounter and the presumed diagnosis of Covid-19. 

Weeks prior, the spread publicized through airwaves. Its reality materialized as my mom battled covid-like symptoms, having just returned abroad where a corona-positive tourist group was cordoned at her hotel. Threat inched closer as my nephews became violently ill in rapid succession, flu-like and covid symptoms co-mingling. Media hype mounted, fueled by fear versus trusting in the Truth. Memes and reports offered no humor or comfort in watching first-hand as my sister stretched for air that seemed just beyond her grasp. Holy fury seized me through battery acid prayers as I witnessed this evil clutch claws around my sister’s lungs, her words, her strength. 

Finally, the attack halted! Fevers were lanced, fatigue was eviscerated, shortness of breath was bloodied into submission! Strategic in prayer and fasting, armored with a spiritual arsenal, my tribe of interceding sister warriors came alongside. In righteous warfare, we deposed the “false crown’s” assignment, with electrifying fire in our bones and a thundering roar in our throats. 

Named for its “crown” like microscopic appearance, the virulent spread taunts and threatens to hold hostage. However, the only One worthy of the Kingly Crown is Jesus Christ! Could it be that the quarantine-masquerading-as-warden is actually rooting out what needs removal from our hearts and incubating what needs to be built and planted? Could this societal “selah” encompass more than the disruption of yestermonth, and instead, rekindle us with the Lord and one other? Could the present scenario be reviving our hearts to rescue and release souls in captivity (Isaiah 61:1)? 

Subsequent days-turned-weeks of recovery and quarantine have marked our family’s reliance on God and interdependence with each other. The change whirlwind has forced us to re-calibrate amidst shifting daily rhythms. Where my sister’s breath hovered between life and death, it demanded reset and riveted focus. Decisive moments like these catapult us, prostrate before the Lord, requiring that we synchronize with the One who is uncompromisingly the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8). 

And here, sandwiched between the pulse of productivity and the stillness of sequestering with the Holy Spirit, I yet listen for the Lord’s Heart, transmitting Heaven’s frequency through my keyboard’s percussive flow. He reveals that many families, including the collective household of faith, are being stirred by the Consuming Fire of God. 

The crucible of crisis is sticky with agitation, perilously corrosive, and prickly with pain. This time, however, is not one to nurse contention or entertain distraction. It presents an extended Sabbath of sorts, a holy time-out where God seeks to purify and unify in the melting. So, we can expect it to be excruciatingly uncomfortable as impurities rise to the surface–the ones that tarnish our ability to reflect His resplendence.  God is purifying Family in the crucible of what appears to be chaos; and refinement in this heated place is revealing the Hope of Glory in us (Colossians 1:27).  

Although the collective of events has stretched us, our family has made joint faith steps in a God-direction. A family meeting last Sunday afternoon turned up the temperature, and none could escape. Clearly, the encounter was scheduled on the Holy Spirit’s appointment calendar; but it was unplanned for us, and at first, an admittedly unwelcomed, combustible affair. 

However, abundant grace has enveloped us in the dancing flames of repentance and resolution. And I imagine that we will be suspended like molten metal until the dross is extracted and Christ’s reflection is seen in us (Romans 8:29). I’m beyond confident, though even in this awkward transition: He started it. He’s guaranteed to finish (Philippians 1:6).

Withstanding the discomfort of Sunday’s encounter, we listened to each other long enough to express our vulnerabilities. We aggressively excised several necrotic offenses and gangrenous misperceptions that had festered too long. The Holy Spirit drained the abscess, and this fostered a raw God-exchange of His Light, His Breath, and His Water to redeem the wounded place, from the inside out. In this space, He heard us as we heard one another; and He is yet healing (James 5:16). 

God’s hope and promise provokes awe as He transforms us in dark places whether socially distanced from others or quarantined with loved ones. I believe that He is preparing us to emerge, pulsating with the brilliance of His Glory.  This is the Lord’s desire for the entire Family: all who are made in the image and patterned after the likeness of the Everlasting Father, those already and awaiting to be transfused with the Blood of Jesus, and all people-kind who breathed in the Holy Spirit at Creation. 

Even in a time such as this, we have been gifted with reawakening passion for God and compassion for neighbors near and far. We intercede for nations and their respective governments. We restore those dis-membered from the Body with Healing Balm (Jeremiah 8:22). We break bread in homes and break hearts in repentant fasting and worship. We love across the street and around the globe. We reactivate zeal and preparation for prodigal siblings soon to return home.  Through all of this, I still see miracles, signs, and wonders. Corona’s intention to quarantine us into fear and death has actually resulted in the opposite: to further elevate and enthrone Jesus Christ in our hearts, the only one to be Crowned as King of Kings.

©2020 Angelique Thomas. Feel free to forward this article in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past articles or subscribe to receive these articles in your email inbox.

Staycation: Quarantined by Corona (part one)

Quizzically, I watched my sister labor for each breath as she leaned, flanked by the foyer wall on the left side, her husband on the other. Exhausted! Walking from driveway to door forced her to pause, recovering in between steps. Slow blinking, gasping for air in between words, she attempted explaining, through the face mask, details of her hospital encounter and the presumed diagnosis of Covid-19. 

Weeks prior, the spread publicized through airwaves. Its reality materialized as my mom battled covid-like symptoms, having just returned from international travel where a corona-positive tourist group was cordoned at her hotel. Threat inched closer as my nephews became violently ill in rapid succession, flu-like and Covid symptoms co-mingling. Media hype mounted, fueled by fear versus trusting in the Truth. Memes and reports offered no humorous comfort in watching first-hand as my sister stretched for air that seemed just beyond her grasp. Holy fury seized me through battery acid prayers as I contended with this evil clutching claws around my sister’s lungs, her words, her strength. 

This is the first segment of a longer article to be posted in parts. Visit or follow for the next installment. Thanks for reading, sharing, and subscribing. Enjoy!

©2020 Angelique Thomas. Feel free to forward this article in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past articles or subscribe to receive these articles in your email inbox.

Story

“Before there were people, there was God.” That was the early morning whisper that stirred me awake.

In the beginning, He was…He was the same from the beginning. And even here, as my story undulates and shifts again, He writes with fervency and intensity. He writes with goodness, streams of refreshing in the dusty places, and cherished remembrance in the forgotten corners. He weaves together the unlikely elements, crafting the tale that only He can (Romans 8:28). He is the scribe who imprints on my heart the story that He desires to tell of my life. So, here we are…in the beginning, and yet beginning again, God…

Before people, before my phone, before the coffee, the dishes, the floor to be swept, the committee follow-ups, the travel plans, the transfer from savings to checking, the insurance to pay. Before anything else, God. 

God, who is here with me in the dark of earliest dawn. God, who awakens me with utterances that anchor my soul for the emergent daylight hours. God, who is intimately aware of this unending need. He has already anticipated and provided in advance with unending supply. 

Before there was a wrestle, there was God. Before there was a worry, there was God. Before there was a me, there was God. God, who foreknew. God, who planned. God, who predestined. Before there was a blog, there was God. Before there was a book, there was God. God, who promised. God, who spoke. God, who sang. God, who inspired. God, who wrote, and continues to do so. 

Before there was a ready writer, there was God, the King of my Heart who fills it with thoughts of Him and the good matters testifying glory (Psalm 45:1). And there will still be God, even as the beginning evolves into new stories and developing plots. As He fuses scenes of our lives and cross pollinates them with others, the story of The Beginning and every beginning is God (Genesis 1:1). Fresh mercies abound and he serves them daily: wiping tears, relieving burdens, and imparting sacred knowledge and godly wisdom. 

He escorts us through the drama of daily adventure, detailing His heart on and in us. With each brush stroke, He ensures that the jots and the tittles sketch that this Word of His and the Word that He is, is forever settled (Matthew 5:18, John 1:1, Psalm 119:89). The middle winds and the tension mounts. He cultivates a plot that puzzles toward a hope-filled end, masquerading as distant and murky. He embodies the story of redemption, delivering healing, reconciliation, and restoration to the children He calls beloved. His is the narrative of exquisite creation, ecstatic overflow, lavish grace, and everything holy and pure, lovely and virtuous (Philippians 4:8). 

Yours, Lord, is the story that our souls crave. Daddy tell it again! Daddy, tell us the good part again. Tell us the scary part again. Tell us what happened when you did that thing that you did…again. 

Just like little ones inclined to hear their father tell the good stories, we long for the voice of our Abba to story His faithfulness. As recognizable as His voice may be, we discover nuance in every retelling, encountering Him all over again. 

We often need reminding of the plot shifts when everything appeared to war against us and no imaginable escape materialized. We must rehearse where you rescued us with renewal, rest, and relief. 

Tell us again where you opened the heavens and gave to us more than we ever imagined–Your entire Self and the promise of more. Tell us the story of You; For in doing so, you are telling the story of us.

©2020 Angelique Thomas. Feel free to forward this article in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past articles or subscribe to receive these articles in your email inbox.

This post is the result of weekly writing and engagement with an online writing community, led by Author, Kate Motaung. You can check out hers and other great writing here at FMF (Five minute Friday) http://fiveminutefriday.com/linkup. Currently, Kate is running a 10-Day Challenge in March to encourage members of our community to write for at least five minutes, using specific one-word prompts. Challenge participants will share their writing on the last day, March 12, 2020. Join us to read and refresh. Enjoy!

Abba’s Table

One groggy eye opened and the other firmly clinging to sleep, I peeked at my phone to check the time while morning itself was yet awakening. Double take! Did myopia play a trick on me? Widely, I opened both eyes and pulled the phone closer to see if what I was seeing was actually what I was seeing! It was a friend request from someone whose godly character, writing, and teaching I highly esteem. In my view, this person is a mini-celebrity and my jaw dropped in surprise and honor when she recently read and commented on my work, even responding to statements I’d made on social media.

I mean, the dog thinks I’m amazing, especially when she’s been walked and fed, but I wasn’t expecting this! I paused, “Hold up! Wait a minute!” You brought the scripture from Psalm 8 back to remembrance with a portion of this phrase, “what is man that you are mindful of him?” And almost as if I were in a music video with Israel Houghton on cue to sing in my room, I could hear the chorus echoing “I am a friend of God” on repeat in my head! I threw myself on that bedroom floor in repentance and worship so fast because I want awe for Your Holiness to flood my being. I don’t want to laud the acceptance of anyone who is welcoming me to sit at their table more than I surrender in exuberance to You.

Shaking my head, I realized that You are setting a table of good things before me. In fact, my friend, Bern, used to frequently quote the verse about putting a knife to the throat if we ever get too “souped” about being invited to the king’s table to dine (Proverbs 23:1-3). I understood what she meant, but I embrace the passage with greater clarity now. No matter how good the things or the people at the table, none is greater than you…none like, none beside. All the friend requests in the world from the most important people (those known to the masses and those known by me) are gifts to enjoy, not to idolize. 

It wasn’t terribly long ago that I experienced a deep wound from leaders that I regarded. I explored my history as part of the “soul work” to reframe perspectives of my past. God reminded me that if I had been included the way that I’d wanted at that time, that I would not have been effective. I would have been soft and squishy, which is great for my niece’s slime project, but the Holy Spirit was clear about bringing me there to sharpen and strengthen me! In that scenario, rejection served to manifest “the good” He wanted although I couldn’t see or feel it at the time.

Furthermore, I needed His revelation, compassion, and the enlarged heart space to pray, (and I really mean intercede, as my “old head” saints used to say ‘ring Heaven’) for these siblings in Christ. Otherwise, this recent encounter of my “famous” friend request would have festered into a bragadocious petri dish for pride and idolatry to sprout. Yet, God knew that wasn’t the growth He wanted. Instead, He has been maturing and multiplying spiritual fruit, massaging and moving things away and around, so that the character of Christ is formed in me (Galatians 4:19).

I am humbled as God brings His best: experiences and relationships, hand-picked with the intent of teaching me how to celebrate and discern both purpose and season. It means everything to me because He means everything. Though His best is the “all things” working together, as highlighted in Romans 8:28, sometimes the “all things” are devastating and excruciating. 

Still, He is the One who beckons me to the feast and sets the table…with the good things, the good people and in front of the not-so-good, which is also good (Psalm 23:5)! He’s teaching me how to respond to His request for us to dine together and how to savor Him at the table (Revelation 3:20). He’s feeding and filling me with abiding peace that the good and perfect (James 1:17), the who and the what served at the table, are gifts from Him for our ultimate good and His unending glory. 

©2020 Angelique Thomas. Feel free to forward this article in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past articles or subscribe to receive these articles in your email inbox.

This post is the result of weekly writing and engagement with an online writing community, led by Author, Kate Motaung. You can check out hers and other great writing here at FMF (Five minute Friday) http://fiveminutefriday.com/linkup. Currently, Kate is running a 10-Day Challenge in March to encourage members of our community to write for at least five minutes, using specific one-word prompts. Challenge participants will share their writing on the last day, March 12, 2020. Join us to read and refresh. Enjoy!

After

After this life. After human suffering. After death. After the showdown at Armageddon. After the lake of fire. After the New Jerusalem is adorned in the splendor of holiness.   

After invites. We open ourselves to hope and expectation of new life to come. Eternity future has been planned for after time as we know it has ticked its last “tock.” 

After beckons. With wars and rumors of more, after is the rapturous anticipation of encountering our Bridegroom face to face and reigning with Him, Bride by His side. 

After welcomes. I imagine my new name and the resplendent brilliance of indelibly-etched pure stone. 

After reinforces. I rest confidently in what was established before the beginning was known as the beginning. 

After challenges. I continue walking, even when I feel faint. 

After extends. The Hand of the Savior reaches, calling me to trust deeply, dream wildly, speak boldly, and hope fiercely. 

I long for the after, not only the other side of my now; but even more profoundly for the other side of here. After, I’m on my way…

©2020 Angelique Thomas. Feel free to forward this article in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past articles or subscribe to receive these articles in your email inbox.

This short post is the result of weekly writing and engagement with an online writing community, led by Author, Kate Motaung. You can check out hers and other great writing here at FMF (Five minute Friday) http://fiveminutefriday.com/linkup. Currently, Kate is running a 10-Day Challenge in March to encourage members of our community to write for at least five minutes, using specific one-word prompts. Challenge participants will share their writing on the last day, March 12, 2020. Join us for the challenge or the weekly link party. Read, refresh, and enjoy!

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