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Your new-look ADVANCE

Out of Control? Lessons Learnt During COVID-19

personal story:

God is in Control

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Zahara Rehrmann has given up so much the last few months - and she learnt a whole lot more.

Hi there!

My name is Zahara. I attend Summerhill Baptist Church in Launceston and live with my new husband, Thomas, in Riverside. I was baptised in 2018 and since then my life has been changed in the most beautiful of ways.

I want to share with you what I have learned since the start of this year because it has been the biggest test of my faith, and one of the biggest transformations, since I accepted God into my life. I hope this short story is an encouragement to you in your life and faith journey.

Gifts from God

On January 25th, 2020, the first case on Coronavirus was detected in Australia. On this day I was with my fiance, unpacking boxes and furbishing our soon to be home. We were to be married two weeks later, on the 7th of February 2020. I am shamelessly admitting that I am a control freak and so, coming to terms with the imminent lockdown threats was overwhelming.

Like any person, I wanted so badly for our wedding to be perfect. I had completely forgotten the fact that I knew God was with us in our preparations for marriage, it was so clear to us. Fast forward to today, our wedding was perfect, and we had the most amazing time travelling around Tasmania for our honeymoon and we are in our little 1 bedroom, 1-bathroom home.

This was truly a gift from God considering I desired, so badly, to go to Phuket for our honeymoon but Thomas felt led for us to travel Tasmania. I am so glad we followed Gods direction, otherwise we would have struggled to return from our honeymoon due to the lockdown restriction.

The Roller Coaster

A week after returning from our honeymoon I arrived to work fully refreshed and full of excitement. I was also prepared to begin my final year of my university degree (graduating in November). That week after returning from our time away, I got the news that it was highly likely that I would lose my job, and Thomas was unsure if he would return to his.

University was then forced to go online and, as we have all experienced, the restrictions piled on. My extroverted self, in love with the gift of hospitality, had everything stripped back. I had come to faith in 2018 after God intervened in my life when my mum was diagnosed with cancer and so the COVID story has been the first big test of my faith since then.

After everything was stripped back, I was left organising myself and creating a plan, as my inner 'control freak' does. The issue with this was that I could not think of a plan because I wasn't sure what the next week would look like!

For someone who loves 5 to 10-year plans, this gave me an anxiety attack. For the first time (ever) I knew that I was not in control of this situation. I was in the passenger seat of my first rollercoaster and I felt like I didn't have a seatbelt.

Some Critical Questions

I so desperately wanted to fall back on Jesus, because I know that God is our Saviour. But I had the desire to control the situation, which then made me question, 'Am I faithful enough?' and 'Am I a GOOD Christian?'

'Am I faithful enough?' and 'Am I a GOOD Christian?'

I felt like the answer to both of these questions was no.

Naturally, I felt defeated. I wanted to practice my faith through hospitality and spread love through friendship and companionship, but the law had restricted these things. The only resolution I had was to pray and, in some cases, was to take a big leap of faith and do things that I felt God was leading me to do.

One of these things was to apply for a full-time job. I got several interviews but in all of those cases, I 'missed out' by just the smallest portion. One person always pipped me at the fence. Therefore, I have ruled that path out and funnily enough, I still have my original position (the one that I was told I would probably not have at Easter).

The Learnings

I have prayed about my faith; I have asked others to pray and I have been in some great conversation about these things. I have not had an answer about what direction I would be taking this year (or the next), which normally I would be really frustrated with.

Instead I have experienced my life begin to change.

I love the slow down of life. I love the time I get to spend enjoying breakfast with my husband. I enjoy the sleep ins, the midday runs, the gardening, the cooking and the night-time movies. I have found the love for reading my Bible and the devotion for my prayers.

I have even found the time to relax and write this for you. I honestly don't know what I am doing with my weeks ahead of me. I love to imagine, and sometimes I get too excited to do those things and try and regain control but instead, (every single time) I have been knocked back and 'forced' to live my slowed down life.

I am not bitter, I do not worry that I am not faithful enough, I have realised that there is so much more love in the air. I love to go for my runs and smile at the neighbours. I love to practise my faith in new forms.

Action - and Re-action

One day life will be back to the busy, stressful, and rushed 5-day working week ('normal') and I pray that I remember these times, because they have been so important for my relationship with God.

I pray that I remember to smile at the neighbours as I pass them on my run. I pray that I continue to read my Bible every day. I pray that I have a desire to check up on people and remember their birthdays. I pray that I listen to God and test the pathways laid before me. I pray that I am a peaceful presence in people's lives rather than the fuel for stress.

I have learnt that I have no control over this situation, or any situation to come. I only have control over the way I react to events when they come up in my life. When life goes back to 'normal', I pray that I remember that God is great, and he has control over all things.

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