A Note to Those Fearing Zika

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I can easily place myself back in that little blue metal chair, eyes staring out the window, half expecting to see something horrible unfold at any second.

My first grade classroom. I had learned the night before about a school shooting. I can’t tell you now which school or even which state it was in since there have been so many similar incidents. The feeling is what stuck with me.

I’m not in control. This could happen to me. This could happen at any time. I”m not safe. There’s nothing I can do about it.

That’s my first memory of my own manifestation of this realization. And I’ve since encountered the same feeling many times. I’m sure you have too. It’s awful. It’s stressful. It’s sobering, and in a way that I’m going to attempt to explain, it’s freeing.

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I’m trying not to click on too many links which include the word “Zika”. Maybe you haven’t clicked on any. I can almost bet you have if you are pregnant like me. Basically, it’s a mosquito-spread virus linked to fetal abnormalities which also has the potential to cause scary symptoms in healthy non-pregnant adults. Up until now, it has only been found in certain areas south of North America, but now it is believed to be sexually transmitted by people who have contracted the virus while traveling in those areas. Not only that, but they are suspecting the virus to spread through mosquitoes further north, possibly soon (but who knows for sure since media likes to exaggerate a little).

In short, it COULD get bad.

And I’m back in my first grade 60 pound body, staring out the classroom window in a slight panic, trying to formulate a plan for how to shield my family from a potential threat.

So I do what most pregnant people are doing right now: search the internet for the best ways to prevent mosquito bites. I find information stating that DEET products are considered safe, but then I also read a lot of other suggestions that it has known neurotoxic side effects. Who do I trust? I certainly don’t want to coat my body in this substance for the next 3 months when its’ side effects may be worse than the stupid virus. So I find some natural remedies made with essential oils and pray that all of the “experts” are right in saying that they are “likely safe” in pregnancy.

And then I panic when I consider how much mosquitos love to bite my husband. I guess he’s just that sweet. Now I will have to keep him covered all summer.

Slow down, Kristin. We don’t even know if the virus will spread up here this summer, or ever.

I don’t think it hurts to be prepared in the best way possible, but I’m trying not to let it consume my mind.

Pieces of Psalm 34 pop in my head.

“I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all of my fears.…Fear the Lord, you his people, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”

I ultimately have zero control over any worldly trouble. And when it comes to Zika, I have to remind myself that my babies are more likely to be harmed in a car accident than from a mosquito bite.

Having no control is frustrating, but it’s part of life. Should I become obsessed with preventing harm and forfeit enjoying life when bad things are almost guaranteed to happen regardless?

God can deliver me from ALL of my fears. He doesn’t promise to stop the bad things from coming, but he reminds me that if I focus on him, I will “lack no good thing”.

Could I get the virus? Yes. Could it be life changing and horrible? Of course. Would I be angry and wonder if I could have prevented it? Probably. But moving to North Dakota until this baby is born would potentially open up a host of other problems. Plus being away from family and losing my current job would be horrible.

These “first grade” fears make me feel so small, but because of that they force me to remember that there is One who is much bigger, One who has the power to take anything bad and turn it into good. The same One will create a new kingdom where there will be no more pain, sorrow, tears, death, or mosquitos, a place that will “lack no good thing”. This should be my focus.

Whatever you are fearing today, I hope you can set your eyes on that same place. It will set you free.

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