Wrapped in Lapis Lazuli
September 5, 2021
It’s been five weeks of living with COVID and the virus’ aftermath—four of them living with laryngitis (barely able to talk, much less sing), three of them watching my oxygen level and heart rate drop dangerously low every time I close my eyes, jerking awake to read the pulse oximeter with each dropped beat. I also can’t glaze over the twelve days of no taste or smell, struggling with lack of sensory input, yet finding a way to function outside my comfort zone. Still, with each new challenge, God has stepped in to let me know He’s only a breath away.
My relationship with God has always been a unique one—mainly because He knows my battered past and hesitancy to trust, so He looks for interesting ways to communicate with me, so I will know it’s Him Who’s talking. I’ve learned how to observe and listen, especially during the trying times. This week held no exceptions.
Exhausted and barely able to keep my eyes open, hours of my life fell off the clock on September 1, 2021, while I napped. My foggy consciousness didn’t understand the expectations being asked of me when I woke to a phone call from my husband sometime around noon. Could I be put on speaker? Did I mind if friends had prayer with me over the phone? Sure? I guess. Why not? My mind couldn’t quite process the request, but then the details started falling into place.
Long-time friends from our Spring Meadows Church family had arrived at my husband’s office wanting to present me with a special gift after hearing I had been struggling with COVID. The quilting ministry at church had sewn a beautiful masterpiece, using royal blue strips of material, accenting the quilt with matching floral-patterned cloth. Just stunning!
The most humbling moment came when I learned several members of the quilting team had specifically prayed over this blanket, tying knots on strings attached at several corners of the patchwork, representing their request for healing and peace on my behalf. Moved beyond words, tears dripped down my face as I listened to my friends pray for me over the phone while presenting this expression of love to my husband to bring home to me that evening after work. What this group of believers didn’t know (but God did), I had woken up that morning with my heart rate in the 40s. Nothing about my day felt good, and I felt any progress I had made surviving COVID slipping backwards. The task of breathing had exhausted me, and I truly wanted to give up; but then this blessing stepped in and changed my whole focus. A ray of hope surfaced when I heard the words: “Wrap yourself in this, snuggle in it, and know that you are loved!” Just…wow!
That night, when I went to bed, I covered myself with this special quilt. It had been prayed over. I wanted to feel God’s presence in a tangible way, so I “snuggled in.” And, do you know what? My oxygen saturation didn’t drop below 97 percent all night. Even greater news came when I realized my heart rate had stayed above 60BPM for the first time in weeks, and I didn’t wake up feeling like I had been hit by a Mack truck. Let me tell you, something powerful happens when we pray! We may not always see immediate results, but…sometimes we do.
When I first saw the beautiful quilt in person, I wondered why God had chosen to have the quilters design it with royal blue material. Not sure why, but that detail stood out to me. Remember how I told you God communicates differently with me to get my attention? Let me flash back a moment so the rest of my story makes sense.
During the most intense part of my COVID experience a few weeks ago, I had stopped reading my Bible-study plan with a group of friends and had gotten SEVERAL chapters behind. I didn’t stop reading because I didn’t feel the need for God, I stopped reading because I had no energy to do anything more than breathe, but I knew God understood. When enough of my strength returned, I consumed several chapters a day in an effort to get caught up.
Back to the present. On August 31, 2021, the United States of America ended its longest war in history and pulled out of Afghanistan, after a twenty-year presence. If you haven’t noticed, tensions across our nation have been high! What does this have to do with a prayer quilt, you ask? I’m getting there.
I came across Ezekiel 1 a couple days later in my Bible study. The chapter speaks of a vision and “a throne made of blue lapis lazuli. And on this throne high above was a figure whose appearance resembled a man.” (Vs. 26) This triggered a thought. I wonder what blue lapis lazuli looks like? So, I googled it. Know what I found? Historians believe there’s a link between this gorgeous blue stone—like the rich, royal color in my quilt—and humans from 6,500 years ago. And guess what? “Afghanistan has been an important source for top-quality lapis.” (https://www.gia.edu) Lapis. Used to encourage self-awareness, self-confidence and -knowledge, peace and harmony, plus compassion. (https://www.mycrystals.com) Even if I don’t believe in all the new age definitions surrounding this stone, clearly God had a message for me. Simply, “Trust Me. I got this.”
Ezekiel 1 concludes, “All around Him was a glowing halo, like a rainbow shining in the clouds on a rainy day. This is what the glory of the Lord looked like to me….” (Vs. 28) I don’t know about you, but I am longing to see God’s glory face to face! I’m ready to be in His presence and be rid of all the sin and natural disasters our humanness has to deal with on earth. We know not “the day or the hour” (Matthew 24:36), but whenever He decides to return, I’m ready. Until that time, stay well, my friends; and keep sharing Jesus!