My gym is my ministry. I train bodies, but I try to minister the people I serve. I use health and fitness as a way to reach out to people from different communities and cultures.
In January, I told people that the coronavirus would come to the U.S., too. They just looked at me like I was crazy. I told them to get ready, but no one listened. I knew it was coming, but I just never expected it to get this bad. Who would have thought it would reach a national level? I look at things in the world through a spiritual lens. Every time God’s people mock His word, He does something about it. So, I knew this was coming. My initial reaction was “I told you so.”
Before we had to close the gym according to state officials, I was worried about my clients’ safety. I was constantly wavering between closing and staying open. But people were still paying their memberships. I couldn’t make them stop coming, so I stayed open. When the state said gyms had to close, it was honestly a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.
After a couple of days, I’m sitting and thinking “I don’t have a job.” I called my pastor and said “I can do this for a little while, but I can’t do it every day. I’m going to go broke, I can’t pay my bills.” So, we started praying. That very day, someone came by and dropped off some money at my door because they wanted to keep training. From then on, I started holding personal training sessions through Zoom.
I have grown even more in my faith because of the pandemic. When I got to the point where I was not in control of anything, my faith in the lord was my saving grace. I mean I had some sleepless nights, but I soon realized that everything is in God’s hands. Trusting the Lord was my way of coping with the stress and uncertainty I was feeling. I was unemployed. Then, Zoom got me back employed. I prayed about it— that’s how I dealt with it. The Lord took care of it. That’s the truth: through prayer and faith.
I have been blessed. God has put people in my life that help me and keep my business running. The government also gave me a little payroll protection plan to keep my employees paid and to help pay my gym rent. I almost feel like I’m in better shape than I was before. People have been good; business has been good. Zoom has actually helped me expand my business. I now train people from all over. I’m not just confined to the gym.
My family has also gotten closer during this time. I have two daughters and a son, and they have kids of their own. Now, through Zoom, I am able to see my grandchildren three or four times a week. My family and I have had time to go to the lake and just be together. This is a good time to take care of family. I asked God to give us our daily blessings and he came through. We are blessed to have what we need.
I have cousins in New York. One lives in a low-income housing complex for seniors. Her place is probably fifty stories tall. When I called her, she hadn’t been out of her apartment in eight weeks. She said people are dying in her apartment complex. One of her friend’s husband died, and now she has to quarantine by herself. No one could go see her or help out. Her neighbors and friends are hurting and dying all around her. I’ve been praying for her.
I have another cousin, living in a basement, quarantining himself. He was texting me day and night, saying that he doesn’t know if he can make it. He’s young, he has a family— he just had a baby. He also had a fever and chills for seven days. We had to pray him out of that basement. The Lord took care of him.
Another cousin that’s a little older got COVID-19. He is out of the hospital now, but he has to be on dialysis.
My family in New York has had it really bad.
The gym is open again. We check peoples’ temperature as they come in, prevent them from congregating, and have them use hand sanitizer when they enter and leave. Following exactly what government and health officials have told me to do frees me from worrying. That’s the best we can do. Like I said, we can’t keep people from coming to the gym.
We are such spoiled people. We really need to appreciate every day— enjoy life and make the best of it. My hope and faith got me through, and now I have even more hope and faith. We need to make sure we are more vertical than horizontal in our faith. Make sure those who have ears to hear, listen.
Written by: Mary Blake Zeron