Author Spotlight on Blogger Katie Rouse: A Comeback From COVID

Would you believe I met Katie during COVID online? Yes, I most certainly did. There were a bunch of us. We were probably overdosing on caffeine, hiding in the bathroom from our kids, shut in, shutdown, and feeling like we’d been told to shut-up for too long. But I'll get back to that in a moment. Katie is a an avid blogger. Her readers love her because she is transparent and bleeds real on the pages of her blog. She works a daytime job in marketing, is a cat mommy, a wife, and loves Jesus.

Now more on how we met. George Floyd had just been murdered and I believe that incident just about broke us. Several women found each other, clung on tight and began screaming into the black abyss of social media. When our emotions died down we wanted to do something. Katie was one of those women and she suggested we use her blog to tell our stories. She organized and an incredible discussion of various topics and ideas formulated. We had a plan. Then Katie got COVID. She’s still pressing on and will get the rest of those stories out but in the meantime, here’s Katie’s story:

Tell us a little about your blogging life before COVID.

Before COVID, I was writing & planning extensively: I had multiple series going, including one very dear to my heart in response to the cries for justice in the streets earlier this summer. I was mapping out sharing my story of living overseas in India for two years, and my heart was filled with excitement to continue growing this little space on the internet as a place of compassion and vulnerability. However, I also had a still, small voice in those weeks that was drawing me away from all this productivity, because sometimes we build up our value & identity in our productivity, right? I was certainly in a sweet spot with my writing, and for all intents & purposes, it looked great. But I could tell my heart was disconnecting a little bit: finding more value and self-worth in this productivity than in the act of writing and finding God in these stories he was leading me to write. I was wrestling with that voice as I was being exposed to COVID.

Describe how COVID affected you, your family, health, blogging?

COVID was akin to the brakes being put in in every area of my life: life slowed down. Of course I fought some of the rest I needed by continuing to work from home, but for 4-6 weeks, I was not myself. In fact, I’m still having to grieve the loss of who I was before COVID. That may sound dramatic, but picture this: I went from working out up to 5 times a week, working at my office 8+ hours a day, writing and planning and editing posts on the weekends, playing games with my husband, etc, to not working out at all, working from the couch and taking long nap breaks, weekends spent wholly resting, and being unable to connect well with my husband due to brain fog. I was so tired from coughing and feeling like I couldn’t get a deep breath. The fatigue was the worst. I have had chronic illness and other lung infections that hospitalized me in the past, so part of me knew what to expect and knew how my body might respond, but the fatigue was surprisingly worse. I hadn’t dealt with it in years, and it was difficult. It is still difficult some days. Of course, I am very thankful that I didn’t have to go to a hospital or need oxygen, but we should not downplay this virus for anyone, because it has literally taken months to recover, and I was recently exposed for a second time and there’s not a guarantee I won’t get it again.

What did COVID teach you about your relationship with God?

The number one thing COVID taught me about my relationship with God is that he, for reasons unknown, loves to use sickness to slow me down. I’ve known that since 2012, when I was first diagnosed with Graves Disease, had a hepatitis scare, and was hospitalized for weeks. Sabbath & slowing down is not something we should ignore, especially when God uses extreme measures like a pandemic to grace us with gifts of time with family and away from many distractions our lives hold. Slowing down—even when sick—is a grace where we really get to abide with Jesus, who knows our pain and our tears. We often think of abiding as something we have t