This past week has been tough. I thought about writing a blog post somewhere in there but just didn’t have the energy. Even now I’m not sure how this post will turn out. It’s been a week of absolute turmoil, exhaustion, difficult decisions, and sorrow. If that sounds awful, well maybe it hasn’t been that bad but it’s been close.
We’ve had my mother living with us for almost 15 years. Being the firstborn and watching my grandparents care for my great-grandmother when I was younger, I didn’t hesitate to have her come live with us when she was ready. For the first ten years or so it was simply a matter of having an extra adult in the house. Over the past five years I’ve watched her slowly decline and spiral into confusion from dementia and total dependence on us for pretty much everything.
In that time she’s been in the hospital twice and then in rehab at a nursing facility. We had her stay there once more so we could visit our kids in Colorado and Texas. The rest of the time we’ve worn ourselves out toileting, transferring, dressing and bathing her. We’re very appreciative of Dawn and Mary, aides from Council on Aging who have come twice a week to help and give us a little respite. But despite my being treated for prostate cancer for the second time this past year, I still needed to lift her back and forth from chair to bed to toilet. There have been a few near-misses where she almost fell. We finally reached the decision last Monday that this was no longer a safe situation or environment for her, and that we could no longer provide the care she needed. That process is in the works and should be completed within the next week or two.
It wasn’t a decision reached lightly or easily. I’ve tried the very best I can to honor my parent as commanded in Scripture while at the same time encouraging my wife and making our relationship primary as it should be. It’s taken me a great while to reconcile those two, and I’m sad that fatigue was a major consideration in that decision. I have yet to tell Mom; I already have a good idea how it will be received, and it will not be pretty. But in the bigger picture it’s the right decision.
In the middle of all of this we received a message from our son that he had decided to dissolve his marriage. It was a heart-ripping gut-punch in the middle of trying to deal with an already emotionally laden situation. For now there’s nothing to be done but try to deal with the hurt, anger, and disappointment. God will show us the way to move forward.
Friends and family are supportive and mean well, and we certainly appreciate and love them all. But in times like this, if we didn’t have God’s Word and promises to fall back on we would be devastated, just another casualty of Satan’s work to destroy individual believers, families, and the church. In the midst of this chaos I come back to one of my foundational bulwark verses, 2 Corinthians 4:17,18:
“For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
When life gets messy and things start piling up, go south, or turn into a dumpster fire (sorry, I just love that last imagery), it’s easy to lose your perspective. If you’ve never submitted to relationship with God through Jesus Christ, then you’ve never had that eternal perspective at all. Without the hope built solidly into that relationship, life is one continual crisis moving from one disastrous emergency to another. But when we belong completely to the Lord of our souls, he reminds us, “this will pass”. Not only that but He is the foundation on which we stand. As Paul said elsewhere, “But [God] said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness’. So I take pleasure in weakness, catastrophes, persecutions, and in pressures, because of Christ. For when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Corinthians 12: 9,10). Paul understood that when a situation is out of our control is when God begins to show His glory, power, and wisdom.
So if you find yourself wondering where God is in all your struggles, hurts, and disappointments, let me introduce you to Him. He’s looking forward to meeting you.