Who needs to call a repairman when you have a father who is handy? Washer stopped spinning? Refrigerator making a weird noise? My dad was always happy to come over and save the day. Until the day he said No.
I knew it wasn't like Dad to refuse a chance to be Mr. Fix It. So I called my mom, concerned. That's when I discovered Dad had made a costly mistake at work and had been forgetting things lately. His confidence was shattered, and he did not trust himself to do what he was always best at: fixing things. The decline of Dad's mental health was slow at first. But soon it became clear that Mom would have to begin taking care of Dad, the man who always knew how to take care of things.
My parents grew up together in the same neighborhood in West Philadelphia, born just a day apart. They had been married 50 years when they made the decision to move to a retirement community that offered extended health care. Once there, they enjoyed several years together, before my father required more help and was moved to a different unit. Separated at this point, my mom visited him several times a day, giving great care to a husband who no longer even recognized his wife. It took a toll on her, physically and emotionally. But she had a strong love for my dad, a strong sense of responsibility, and a strong faith that the Lord would give her what she needed to care for my dad. After four years of Mom caring for Dad every day, Dad passed away.
Then it was my turn to care for my mother. During that time, I saw for myself the cost she had paid by caring for my dad. While there was great joy in being there for her, there was also great sadness in seeing her deteriorate. And like Mom did with Dad, I had to rely on the Lord to provide me with the strength to encourage and bless her at this stage of her life.
During that time, I was reminded of what God told Isaiah: But those who trust in the Lord for help will find their strength renewed. They will rise on wings like eagles; they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak (Isaiah 40:31). Through his Word, God gave me the same strength he gave Mom when she took care of Dad.
Are the demands of caregiving leaving you physically and emotionally depleted today? If you're feeling the burden of caregiving, allow the Lord to uphold you by supplying the strength you need through his Word.
I look to the mountains; where will my help come from? My help will come from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
1 Chronicles 16:11
Go to the Lord for help, and worship him continually.
Do not be afraid – I am with you! I am your God – let nothing terrify you! I will make you strong and help you; I will protect you and save you.
Even if I go through the deepest darkness, I will not be afraid, Lord, for you are with me. Your shepherd's rod and staff protect me.
Be determined and confident. Do not be afraid of them. Your God, the Lord himself, will be with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.
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