Honor Him by Honoring Her

Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.  Ephesians 6: 2,3

Patience wears thin as a caregiver goes about caring for loved ones, in my case, my mother. As I talk to others about what goes on,  I think that the reason I do what I do is because I want to honor her as the Word says. But today was a busy one, as I had errands to do, and continue to pack boxes because the plan is to move in with my mother once she comes home from rehab.  My mother called as she always has since she has been away, confused and agitated, and in the evening sun downing causes the confusion to go deeper into mental disorientation, calling me every five to ten minutes asking me when I am picking her up.  It got to the point that I took the phone off the hook so I wouldn’t be bothered. I had answered the same series of questions with the same answers, but it seemed to no avail, as she called again and again.

Then I listened to a sermon on a Christian network, and guess what the title was? It had the phrase of honoring your mother, coming from the scripture listed above:  AGHHHHH!

I listened to the message just as the pastor was emphasizing the main issue that as you honor her you are also honoring God. Then (of course he had to put this in his message) he spoke of the years she poured into you as she cared for you, and we as children need to do the same in caring for them.  At that point, I stared at my phone that was on the floor with the receiver off the hook.  I put the receiver back, wondering how long it would take before the phone would ring again; it only took five minutes, and her questions were the same.

The goal in carng for my mother is to honor God. Patience is thin, but God gives me enough to get me through answering questions for the fifteenth time, hoping she will understand until the next call rolls around.

As I am willing to do the caring, God provides what I need (patience, in this case) to continue.  May God care for you in the same manner…

“Stop letting circumstances write your story.” – John Gray

The above was an excerpt from John Gray, associate pastor of Lakewood Church, a great line to remember when circumstances are getting a bit challenging. Being a caregiver can be quite challenging, to say the least, particularly when the one you are caring for is getting worse. My mother’s dementia condition is progressing, and I am doing what I can to come to her aid. She is now in rehab, being moved there from the hospital as a way to get her stronger and more steadily mobile. So far she is going along with that, but mentally she has regressed to the late ’70’s, asking me if I drove from Ohio to come see her. During that time I was in college, and I attended Wilberforce University that is located in Ohio. I have learned from past experience not to correct her, as that doesn’t help the situation. Instead, I just go with the flow, and continue on with the conversation. As she has progressed in her condition, I have progressed as well.

I have learned that being in a tough situation can result in going in one way or another. Back in October, 2015 I didn’t know up from down when my mother started talking like she had been on a drug binge. I didn’t know what to do and I felt like my world was falling apart. But eventually, I had to make a decision if I was to remain in that way of living, or try something that would cause me to be on more steady footing. I chose the latter.

The next step was determining how I was to achieve that. Since my mother’s diagnosis days have turned into weeks, months, and years, and what I have learned is when God throws out an invitation to offer help, you’ve got to take Him up on His offer. In what seemed to be the darkest of nights, I had a heart to heart with my Father. First asking for forgiveness for not coming to the throne of grace sooner and asking for help. So many days and nights my head was spinning endlessly, trying to figure out solutions to helping my mother, and keeping myself sane in the process. When I finally came to God in faith (pistis) believing that He could take the my mental reigns and my mother’s circumstance, the peace flowed, and my head got emptied of endless thinking of what to do. The attempt to be in control of a circumstance that you really have no control over  doesn’t help, as it causes confusion, depression, and endless worry that is coupled with the ‘what-ifs’ that further complicate matters. Your attention or emphasis is not on God, but on self.

In the fourteenth chapter of Matthew, Peter was doing great when he took Jesus’ invitation to walk on the water with Him. But when his attention turned to the elements that caused the storm and the boat to be tossed to and fro, he began to sink (a complication of matters). No longer was he able to do what Jesus was doing by walking on water. But I have to give Peter credit. Before he drowned he remembered two words that caused Jesus to reach out and handle the situation: “Save me.”  Immediately, Jesus caught him, but also asked him why he doubted him in the first place as they went back to the boat.

And so I have learned to ask for anything and everything, but in faith believing. My level of pistis does not have to be huge, as Jesus told his disciples that one can have the faith of a grain of a mustard seed (the seed is 0.039 to 0.079 inches in diameter, so imagine how small a grain of that is) and say to the mountain be removed, and it shall be done.

So whatever circumstance you find yourself in, strive not to dwell in it, but find a Source that can guide you to inner peace while waiting on the divine solution. And then witness how God writes your story.

 

The Pistis Diet

If your challenge is to lose weight and get physically healthy, the goal is to exercise and go on a diet to change your eating habits. Many experts say that going on a diet should not be the goal. How many times have we gone on a diet to lose weight, only to gain the weight back once off it? So the experts say change your habits, and develop a lifestyle that you can follow for life.

So I introduce to you the Pistis Diet. Pistis is the Greek word for faith.  If you do a word study on faith, you will find the word has further definition, “faith buddies” if you will, that aid in its description. You will find words like persuasion, confidence, assurance, to name a few. If you try this Pistis Diet, you will develop a foundation of hope. You will discover that faith is the underbelly of a belief system that enables one to move in the direction of being confident and assured, knowing that faith will come through.

Jesus many times used faith in complimenting someone’s actions. Take for example the woman with the issue of blood. She purposed in herself to exercise pistis that enabled her in her weak feeble condition to push her way through the throngs of people to get to Jesus and touch the hem of his garment, the place where the Lord told the children of Israel to look at as a reminder of remembering the commandments, to do them and be holy unto the Lord (Numbers 15: 37-40). As she touched him, Jesus felt virtue or power leave him as she was being healed of her illness. When she explained why she touched him, Jesus called her Daughter (that she was his child), telling her the pistis or faith she was induced to believe of him is what made her whole. Then he told her to go in peace, being made whole and fully restored to health.

So what is your faith foundation? Is it on your own efforts, like trying to lose weight temporarily only to gain the pounds back? How about being fully persuaded that regardless of the state you are in, having the confidence and assurance that God has your back, and will reward you for your level of faith in Him, in His power, by His Word through His works? Try the Pistis Diet and watch your life change.

“And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.”  Matthew 5:34

 

Get Better, Not Bitter

Because there was a need to address a health issue with my mother, I took her to her doctor for an appointment.  When I talked to her, I knew she was in a ‘tude. She didn’t want any help (though I heled her anyway), and she wanted to put her walker in the back seat before getting in the car. Once we got to the doctor’s office, her demeanor changed to a more positive speech.  The good news was the pain she was experiencing in her legs and feet was due to a combination of arthritis and lack of blood flow, and the doctor gave her some pointers on what she should do.

Once the doctor visit was over and we got back to the car, her mental confusion returned, and of course I was the reason for it. But I realized something: I did nothing wrong on this day. I stole no money, nor tried to do something slick to cheat her out of something. I was just being the dutiful daughter who was caring for her mother.

And then I realized further that because I did nothing wrong, and her dementia was just rearing its ugly head, there was no need to get angry, no need to react to her comments that would cause an argument. All I had to do was get better at being proactive by not reacting to her. There were times when I did not respond, to eliminate any creation of a hostile atmosphere.  All this is a process, but I am getting better, and I am doing my best not to get hostile.

So to caregivers everywhere, consider this:

  • Be proactive in not creating a hostile environment of throwing negative thoughts to your loved one. It only makes matters worse. What about not responding to the comments? Or how about changing the subject all together?
  • Acknowledge your role is one of caring; it is one thing when you know you said something that was inappropriate. It is quite another when you are fulfilling your role, trying to do the right thing, and being told off for something you did not do. Take the higher road (I know, easier said than done, but strive for it), and continue to love and care for your loved one.

Being bitter for being in the caregiver role only brings strife and angst from within. But fighting for peace within is a much better goal.