Great is Thy Faithfulness

Today is Friday, and I am so glad this day has come. I got a email from music director Tony, who provided the song list of what the group was to sing at Broad Street Ministries’ Sunday worship service, and one of the songs was Great is Thy Faithfulness.  While at work tears came to my eyes as I read the lyrics, knowing that the faithfulness of God came through on behalf of me and my mother.

It’s the end of a week that was full of anguish, indecision, doubt. But the week also included faith, trust, and determination.

Last week I thought I had a place for my mother. At the last minute it fell through. Then came this week, hoping I had found the place. The sales person was all for my mother coming, but when I discussed how my mother was with the nursing director of personal care, she shot that down, saying my mother needed to be in a locked unit with memory care.

Still no place for my mother to live. I did find out that the rehab facility could not in a sense throw her out on the street with no set plan for her care. I could appeal the decision of her leaving and keep her there for a bit longer. But the wear and tear of trying to find a place was grinding me down. I was so tired, and I noticed my bad sleeping habits of waking up every 2-3 hours had returned. While at work (a place where I was supposed to be doing work), the hours were spent making calls in hopes of finding a bed. Either there were none in the facility, the cost was too high, there was a waiting list, months in advance, or she received too much money and did not qualify. Trying to do this on my own was a daunting task, and I was failing big time.

I called the social worker at the rehab facility telling her I needed help desperately. I told her what I had been doing and it seemed no one had any beds available. And then she told me of a place. Online, it got no good reviews, but what choice did I have at this point? So, Tuesday I travelled there after work, and the lady I spoke to on the phone told me she one long-term bed left…so I knew time was of the essence.

The building was old, but maintained. I was given a tour, and it possessed what was needed: a locked unit and specialized staff trained for dementia patients. I was told ahead of time the room I was about to be shown had four beds. Four beds? I cringed at the thought of what I would see, remembering the rooms at the dumps described as nursing homes I had toured earlier.

But the room was very large, and the place was clean. Not much storage, two patients shared one closet. But Mom did not have much anyway, so it seemed that would work. Her bed was near the window, and also near the heater, so hopefully that would help with her being cold all the time and would keep her warm. Financially, we would not need to do anything, at least for the present. But eventually, she needs to be spent down to zero (life insurance policy and monthly check), apply for Medicaid, and then her expenses would be taken care of. I have a lot of paperwork to gather in the meantime.

So the day came, today. She was transported, I would meet her there, stay a little while and then leave. The day before I went to see her at the rehab facility and explained why I had not been there and what I had been doing. Surprisingly, she took it well, as she was somewhat lucid. Though I had to explain everything many times, she understood each time. What a relief that was, because I was expecting an argument that she wasn’t going. But she said she knows she has a problem and knows something needs to be done.

She arrived at the new facility this afternoon not long after I got there, and she was very tired. She was placed in her bed and continued to sleep. Eventually she woke up for a while saying she was hungry (probably because she rejected breakfast and didn’t eat it); I told her I would check to see when dinner would be served, which was 5:30pm, but at the time it was only 2:30. The nurse made herself available to me and asked some questions about my mother, and when I told her what she was doing, she said that was not out of the ordinary for those who have dementia, and shared her mother has the same thing and always talks about her past job, an that she needed to get to work. For part of the year the nurse goes to China where her mother lives and cares for her (and I thought I had it bad).

Anyway, the time came for me to leave, as there was nothing else to be done. I had grabbed some things from her apartment, including her blanket that keeps her warm, and draped it over her, and she went back to sleep. She told me to not feel obligated to come and see her, but she would be happy if I came once a week, which I had planned to do anyway.

As I put my jacket on, there came a time when it seemed everything froze for a few moments, and I just stared at her as she slept. With all that had occurred this week, and the triumph I experienced during the past few days, I suddenly was not happy. When I first walked in that room during the tour I felt such peace that I knew that was the place. At this moment, I felt sad, like I had thrown her in a place she didn’t want to be in, yet she resigned herself to the fact that this was where she would live. At the same time I was feeling this, I was feeling guilty for being able to get in my car and drive home to an apartment I truly loved, with all its comforts and space.

I eventually left and decided to drown my sorrows in a large pizza; it was my drug of choice in hopes of quieting the inner dread I felt.

Once home, I discovered the pizza didn’t help at all, so I shoved it in the fridge. Tiredness coupled with a deluge of depression flooded my inner being. There was no relief, no happiness at all. I realized that this change was not only for my mother, it was a change for me too, which I did not realize this until that very moment. A friend who emailed me called it the “new normal”, and that I must get used to this change. I decided to try taking a nap to see if that would help me feel better. Instead, I thought of the words to Great is Thy Faithfulness. It got me to sit up in my bed, thanking God for presenting the new facility, getting her to the place, and getting me there as well without getting lost, and before I knew it, I felt better. I realized a shift had taken place, moving from dread to praise. The praise lifted my spirit and eliminated the dread.

  • It is not my fault she has the disease.
  • I should not feel guilty for anything; it is not like I threw her in a dungeon to get rid of her. Rather I found the place that was the best suitable for her to be safe and cared for.
  • I should not feel guilty for living life.

And life will go on…for both of us. After talking to the nurse later in the evening, I discovered Mom had a good dinner and told her it was delicious, even walked to the nurses’ station, which surprised everyone. They were impressed, though they noticed she cannot walk far, but she is on the schedule to be evaluated by the physical therapists.

Suddenly, after hearin that on te phone, happiness filled me again.

Great is thy faithfulness, Great is thy faithfulness,

Morning by morning new mercies I see. 

All I have needed thy hand hath provided.

Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

The Happy Dance of Whatever Will Be

“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Philippians 4:11

To be able to do a happy dance in the midst of the unknown is a learned skill. You may know persons who are endued with happy-go-lucky personalities. These are the types that no matter what happens, they tend to do a ‘que sera sera’ dance. Whatever will be will be, they say, and continue living life, not being stuck in the moment. For others, the learning of this continues.

I had everything planned. The moving truck had been reserved, the movers were ready to go, I went to the place where my mother was soon to move and mentally placed where her furniture would be, the papers were signed, and the funds provided…all systems go, right?

Wrong.

Everything fell through at the last minute. I didn’t understand, and to say I was frustrated would be the understatement of the new year. That evening with my head spinning and asking God if there was something I missed from Him, I decided to go to my mother’s church for prayer meeting for the evening, rather than stay home in the doldrums of  endless worry; I knew I was far from doing any dance of a happy nature.

Going to church made me feel better. It began a journey of moving from one street of despair, frustration and a tinge of anger to another avenue, one of seeing what God will provide next. After all, He has promised never to leave me or forsake me, that He will provide all that is needed. I had moved from the dead-end road of despair to a wide endless avenue called possibilities.

I believe these two locations described above is where the writer Paul had been and was currently residing. The fourth chapter of Philippians speaks of his learning how to be abased (being humbled) and how to abound (being in abundance). Paul wrote this letter while in prison, a filthy dark place, unlike the prisons of today; there were no televisions or small toilet to go to the bathroom, or mattress to lay down and rest. Yet, Paul still learned to accept what was currently happening in his life, yet learning to

  • Rejoice always – verse 4
  • Making requests known to God and experiencing peace – verses 6 & 7
  • Focusing on what to think about – verse 8
  • Wherever life took him, he learned to accept being low and being high – verses 11 & 12
  • Here’s why: He did all things through Christ who strengthened him

This is what should be learned. As Paul learned this, so should we. I do not have the answer yet regarding where my mother is going to live (and I must say I need an answer in the next five days). But I will strive to discover lessons to learn, and develop my que sera sera happy dance through Jesus who strengthens me.