The Movement of Stretched Out Faith

Ever try to say you will do something and it just doesn’t seem to work out? It causes one to find an answer to the question of why. God has been through sermons I’ve heard lately offered an answer to the  why question. Here are some biblical accounts in the ninth chapter of Matthew.

A certain ruler came to Jesus requesting his daughter be brought to life, and Jesus agreed to follow him to his house.

However, there was a woman who had been bleeding uncontrollably for twelve years. Her plan was to go to Jesus and touch his garment to get completely well. After she touched him, he turned around and saw her, telling her it was her faith that made her well.

Later in that same chapter, two blind men approached Jesus, pleading for his mercy. Jesus asked if they believed he could provide the answer they were looking for in giving them sight; their response was yes. After Jesus touch their eyes, he told them according to their faith, their sight would be restored.

Eventually with the ruler Jesus got to the ruler’s home where his daughter was, telling everyone that the girl was not dead, but asleep. He took her by the hand and she arose. being restored to life.

There is a common thread in each of these accounts:

  • there was a problem that needed to be solved. This was particularly true with the woman, she tried to solve it on many occasions, but it didn’t work. The fifth chapter of Mark gives more detail on her plight; after spending all her money on medical bills, she didn’t better, but only got worse. By that point, she was penniless.
  • Jairus was the ruler’s name whose daughter was sick, and he got word while trying to get Jesus to come to his house that his daughter was dead. He still had a problem that needed to be solved, and it appeared his plan of getting Jesus to come would not work. Yet Jesus said to Jairus not be afraid, but only believe.
  • the blind men thought if they could get to Jesus and ask for the type of mercy only He could give, they would receive their sight.

They all had a plan. Do you have one? Maybe that is why your Why question can’t be solved. This week I thought of all my solutions that seemed to fall through the cracks. I have had good ideas, and they  don’t seem to work. Perhaps that is the issue here: it is my plan, but with no power behind it.

In each of the above accounts, all had a plan, and it was to see Jesus, the One they thought would be the answer. But with that plan, they had a force of energy, a fuel that would enable the plan to work. If you read each of the accounts, Jesus told Jairus not to be afraid, only believe. He asked the blind men if they believed he was able to restore their sight. After the woman with the issue of blood was fully healed, Jesus told her it was her faith that cause her answer to become reality.

Neither of these people sat on the solution. Their faith that it could happen caused them to stretch out and enable the solution to come, moving from the realm of an idea into the atmosphere of reality, causing healing to come to themselves and to a father’s daughter.

What fuel do you have that causes the problem solving to become reality? Each person listed above had movement: the movement of faith that caused them to cover the problem in the energy of faith. they believed God can make all things possible. Utilize your faith fuel in prayer, asking for help like these people did. Stretching out may not be so scary after all. Why not give it a try? I can tell you this week I have, and while I am still one in progress, I see that stretching out has value, and I (and you) have to at least try to live life in this movement called faith…

Be Strengthenized…


Running Out of Me

Oil is needed for a car’s engine to run smoothly and not damage the various parts of it. It also needs gas as food, if you will, for the car to even move, would you agree? Can you think of a time when your car started acting strange? Lights came on, maybe even a sound to give you a warning that something was about to happen if you didn’t take care of what it was trying to tell you in car language. It was running out of energy; you forgot to go to the gas station to fuel up and bring the fuel gauge to point to full and not one or two ticks from being completely empty. And let’s not forget about seeing an auto smoking because it was running hot and needed something as simple as water or antifreeze to keep it cool in any type of weather, from hot to freezing temperatures.

The Car Doctor (a website I found online) says “Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle. It keeps the many components of the engine working efficiently, and it helps reduce the accumulation of varnish and carbon from collecting on the engine.” Hmmm, interesting.

Then I found out that a car is quite happy sitting still in someone’s garage for years. It is the owner (if he/she wants the car to move) to put gas in the car. Gas provides the energy that enables the car engine to get cranking, and through a series of combustible explosions when combined with air, the wheels start to move, and the driver can make it to its destination. Bottom line: gas is a car’s energy source.

What is your energy source? What happens when you, like your car, run out of gas? My day was one of frustrations. Physically, I was still depleted for being sick the day before; instead of working at my office desk I spent more time in the bathroom. Mentally, I was depleted regarding all the stressors of being a caregiver. Many issues had been resolved, but what remained were the daily dealings with a loved one who has dementia, and the constant disagreements and arguments that go along with it. Such interaction tends to mentally linger with me for a few days. Today, I realized something: I am running out of me.

I had to admit the energy had been zapped out of me. But why is that, or better yet, why am I allowing that to happen to me, when there is a place where I can ‘fuel up’ and keep my gauge on full, never being concerned about getting on empty? Jesus stated

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15: 4-6

To abide means to remain, continue, live in, not to depart. It is the Greek word meno, and its verb tense is without regard to past, present or future. It means to abide in this context is to never leave, but to remain one with Jesus. We are the branch of His vine, and it is the goal of the Father that we bear much fruit, if we continue with this abiding way of living life. What happens when we don’t? We are like a branch that has withered and is dry, not fruit-bearing, to the point that the branch is cut off and thrown out to the fire (Is this the equivalent of being burned out? Perhaps.) Dry to the point of no longer having any gas, any energy source. The engine no longer runs smoothly, it runs hot from the frustration of daily living, quickly running on empty. But the question remains:


Something else I had to realize: Living life on your own, in your own strength, is what causes the withered weariness of life. The decision to find energy from sources other than the True Vine produces nothing more than living a life of bare existence coupled with the stressors of life which become overwhelming. And being overwhelmed is not what God intended for us to handle. Instead, before the stressors of life become frustrating, and before we lose sleep over them, Jesus says abide in me.
As stated earlier, the word abide means to remain, which further implies being in a continuance state. In order for the car to continually run it must be filled with its energy source: gas. In order to keep its stressors of dust and grime from damaging the engine, oil changes must be done on a continual basis. For the believer Jesus states

“If ye abide in me,
and my words abide in you,
ye shall ask what ye will,
and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7

This is so simple. Continue in God, remain in Him, with have His Word remain in you. That means we have to know what scripture says. God’s Word is chock full of promises we can fill our tank with to combat whatever battles we face. But how can we know if the knowledge is not known? Eventually, the weariness comes, and the dryness coupled with emptiness quickly enters, developing a hopelessness which eventually leaves us like the car with no gas that can’t move forward.
But when the living word of God can envelop and abide in us, we can ask Him whatever, and God promises such requests will be done.

Abide in Jesus
Allow God’s word to abide in you
You can ask whatever, and He will make sure it gets done

Your tank will be continuously filled, and your engine will have the spiritual oil (the Word of God) needed for living life. God never intended you to run out of yourself; He encourages us to run to Him and abide.

All is Well

(This is a long one folks…)

A few days earlier I asked Mom if she wanted to go to church. It was Mothers’ Day, and I thought it a good idea to get her out of the nursing home for some fresh air, and to see familiar faces from her church. As it turned out (we struck out many times before for this outing), she acknowledged to me she wanted to go, and that she knew she turned me down when I asked her many times before.

So this time it seemed like a go. I contacted the nurses and the social worker who all approved her going out. So far, so good.

Yesterday: I got her five pairs of shoes for her to choose from, though I wasn’t sure of the size, I just guessed. Purchased her stockings. Now all that was needed was an outfit. I had a lot of her clothes at my place, so I would choose two outfits and bring them for her to make a choice.

Today: I got myself ready, gathered all the things I needed, and placed them in the wheel chair along with flowers I got for her, and off I went, asking God for things to go well. In the past, we would either have an argument or she would say she had nothing to wear or dressy shoes for her feet. This time I had all that and two outfits she could wear. She called me last night to make sure when I coming, and then called me this morning to double-check the time when I would get to her.

Once there, things just went off without a hitch. She was ready to try on the clothes, picked out her outfit and shoes, I brought a coat of mine for her to wear as it was a little breezy outside. Before long, I signed the sign out sheet, she took her medicine and we were off! Getting her in the car was fine, and the traffic wasn’t bad. As we got to church, many saw her and were happy to see her; that happened throughout the church service, and her pastor acknowledge her presence. Service was nice, and a couple of times songs were sung regarding the phrases All is Well, and from the hymn It is Well (I now know Someone was trying to tell me something) . Once I got her in the car, she wanted to go to a restaurant she hadn’t been to in months to get some food to take out. Perfect, I thought, because time-wise we were doing good.

And then it happened…and it happened fast.

She asked about her credit card, then we talked about bills, then how much she owed to stay at the nursing home, all things we had talked about numerous times. Of course she spoke as though we never had these conversations. I knew what was coming next: I was stealing from her; I took her credit card to use on myself, I stole her money to use on myself, then the name-calling started. Her favorite name for me is “You jackass! God is going to get you for this!” And on and on it went. Once she started down this road, I just said “yeah, Mom, I’m a jackass”, hoping agreeing with her would calm her down: it didn’t.

By the time we got to the nursing home, she didn’t want me touching her, and she refused to get out the car, yelling “Police, police! Help me!” I know it was God who put the idea in my head to call upstairs for help. Not long the nurse came (another jackass), and assisted me. I got some God-giving strength and pulled her out of my car (as she was screaming and trying to bite me) and put her into the wheelchair. That was the bulk of the battle. We eventually got her to her room as she continued the name calling. Again, strength came to me as I got her in the home’s wheelchair so I could take mine home, the whole time I thought, What happened?!!! This is Mothers’ Day.

Though the nurse told me I was a good daughter and gave me a hug, assuring me it was not her but the disease, which I agreed, it didn’t help the way I felt inside. I felt I was losing the battle of not allowing stuff like this to get to me.

I left and turned on K-Love radio in my car, and as I drove away I heard these familiar words in the song that was playing:

Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God
Our God is greater, our God is stronger
God You are higher than any other
Our God is Healer, awesome in power
Our God, Our God

And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
And if Our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?
And if our God is with us, then what can stand against?
Then what can stand against?

This song could not have come at a better time than this. I cranked up the radio and sung along at the top of my lung capacity, fighting back tears in the process. I said to myself NO! I was not going to a restaurant and eat everything in sight (when my appetite was gone). NO! Though close to shopping centers I was not going to buy clothes and shoes. Not this time. 

Instead I went home, emptied my car of the wheelchair, at least happy to be home.

Regardless, All is Well, for God is with me, as He is with you

Happy Mothers’ Day to all.


A Gift? WHAT?!!!?


I started a five day devotional written by Brian Houston of Hillsong Church, and when I read Day 3 from his book There is More, he spoke of being gifted. But the one question he asked stayed in my mind, and had me questioning his question. He asked the reader if they see the people in their life as gifts. You know who I automatically thought of: my mother. In many ways she is: she brought me into the world, and took care of me as I grew up, and so on. But here lately, with her dementia illness, I was not so sure of the gift and what it truly was, in this case, dementia. What? Was the disease a gift? Let’s see…

  • How can a disease be a gift? For one, a disease brings with it opportunities to bring out inner strength you didn’t know you had. For me, it caused me to no longer rely on my mother, instead taking matters into my own hand. I had to make decisions on her behalf once the dementia came to the forefront and reared its ugly head. At first I had no idea what was happening or what I was doing, or how to handle things. But I discovered through this ‘gift’ an inner reservoir that helped me take forward steps to care for my mother.
  • The unique gift of disease a loved one has presents the caregiver with the opportunity of being a leader, a financial manager, a speaker representative, holding meetings with health care staff, and so on. I had to locate important documents, write letters when needed, and other things I did not expect to do. Truth be told, I do not like being in this position of having such responsibilities, and yet, these things have to be done.
  • I learned to be a counselor when talking to my mother. Just today she called me with her usual questions of where she was, and that I needed to come and pick her up and take her home. I had to be patient and listen to her concerns, and tell her she was already home, describing to her where she was, and that she was in the right place. I learned to keep my voice in an even tone , but at times I have to get loud to get my points across, and during this conversation, I had to tell her she was fine where she was. After all that, she told me she still didn’t know where she was…back to the drawing board. However, her nurse was with her, and I was able to tell her what I said over the phone, and the nurse understood my frustration  while also knowing the confused mental incapacity of my mother.

A gift.

The gift I opened in October 2015 when my mother called me very confused was the beginning of a developing atmosphere I never thought would be presented to me. But as I told a friend last night (who has been caregiver for at least seven of her relatives with dementia over the years, and is presently caring for two), God has entrusted us with the gift, knowing we can handle it, caring for it through the gifts and talents He has blessed us with.

What? A gift? Perhaps I have to reluctantly say yes…


Peace Under Pressure

I watched a sermon called Marked from Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church, who was preaching at Elevation Church. What an amazing message! That prompted me to locate him on, where I found many of his message series done at his church. One was called the FruitFull series, which was on the fruit of the Spirit, found in the books of Galations and Ephesians. Part 6 of this series was entitled Peace Under Pressure. Being a caregiver, I wanted to hear his slant on the subject.

But also what stuck in my mind was reading on Facebook earlier this week of someone who went public with her diagnosis of having breast cancer, having recently having successful surgery with other treatments soon to  follow. As I saw the title of Pastor Mike’s message, I immediately thought of her.

Pastor Mike showed on the screen a picture of what he thought would represent peace, which was a beautiful sunset. Then the screen switched to a picture of a raging waterfall and dark clouds; needless to say it looked anything like peace. But in the middle of the rock where the waterfall was located, once the picture was zoomed in, showed a cleft in the rock, and there was a bird, fast asleep. Pastor Mike stated with all that was raging around, the bird found that spot to be a fitting place to grab some sleep, being peaceful in the process.

Pastor Mike spoke of what we do to obtain what we think is peace, but in actuality is a temporary escape to satisfy our need. We may think peace comes when we eat, go to the movies, watch our favorite show on tv, but the true peace has not been obtained. The true peace can only be obtained from the One who is the Prince of Peace, and escaping from the pressure we find ourselves under is available through the Holy Spirit, who is always ready to help in our time of need.

You have to listen to the sermon on youtube, but here are some points from it to consider:

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

  • Life happens…you can’t control what happens around you (losing a job, family problems, health issues…). But you can accept the Advocate (Who Jesus promised would come when He left), so his help is available: use that help.
  • While in the storm, your faith will be confronted: it will identify where you are. What pressure you do feel will only make you stronger.
  • God promises peace, but he did not promise the absence of the storm or the pressure of it. 
  • The above verse shows where you can find true peace – it is in Him, where you are to abide

Imagine  a weight set, and in this context the weights represent the pressure of the problem you are presently facing. While you may be able to lift the weights at first (and try to handle the pressure), lifting gets progressively more difficult as the pressure mounts; now doing this by yourself, your knees buckle and your arms are shaking, to the point you just can’t do it anymore. Perhaps as a temporary peace solution, many go towards alcohol, drugs, sex, and buying things we don’t need (this one is me), and so on.

But what would happen if, before lifting the weight, we ask the Advocate to help us. You may still have to deal with the raging storm of the problem,  but now there is Someone to help lift the weight of the storm with you, providing the lasting peace while under the weight of the pressure.

So whether you are a caregiver, or just a person who has a heap of problems to contend with, you never have to go it alone. Find the lasting peace that Jesus promises.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27

The Audacity to Honor

I listened to a powerful message by Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church, and he said something that gave me the title of this post. He spoke of David, who was anointed by Samuel to be king of Israel to replace Saul. After David killed Goliath, Saul became jealous, and the people were paying more attention to David than to Saul. This jealousy messed with Saul’s mentality to the point that on many occasions he attempted to kill David. There came a time when David was so close to Saul he could have killed him, but chose differently. He told King Saul that he could not touch what God had anointed. David had the audacity to honor someone whose desire was to snuff out his life; he chose not to take Saul’s life, though he had the opportunity to do so.

I cannot tell you how many times I have wished I could just go somewhere and not come back, in the attempt to not deal with being a caregiver. Remembering the hurtful words said to me, losing sleep because I was being yelled at when it was 3am, which added to days of sleep deprivation, loss of focus at work, wanting to get away but did not have the means to do so, constant worry of how to resolve issues of frustration that seemed to evolve into despair. But…I must honor my mother. It is what God commands of me.

“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

Because God commands it, I must have the audacity to honor her. Though we read in the news of arguments between parents and their children that cause physical harm towards one another, this is not what God would have us to do. Regardless of goes on, she is still my mother, and as she took care of me, it is now my turn to do the same for her. Yes, there are challenges. Yes, I am learning when it is time for me to take a time out ( that term has a different meaning now than when I was a child), which may mean going somewhere and doing something different to temporarily get away for it all. Nevertheless, what is in the forefront remains: the word honor is of  importance.

Honor for this context includes handling her financial affairs, bringing her a pack of socks when she says she needs them, going to the many stores and finally discovering a box of her favorite Mr. Goodbars candy, and unloading them all in my cart (taking them to her and seeing  her smile as she gobbles a couple of them), washing and ironing her clothes in hopes of her allowing me to take her to church on a Sunday, are examples of how I honor my mother, my attempt in holding her in high esteem through my actions.

This is a far cry from a few months ago when we lived together and the constant arguments we had. Now that she is in a nursing home where she is being cared for her dementia illness, the arguing has greatly diminished, but the caregiver responsibility remains a continual  process. Yet it must be done, and with God’s help my act of  honoring  her will be audacious.

To caregivers out there, I hope you can do the same.




A few weeks ago, my mother told me that because she lives now in the nursing home she has no friends. I came up with the idea of contacting her friends and sending them a card to inform them of what has been going on with her, encouraging them to send her a card. They responded it seems, and she has been receiving correspondence. However, what I considered to be a good idea seems to be quite the opposite in my mother’s mind.

Going to visit her is not a good time for me and it appears not for her either. What she has called me about nightly (her living in a hotel worried how she will pay for her stay as she has no credit card or money, to name a few) is the main topic whenever I come to visit. Bringing her favorite candy and some new clothes didn’t help either. At first she was happy to see me, but that doesn’t last long. Soon the conversation turns to the same issues, with me giving her the same answers I have spoken over the phone, and her usual response is that of her not trusting me. Within her barrage of mistrust statement she told me she has no idea what I have been telling relatives and her friends; she knows I have contacted them, which means they responded to my cards asking them to send her a card or drop a note. What I thought was a good idea she (as she has done everything else I have done on her behalf) has turned that into the negative, it is something else I have done wrong, as she nails something else to her mistrust tree.

During today’s visit, what started as good conversation, turned into an argument. I asked if she wanted me to take her to church for Easter, as I had to know so I could inform the social worker. I told her I would bring the appropriate clothing, as she had a concern of being properly dressed. But I still needed an answer from her. Knowing what buttons to push, she gave me a glaring look as she responded, “I want to go to church, but not with you.” It didn’t take long for me to get my coat and leave, walking down the hall sarcastically saying to myself “well that went well”, while at the same time feeling miffed at myself for being reactive instead of proactive.

As I got in my car, I felt the disease my mother had and the evil it possessed had won again. But the following lyric from a favorite song came to mind as I was praying to God asking for forgiveness.

“We will not be moved, when the earth gives way, for the Risen One has overcome.”

While this part of the song kept repeating itself in my mind, I realized despite what just happened, God is still there, very much involved in the whole situation, and still loved me. It also reminded me that I must keep the challenging responsibility of loving my mother regardless of what she says, how she interprets what I do, what she remembers and doesn’t remember (mainly the latter), though I have told her the same thing over and over, the key is to continue. Continue being the one who oversees her finances, the one who visits no matter how hard it is to do so, and continue bringing her favorite snacks of cookies, chocolate bars and popcorn.

I will not be moved…for the Risen One has overcome.

Therefore I will continue…

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?


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.

Knowing Your Blessings

It’s been a while since I have added a post to this blog, as a lot of things have happened:

  • constant arguing with Mom (particularly her coming to the edge of my bed at 3-4am and yelling at me, accusing me of stealing something) added to stress and loss of sleep
  • one argument in a car made things come to a head for me. I emotionally lost it, and after talking to many friends, I decided to stay at a hotel for a few days; time away from the situation helped tremendously; I enjoyed the quiet of the room
  • it was decided that I move out, which I did earlier in the month

For the past couple of week, and especially this past week I noticed something was wrong with my mother. She was talking like she was delusional, and for seniors in her age bracket that could mean she has UTI, or urinary tract infection. Secondly, she was found outside in the cold in her nightgown by neighbors. This led me to get her to the hospital, and tests confirmed she had UTI.

So here it is Christmas Eve, and while it is good to get some unpacking done in my new place and enjoy some quiet, I feel a bit down. After thinking a bit, I  had to acknowledge some things:

  • Space in this blog will not afford me to describe the blessings God provided in arranging for me not only find a place to live, but to move earlier than expected, and have the finances to do so.
  • Though the attempt to get my mother to an assisted living facility failed (one piece of paper was not faxed and the move-in date had to be postponed), now that she is in the hospital (at least for now), my concern for her living by herself has been eliminated. For now she is being watched by a medical staff who administers her medications, and she is safe.

Initially, I thought I was not getting any gifts and not being with any family members like many families are on Christmas.  I will be spending Christmas alone, taking time to go to the hospital to see my mother, then going back home. But after further thought, I realized God has already given me presents by way of protecting my mother with concerned neighbors (also caregivers) who saw her outside and got her back in her apartment. He provided a gift by providing another neighbor to help in getting my mother in my car so I could get her to the hospital.  These are more blessings I and my mother have experienced.

It is because of this and even more that I am aware that for this Christmas, God has provided gifts in the form of blessings of protective solutions, working situations out in a way that could not have been accomplished if I attempted to solve things in my own strength.  For that I am grateful.

So for caregivers everywhere, I hope you get to unwrap a Christmas gift, but know you have many presents that have already been opened and experienced. I hope you have the gift of rest (if only for a few hours), a present of a call from a caring friend, to name a few. I hope you unwrap a load of presents that will give you the strength to continue caring for your loved one, and the peace to strive on knowing you have many blessings…

Merry Christmas, Caregiver.