Making a Home: Words for a Care-Giver

My perceived golden years were supposed to be the time when ingathering was finished and I could enjoy the fruits of my many years of labor. The time when most of my bucket list could start happening and I could do the things I had put on the back-burner and told myself I’d do when I got old and gray. Then life got in the way and things didn’t go as I dreamed. My Little Mama’s golden years became tarnished by the patina of Alzheimer’s and she needed a care-giver. My golden years had changed into something totally different than I expected.

In seeking God‘s perspective for this season in my life He reminded me of this promise in 2 John 1,3:

To the elect lady and her children (family)… Grace, mercy and peace WILL be with you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ…

He reminded me that these words were much more than a salutation. They were HIS words of LIFE to me and that if I received each one and laid claim to them for my own as a daily blessing from Him then I could be who He wanted me to be for my family in this season.

GRACE. MERCY. PEACE. These words have nothing to do with what I do to make my home comfortable for my family….they have everything to do with who I am in my home with my family.

It is God’s grace that helps me when I have to parent my parent to make sure she remains safe and healthy. It is His grace that helps me in the times buttons from childhood get pushed and I want to respond in a defensive, emotional, or hateful way. It is His grace that helps me to be able to walk away from the physical clutter and chaos that this disease brings into a home.

It is His mercy flowing through me that gives me compassion for the times Little Mama comes to me scared because she doesn’t know where her parents or her husband or her puppy is. Mercy for when she doesn’t know where she is or why she is living with me so that I can comfort her and make her feel safe. It is His mercy that lets me know it is okay to be messed up emotionally at times when I get frustrated or when I see the confusion and pain in Little Mama’s eyes.

Most of all I find I can have inner peace because I know I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing in this season. Honoring my Little Mama and knowing this pleases my DAD. And if I continue to press in to receive and live in these blessings from Him, my home will flow in abundance of what He wants it to be….maybe not Better Homes and Gardens perfect, but God-Perfect….a life-giving, loving, warm, comfortable and safe haven for my family’s spirits.

This post was written by Kitty Shipman. To read more about her, click here

The Heart of Grief

griefI remember so clearly the moment the pediatric ICU doctor asked Brad and I to come into the conference room. He wanted to show us the MRI of David’s brain and explain to us the effect that the stroke had had on his brain. He seemed so calm and nonchalant, like this was just another day in the office.  As he pointed to the picture on the screen, he explained that the part of David’s brain that was all black was the part that was completely dead because of the lack of blood flow. It looked as if half of David’s brain was not working any longer.   I was completely in shock and overwhelmed… It was truly the first time I had ever wanted to punch someone in the face. In that moment the rage I had towards this reality, the fact that my 5-month-old son had a stroke, was overwhelming.  It was the first time I had really experienced grief. It was all I could do to stay standing and to walk out of that conference room. As I went back to David laying in his crib in the pediatric ICU, the only thing that was going through my mind was the lyrics to a song that had been playing in my car. The words to the song said “He is good, He is good, His love endures forever.  Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.”

I am still overwhelmed today when I think about that picture of David’s brain. The emotions I feel about the traumatic experience we’ve walked through are still real today. The grace of God in that moment, was the song that He so graciously sang over me…it reminds me of God’s ability. Not my ability. It reminds me to give thanks to God. To speak the truth of God’s goodness over David and his stroke and over other circumstances I face that bring sadness and grief to my heart.  It reminds me that God’s love is forever!  Grief and sorrow are real. They stay with us. But God extends His grace to us when we are dealing with grief and that grace allows us to keep living.

Two verses will always be dear to my heart because of David’s stroke. One is in Deuteronomy 30:19.

I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.

 

The other is Psalm 126:5,

Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.

God continues to use both of these verses when I’m walking through grief. One of them gives me permission to feel and cry, and the other encourages me to choose life…even in the middle of my pain.  Grief is real. It’s an emotion that’s meant to throw us into the presence of God.

Dear friends, if you’re experiencing grief today don’t ignore it. Run towards God…let His grace wash over you. Let His words speak to your heart. There is no shame in grief…in fact we can see it as a gift if we’re willing to experience it, embrace it, and receive God’s comfort because of it. 

May the peace of God always rule deeply in our hearts…no matter what we face!

Blessings,

Julie

This post was written by Julie Snellgrove. To read more about her, click here