Just finished up 14 consecutive 16-hour days helping take care of my parents... they are doing slightly better each day (PTL!). I'm agonizingly behind on everything (cry me a river LOL!), but I'm surviving... many times even joyfully surviving mixed in with occasional times of discouragement, frustration, and a state of being overwhelmed by the inability to take care of my personal workload and responsibilities. All the costs that go into Caregiving (time, energy, effort, lost opportunities, personal neglect, sleep deprivation, the law of diminishing returns related to your loved ones condition, stress, pressure, isolation, financial strains, physical weariness, mental fatigue, emotional exhaustion, occasional insults & unappreciation that are inherently a part of Alzheimer's & dementia, friendships & relationships drifting away, inability to keep your home & vehicle clean or maintained, not being able to stay on top of anything or be able to do anything with a standard of excellence, and even little things like missing out on special occasions or fun outings or healthy diversions, etc ,etc)... the sum total of all of these costs can be an equation for personal defeat. Last year I was defeated 75% of the time. I like to say that the devil discovered the algorithm to my personal defeat. Death through a thousand "costs". But now I'm victorious 75% of the time. What happened? At times some of the circumstances improved, but they didn't drastically change. I drastically changed. Or more accurately, God is drastically changing me. God is using all the yuck to purge me of all my yuck... to purge the parts of me that want to assert my agenda over God's agenda. What the devil used last year to defeat me, God is using to build me. The stick that the devil used to beat me, God is now using to measure me. I'm more often victorious now as I'm letting go of those "costs" that overly concern me and just trusting that God's going to take care of all those things I can't take care of. He “will restore the years that the locust has eaten” (Joel 2:25). I know I'm exactly where God wants me to be even though I don't always want to be where God wants me to be. This is my calling right now. At times I hate it, but I'm learning to love it. At times I don't want it, but I'm learning to embrace it. This is my Nineveh even when I try to board a boat to Tarshish. We all have a cross to bear... and we all eventually have a cup before us that causes such great overwhelming anguish that we ask the Father to take it away, but then (hopefully) interrupt that request with a deeper fortitude of faith that rises up to say, "not my will, but Yours be done." I'm not quite where I need to be, but I'm on the right heading. I still squirm some days. I still tap out some days. I still get enraged some days. But those days are fleeting. I'm growing up in some very valuable ways. Kicking and screaming many times along the way.
Thank you for lifting our family up in prayer!
Lord willing, I'll be backing back down to 3 days per week at my parent's house and hopefully chipping away at my work responsibilities & projects... and maybe even having some fun along the way. And unfortunately preparing for my parent's next health issues. It's the reality of aging bodies in a broken world... eventually the body hits its limits.
There is nothing that the devil can steal that God can't restore!
There is nothing that the devil can kill that God can't resurrect!
There is nothing that the devil can destroy that God can't rebuild!
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." - Jesus (John 10:10)