"It's Going to Be a Long and Complicated Journey, My Child. . ."

"It's going to be a long and complicated journey, my child."  This is from season 3 of the TV series, Velvet.  If you have never seen it, finish this blog and begin watching it now.  It is such a great series, and it is on Netflix.  SO good, and truer words have never been spoken.

If you are a caretaker, I am thankful for you.  Your work is needed and important and the Lord sees you.

My mom had a stroke over a year ago, and our lives drastically changed.  She can no longer drive, cook, or do basic tasks.  She calls my kids by the wrong names, can't recall mine most of the time, not because she doesn't know who I am, the words just don't come.  She gets confused easily.  I know this is utterly difficult for her.  She feels like a burden I'm sure and I know it pains her to no end.  She says that she "feels drunk" all of the time.  She can hardly walk without scaring me to death.  She has little control over her movements.  She gets fixated on things, frustrated very easily, and she can argue with my five year old like nobody's business.  Every time I leave the house with my kids and without her, I feel guilty.  She can only leave if I take her with me.

To tell you the truth, it sucks.  It is just hard.  I miss her.  The pre-stroke her.  My mom and I have always had a complicated relationship.  She's always had what I like to call a frustrating wisdom.  I overheard her telling someone the other day that I have been an easy and sweet child since the day I was born.  Maybe that is true (it's highly doubtful), but I really think her opinion is relative to my more "challenging" older brothers.  Either way, I have loved her dearly forever.  I count her among the most frustrating and loving people I've ever known.  She is utterly creative and will drive you crazy at the same time.  She loves the Lord and will tell you exactly how she feels about any subject.  She is honest to the point where I've wanted to fight her.  For instance, the week I found out I was pregnant with Grace, her advice varied from, "Allison, the Lord will work this out.  Don't worry about it.  Fix your eyes on Him, walk upright and you will be just fine," to "His ass better be on that birth certificate!"  (She was half joking of course.) She's my mom, and I miss her.  She is here living in my home, I see her everyday, and I miss her.  

This is hard.  This is how I feel often when my brain is on overload. . .

My dad has always told me whatever the difficult situation is, there is something great to be learned from it.  Look for the Lord in it.  God walks us through the pain to give strength.  To teach us to rely on Him, to turn back to Him, to ask Him for help first.  I still hardly ever do that, but he doesn't give up on me.  He's training me up like Rocky (without the muscles).  In every situation, there is great change to be made.  

If you haven't read the book of James lately, you should.  So much truth and pain and wisdom from the brother of Jesus.  He lived a very complicated existence and left great truth with perspective.

James 1: 2-26

Count it all joy, my brothers,[b] when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass[c] he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.

12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. 14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.[d] 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. 

26 If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. 
We are here to serve.  I have learned much from my mom's stroke, and much from my grandmother living with us until she passed away.  I've learned much from watching my father serve my mother.  I know he is weary.  He takes care of her in the morning, works an 8 to10 hour day 6 days a week,  and comes home to take care of her every night.  He doesn't ever complain.  He needs rest.  He loves her.

There is something precious about caring for others.  It is a part of life that should not be missed.  It should not be dismissed as inconvenient and unimportant.  No one will know what it is like for you.  Every situation is difficult and can be daunting, but don't disregard the view of this life that it gives you.  This life is short.  Things that used to be important become small and insignificant.  Care taking is important to the Lord.  Whether you are caring for a parent, a spouse, a sibling, a child or a friend, keep your head up.  This life is so good when the Lord is in it.

“Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away.” —1 Peter 5:2–4


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