So, today I moved my mom in with me. I knew when God said that He wanted me to trust Him and do this that I would choose to respond.
There was some arguing and whining about what it would cost me, but in truth what it cost me (emotionally and physically, not financially) is far less than what it has already gained me. I didn’t do it because of the benefit to me in any way, I did it because God says love Him and love others. She is an other no matter our history.
And so, today I settled her in, made her lunch and helped her shower. I was hit with the image of Jesus washing His disciples feet as I washed her hair. It was in that moment that I gained another HUGE perspective about choosing the response He would ask me to. Choosing the response that looks past so many things and sees your incredibly sick mother as another piece of His handiwork and having compassion for her and the things she didn’t choose as I would have it.
Choosing to see the incredible love and compassion that He has for me. A broken sinner, learning to live loved and love like Jesus.
Today was a special day and affirmation that His plans are always better than my own.
My encouragement for you today, dear loved ones, no matter who or what you believe is to see those around you with the eyes of compassion. Check to see if there are places and relationships in your life that you may not be choosing the best response for them or for you and then choose to adjust if needed.
It’s been awhile. It’s been a road. It’s been a challenging season with way too many things happening all at once that’s taking a heavy toll on me in every way possible.
But knowing that God isn’t surprised at all and that He will make all things right brings some comfort and peace sometimes. I am not yet angry with God. Honestly. It isn’t His doing that finds us with the reality of the end days or months of our mom’s life.
I AM angry though. I am fighting not being resentful of her because a good portion of this she did have control over and chose not to change habits or lifestyle. And then there’s the financial choices she made and didn’t which leaves us to figure out to not only pay for her basic needs but her cremation or services when the time comes. In my heart, I know that day is far more near than we would hope it to be, and at the same time I ask God to take her home.
When the anger and resentment comes I am reminded of “thou shall not judge” and have to look in the mirror.
And so, trying to live in one moment at a time is stupid hard when we also have to make decisions that are best for her when there’s so many if/then scenarios in play.
So, I keep praying. I keep trusting. I keep doing. I keep feeling. I keep struggling to accept the love, care, and offers of help in various forms. I forget how to love others and let others love me. I do.
What we are dealing with isn’t uncommon. It’s not any harder than what other families go through. There’s no chapter in the playbook that explains how to deal with making the best decisions possible during a deadly virus outbreak. There’s no chapter that adds in our very special set of family dynamics. There’s just not.
Mixed in with total hell is absolute joy and amazing grace. I have a lot to talk about and yet nothing to say. I’m exhausted and cannot sleep at the same time. I’m in the middle of both/and. We are in the middle of a storm and a miracle.
Whenever I start to wonder what the next day looks like let alone the next few months I am assured that He is already there.
Step 2: We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.” Philippians 2:13
Today, as I am writing this, friends….no truer words could ever have been spoken. I am so grateful for the first-hand experiences of His power and love. I think we can easily become immune to that, or maybe so comfortable with it that it becomes comfortable and maybe even taken for granted.
It is dangerous territory to get into a place of comfort. Living there for a minute, probably not a big deal. Staying there, however, can lead to complacency and denial and self-will from my perspective and experience.
We all tend to want to do what is safe and comfortable. Safe and comfortable is not always wise. Safe and comfortable is not always the place of His will, but our own if we are honest. If I am honest.
Choosing to believe. Those words and that real-life experience and choice has hit me upside the head time and time again. Recently in a very powerful, tangible and real way.
I fail to live up to my own standards before I open my eyes. Let’s be real, for most of us, before our day even starts we do, say, or think something that is stupid and not of Him. I don’t pretend to be perfect, and the reality is I choose to believe and accept that I am not.
I also choose to believe that He knew that about all of us long before we ever came into this world. This not-so-safe and highly uncomfortable world.
I am choosing to believe that none of us are as we should be not as an excuse to justify my weakness, but as an act of choosing to believe in a power greater than myself that will restore me to sanity and quickly, if I allow it.
I know that I choose to stay comfortable and find comfort in the wrong things easily, if I am not seeking God and His will for my life above all things.
My challenge for myself, and to you, is to examine what you are choosing to believe.
Do you find yourself in a place of safe and comfortable? Are you truly safe and comfortable, or are you in denial? Do you find yourself growing in faith and belief more when you are in the safe and comfortable place or when you are not? Who is your safety and comfort? Is it Him or someone/something else?
You just never know when life will throw a curveball your way and recently I took a big swing at one. I am not sure, yet if I hit it out of the park or it stayed infield, but I hit the ball.
I found myself choosing to make a choice instead of outweighing every.single.possible.scenario and to remember that no matter what, He was with me. I talked about it with some of my favorite people and when I did, I felt Him.
Now, let me just say that I knew that the choice I was making was complex and that it could very well turn out with me asking myself, “Well, how many times are you going to put your hand on a hot stove knowing you get burned.” Instead, I felt empowered to choose and fully aware of the consequences of making a choice either way. I also knew that it could lead to some judgment, shame and rejection.
Before, I stepped to the plate I chose to reach out and talk about what I was thinking about. I not only talked about it, I prayed about it. And although God did not give me a clear go ahead, what He did give me was “I go with you and there is nothing you could ever do that would make me love you less.” Not permission, but affirmation that He has never walked away from me when I have completely struck out.
I felt affirmed in His love for me despite my weakness and failures.
And I chose and I did it. And then I ran through a checklist (mental, emotional, spiritual and physical) to ask myself questions. Nowhere in that checklist was, “Why did you do that? You know better?” and nowhere in that was, “You should probably not tell anyone about this.”
The beautiful thing is that I am not attached to shame for this choice or any of the other previous choices or any of the probable poor choices I will most likely make at some point in my life again. Am I proud? No. Am I full of shame and self-loathing? Also no.
When you break free of shame, and instead feel convicted you tend to do the next right thing. I did that. I did not hide. I did not pretend I didn’t do it and I most certainly did not put myself into a shame cycle. I made a choice and now I choose to live with the outcome. I cannot claim victimhood when I am the one who chose to swing the bat.
I talked about it with the same trusted friends. And you know what, once again affirmed. Not necessarily affirmed in the choice, but affirmed in not only His love for me but their love for me. Graciously speaking the truth in love and loving me where I am. That’s more affirmation than I could ever ask for or deserve.
But God, He redeems. He loves. And He gives us the opportunity to recognize His hand in everything including the times when we choose something that is not necessarily what He wants for us.
And although I will still choose to take this one day at a time, I am both humbled and affirmed that I need a Savior, will never live up to my own standards let alone His. Thank you Jesus for your redeeming grace and mercy!
As much as I am going to fail, with Him, I cannot lose. We win or we learn. With Jesus, we cannot lose. I am affirmed in my choice to be my whole, real, messy self and not hide from the pieces of me that still need work.
Every single human on this earth wants the same basic things: to feel loved, heard, cared for, secure and safe. Every single human on this earth is wired to receive all of that through God, our Heavenly Father and lover supreme.
We all have filters and character defects that sometimes prevent others from offering those things to us. We all have God who also offers the same things to us and is the only one who can get it right every.single.time.
I love the idea that the same character defects that can be used to destroy, can also be used to bring life if we turn it over to Him.
Most of us have to learn all of this hardway. In learning it the hard way, it is a lesson deeply ingrained in me that I won’t easily forget. How about you? Do I have an occasional memory lapse? Absolutely yes. It is true that there cannot be light without darkness.
I was thinking about the words in scripture found in 1 Peter 3:8 that say, “Finally, all of you be like-minded, be sympathetic, love on another, be compassionate and humble.” I landed on like-minded and camped on that for a bit.
Like-minded? What does that mean? That I have to agree with everything someone says or does or believes? No, not actually. For me, it means like-minded in terms of basic needs and securities.
What does that have to do with filters and character defects and all of that? Well, could it be that the person that we are in a relationship with is wired for the same things and needs and wants the same thing as us? Could it be that the person that is not using words towards me that are helpful, really needs me to help them bring out the words, thoughts and feelings that they are trying to share with me?
Could it be that one of my many character defects (aka talents) could be used for His glory and my good? Yes. It is possible. For example: my filter of rejection and abandonment can cause me to hear things that you DID NOT say. If you speak that language, then you know what I mean. In other words, I hear past what you said and instead hear, “I don’t like you. I am leaving you. I don’t want to be around you.You are not safe with me,” Think bigger now, and think about communication gaps and how we can use that same exact thing in an upside down way to hear that the person is actually saying, behind the words that they ARE saying.
I seriously do not have this all figured out, friends. I still have to go through a mental, emotional, spiritual checklist on the regular. I still have to ask for Him to reveal what is actually happening in my heart and head before I get all the more confused and butthurt. Seriously.
Here’s my challenge for all of us. Grow to be more like-minded with Jesus in our thoughts and actions. Think and pray before we spout and say. Develop like-mindedness in all of our relationships as a result. Simple equation, so hard to do. Thanks for holding me accountable!