She became a widow at age 50. The husband of her youth had always taken care of her. He wrote the checks that paid the bills. He shopped for the groceries. He took care of all business affairs. He comforted the children in the middle of the night. He cared for her when she was sick.
No longer able to live on the meager savings he left, she was soon forced to sell their home. Becoming a live-in companion for elderly ladies, she was able to earn somewhat of an income to meet her basic needs.
Nearing retirement age, she renewed the friendship of a lifelong acquaintance that led to a wedding. After 18 months of marriage he too left her a widow.
At age 70, she battled cancer and overcame it. Bouts of manic depression and bi-polar mood swings had her in and out of assisted living communities until she was able to live independently again … until the falls began. Now, at 86, she walks slightly bent over. Her feet shuffle with each tiny step. Her vision is slowly dimming with macular degeneration and cataracts. On her bedside table sits 12 different bottles of medication. She is either too hot or too cold. The food is too salty, too sweet, too mushy, too tough, too much or not enough. Her voice holds little laughter now. Kindness seems to have disappeared. There is only criticism of someone or something. Occasionally, a “thank you” may be spoken. The same stories are told over and over and over again. Some days are better than others.
Perhaps you have an aged parent who goes through dark valleys of depression and seem to take out all of their frustrations on you. It’s not easy caring for an aging parent.
Proverbs 23:22 (ESV Bible) says, “Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.”
I have to admit that sometimes it is very difficult for me to heed that verse. This past week has been one of those dark valleys for my mom. I nearly spiraled down into that valley with her.
I thought back on her life and remembered the many physical, emotional, and spiritual battles she has fought. I don’t know that I would be any different. I realized she has taught me so much because of those battles and I am blessed.
I thought about the many difficult days ahead assuring she receives the proper care she needs.
Then Grace whispered to me …
Isaiah 40:29-31 (GW Bible) 29 He gives strength to those who grow tired and increases the strength of those who are weak.
30 Even young people grow tired and become weary,
and young men will stumble and fall.
31 Yet, the strength of those who wait with hope in the Lord will be renewed.
They will soar on wings like eagles.
They will run and won’t become weary.
They will walk and won’t grow tired.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, forgive me for those times when I look at my parent unfavorably. Lord, remind me each time to reflect on the struggles that are faced by the aging, for one day it will be me facing those same struggles. Father, thank you for giving me and others the strength to continue to care for our aged parents when we are weak and tired. I pray our care will always reflect your mercy, grace and love. In Christ name. Amen.