I have not been able to blog about my Caregiver circumstance, so I thought I would put everything into words. I hope that this might serve as something that someone can relate to and gain insight, encouragement as well as share in the moment. I rarely get a moment to blog because I rarely get moments to myself. The blog posts that come through this blog are done in brief moments, so I thank everyone in advance for taking the time to read them because if I had different circumstances, I would blog daily.
We are afflicted
For my audience, I would like to share that I am a Christian wife, who has been caring for both Parents since I was 37. I also happen to be the Mother of three gorgeous children. At the time that I became a Caregiver to both of my Parents, my children were 3 and 18 months. Now, my kids are 11, 8 and 1. I had to leave my career, in order to take care of both Parents. I also had to take on Homeschooling, during a Pandemic. Really, the Lord was telling me to for the longest time, but I wanted no part in it. It wasn’t for me. Well, God wins in the end and I was blessed to begin Homeschooling my kids 2 months before we went into lockdown. Talk about God’s timing! I was already prepared. During the pandemic, I also was blessed with a beautiful surprise, a baby girl.
Shattered to dust
Before being discharged from the Hospital, I was told that I had SPD (Spontaneous Pelvic Disfunction). I basically would be unable to walk. I had a 50/50 chance of recovery and they couldn’t give me a time frame, either. It would be whenever I healed, if I ever would. To top off my worst nightmare, my referral for a Home Physical Therapist was lost and so I was told that I would have to go to PT instead. Well, my circumstance went from bad to worse. So, I looked up a PT on YouTube and began pelvic floor exercises on my bed. I also prayed daily for healing.
The inability to walk and having a newborn was a nightmare. I then, had to place my trust onto the ones I care for. My Mother made food and tended to laundry. The kids helped with cleaning and my Husband worked. The tragedy was that my Husband qualified for 3 months of paid leave at his job, but was told that because there was no one else that could do his work, he could only take off a week. So for months, I was a prisoner of my own body. I was able to stand up, but had to walk with a walker. My legs simply wouldn’t move, so I would drag one leg at a time, only to go to the restroom. The only productive thing I could do was breastfeed. I went from being unable to move my legs, or lift up my leg even one inch off the ground, to fully walking after 3 months. I have never taken being able to walk for granted, since then!
Simply having gone through the postpartum fourth trimester, in this state, was a complete nightmare. I had to “accept” my circumstance and allow for healing to take its time. So, I didn’t cook, clean, do laundry of Homeschool during this time. Luckily, I had Homeschooled through the summer so that I would have time to bond with my Baby. In my circumstance, it paid off because it was all the time I needed to heal, physically.
Having both Parents is quite a task because it affects both their mental health and one’s own. The lockdown was awful and without a doubt affected the mental health of my Parents. I am a problem solver and try to make things work for everyone, but when it comes to someone else’s mental health, you cannot change it. So, I have given myself the grace to do what I can for the healthcare of my Parents and they are well taken cared for. We have gone through stages together.
This experience, undoubtedly, took my broken pieces and shattered them to dust! Through the tears and chaos, I found that a potter does the same in order to make clay stronger. I came to find that many times a clay pot or object is ok after made, but many times the Potter will break it into pieces, just before shattering those pieces into fine dust. Once the dust is complete another type of dust is added, called “grog.” The grog makes this new dust stronger. Next, the Potter adds water and begins shaping and molding the clay.
Lastly, a Potter will place it into a furnace (kiln) and it is the temperature that will determine how strong the clay will be. The hotter the heat, the stronger the clay. After the clay object is cooled down, it can be perfected by the decorating the Potter uses, with colors and glosses. If you find yourself like dust, realize that God is about to re-start the molding process. Just as a Potter will put old clay to use, so God will use what you have been through (all the broken pieces) and build you up into someone that is stronger and wiser.
Stage one – acceptance
Having a change of life is difficult on the giver as well as the receiver of care. For my Parents, they were unwilling to give up their independence, entirely. The daily struggles were there. For my Husband and kids, we had to accept that this was now our new life. For my Parents, I would say it took 3 years for them to truly accept that this was their permanent situation. For my Husband and myself, we embraced the imminent change, when we were selling our home to accommodate for a larger home. It has been a transition that I could see coming, but the aftermath has been intense. In saying that, truly God began breaking me at this point. My trust was to keep my focus on Him because the storm was just beginning.
Stage two – Power struggles
With not accepting the change of life, on my Parent’s behalf, came the power struggles. I became the Parent and in many ways, my Parents role was closer to that of rebellious teenagers. Having to do all their Case Management for their Healthcare needs was a struggle. I also struggled with having to manage their Home, which they rented. There was a back and forth of wanting to move back because they believed they could “do it all on their own.” The last straw has been their finances. Finances are that foundational threshold that they fear losing most. Handing over control to the child has been a very difficult battle. Because I am speaking from the perspective of a Caregiver, my entire intention is based on love. I want what is best for my Parents, but they have put up a fight.
There have been power struggles on their personal space, boundaries for Parenting and Grand-Parenting, groceries and freedoms. I have been in a constant storm ever since my Parents moved in with us. It will be seven years this June. My own personal “Tribulation”, if you will. Times have been so difficult, but through it all, God has been speaking to me and telling me so many things of comfort.
When help comes from god
For the Caregiver, there will come a time when the help will stop. I have 4 siblings that have walked away from helping and it has been left to my Husband and myself to bear it all. When I faced this, it was mind boggling. I now found myself alone, or so I thought. Through this particular storm, God showed me that people will let us down, but He NEVER will. “Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me”Psalm 27:10. The Lord allowed this situation to show me that He is with me through it all. Just as He was with the disciples in the boat each time there was a storm. He is still sovereign and He is still in control. So, through this, He has taught me to ask, “What should I learn from this?” “What are you trying to tell me or show me?”
I had reached a pinnacle in where God wanted me to have no one. He allowed it in order to have me learn that I can rely on people, sometimes, but they eventually will disappoint. They eventually let us down. His message to me was clear. He was telling me that, “regardless of who is present or missing in your life, I want to be the one that you lean on and call for help because only I can change any circumstance.” He wasn’t necessarily saying that He would remove the current situation, but He would be the only one that could get me through it! Allow God to be your strong foundation. This is exactly what the this verse means, “From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I” Psalm 61:2. This rock is God. He is the One and Only that we are to come to first. So many times, we reach out to the physical people because they’re visible. God was telling me that this required the spiritual help, which people could not offer to me. Lean on God spiritually and He will give you the strength and build you up in the areas where you are weakest. It will give Him the glory and II Corinthians 12:9-10 will become a clearer verse, which reads, “And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.“
Suffering has a purpose
It has been a journey of suffering. I have had to endure many moments of fearing that my Parents would not wake up to the next day. Being through a rollercoaster ride of illness and everything that comes with it, is exhausting. It ranges from managing Doctor’s visits, managing medications and healthcare equipment to neglecting my own self care. Seeing my Father’s health going into a downward spiral daily and seeing the foreshadow of what is to come, through death has been difficult. Everyone has something that they’re going through. For myself, this is mine. I have the joy of the Lord, which is my salvation and I preach the Gospel daily. I praise God in the fire and pray at all times of the day and night. But I came to a point, where I was being spiritually attacked and broke down. I began questioning what the purpose of all of this was.
The Lord lead me to read Hebrews 7-10. I am a seasoned Christian and know what the Bible says about suffering, but I still had not learned the meaning of it, at its core. I just knew it was a common thing that Christians will go through. So, the Lord began revealing to me what the role of Melchizedek was, which is a Christophony (an appearance of Jesus prior to His birth). As I read, I began to see that it is a form of “oneness” and “perfecting” via purification. It was necessary for Jesus to come as Melchizedek in order to fit the regulations of a Holy High Priest. By doing this, it guaranteed suffering to all who would be “one” in Messiah, when becoming Born Again through the spirit. We are only able to be clothed with His righteousness garment via suffering. So, in a sense, if we don’t go through sufferings as a Christian, we will not meet perfecting and cannot be clothed in righteousness. In essence, it is part of becoming “one” in Christ. It is not only expected, but perfected.
Since Jesus had to leave His form to take on Human flesh, our flesh is made perfect through the purification by the Holy blood of Jesus on the cross. Jesus had to suffer every Human form of suffering, temptations and trial that we go through, in order to offer healing and relief from it. Jesus had to die a physical death in order to give eternal life. Jesus had to put the flesh to death, in order to transform ours into a Holy, righteous body that would be presentable before a Holy God. So, each time that you are suffering, remember that it is a way in which you will be perfected in the future. Your current sufferings will have an end. And remember what Paul said, when he had a glimpse of eternity and Heaven, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” Romans 8:18. So hold fast because He is refining you through the fire.
It is my hope that if you are a Caregiver, you will find this useful and if you are just going through a really dark time in your life, you will see that there is purpose in your suffering. Give it all to God.