Archive for March, 2010

A Caregiver’s Walk

I celebrated 51 years yesterday. The day was a great mix. I played an e-flat horn solo at church in both services. The song is one of my favorites, “Now I Belong to Jesus.” I’ve been thinking of a running sort of obligato part for a while, wrote it down and performed it. As my old bandmaster said, IT’S A MIRACLE! After that, we had lunch with Dad’s old caregiver and mom said it was just like old times, except Dad wasn’t there. Dinner was at my friend, Miriam’s house. We enjoyed a meal fit for a king and conversation fit for his saints.

Her mother, Berta is one of Mom’s companions. She came to my house on Sunday morning so I could perform. She dressed, showered and fixed Mom’s breakfast. Then she brought her to church. She is exactly 10 years younger than my mother and they are true friends. They understand things about life, death, and old age that I’ve never thought of. On Wednesdays, after Berta takes Mom to her weekly hair appointment, they have lunch together and spend approximately $2. I don’t know how they do it, unless there is a grey-headed old man who works the counter at the chain and is sweet on them. So yesterday, because I performed, they worshipped together.

It is great when you have a team to help you with caregiving. It really takes a team. Paula, another woman from our church also helps with my mom. Both companions offer something very different to my mom and our family. I hope that we offer them something besides a little spending money. I serve them a heaping dish of Christian hospitality with a side of brotherly love whenever they come over.

I know some of you don’t have help. Let me know, and I will pray about that. But for today, I want to encourage you with God’s Word. II Corinthians 1: 3, 4 state, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

He is the caregiving God. He is the God of all comfort. Take time today to be comforted by Him.

The Voice of the Martyrs

“It’s not a social problem or even a political problem, it’s a family problem!” the Voice of the Martyrs speaker declared passionately.

Her topic was the persecuted Christians in the world. Men, women, young and old are facing tough, life-threatening choices each day as they declare that they are a part of the family of God. They lose their jobs, homes, freedoms, and even their lives for the gospel. Some are required to report to the police station weekly for what will most likely be a beating or worse because they claim the name of Christ. Yet, they don’t ask for us to pray for the persecution to stop, but that they will be bold with their witness, with their love.

It’s hard to imagine that here. Where Bibles abound. Where churches grace many corners. Where we have 24-7 access to ‘Christian’ radio and TV. While we decide whether we will go out to dinner or cook at home our brothers and sisters are battling for the sake of the gospel. These are not strangers in some remote land, but our heavenly family. Yet, we act as if we don’t know them or can’t hear them.

Perhaps it’s because we have the reality shows, and sitcoms, and ballgames blaring so loudly that not only can’t we hear them, but we can’t hear from our Creator.

Perhaps we need to get off the couch and on our knees. Just like we pray for our children. Just like we pray for our parents. We need to be praying for our family–God’s family. Praying that we can be more like them. Praying that we will be more like Christ.

I know that’s my prayer.

A Caregiver’s Walk

It’s almost 4PM and I’m still in my jammies. You see, I have laryngitis (Thanks Judi Perry-conscientious editor, for the correct spelling), a cold, and a low-grade fever. No one in my house cares with the exception of my 89-year-old mother.

My college-aged son is cramming for a speech that he started today and is due today. My husband is desperately trying to coerce tourists into fishing aboard our boat, The Gypsy. Mom is sleeping in her uncomfortable, lift-chair in the cheery, green room that is now her home. She’s protecting her weekly-old-lady-hairdo with her shiny, white sleeping cap. It rests precariously on top of her head as she reads the latest in Christian fiction.

Mom is our only living parent. Tom’s Father and Mother both died a few years ago, and my father died in November of 2007. So my mom is the only one in the entire planet who still cares that her 50-year-old baby has a cold. In fact, while checking on her several times during the afternoon, she has advised me first to put Vicks on my throat, then tongue, and lastly she advised me to take a nap.

I’m going to remember that when she’s confused in the mornings and still thinks Dad is alive. I’m going to remember that when we take our walks and she stops to talk, because she can’t walk and talk at the same time. I’m going to remember that when it gets harder and harder to take care of her, or even if the Lord decides to take her in her sleep. (We’ve discussed meeting our maker while in sleeping mode, and both agreed that it got our vote.)

And, I’d miss her. But for now, she’s here and I’m glad.

Right now, I think I’ll put Vicks on my throat and take a nap. But I draw the line at Vicks on the tongue. Besides, I have yet to brush my teeth.

A Caregiver’s Walk

Our family has been the poster child of the sandwich generation. But that sandwich has lost some bread. My Father, Ramon L. Wert, retired from The Salvation Army, was ‘Promoted to Glory,’ on November 10, 2007.

My daughter is currently attending Florida State University and was recently accepted into graduate school. Micah is still home, although a freshman at St. Petersburg College.

Last night he had friends over for dinner and a Bible study. Sounds like a great show, although I doubt it would be popular. Tom and I crowded into Mom’s room and ate our spaghetti and salad. We chatted with her and then retired to our bedroom.

Listening to college-aged kids intent on purity, intent on following after God, intent on accountability was a joy. But it wasn’t always like that, and probably won’t always continue like that. But for today, there is joy.

Psalm 63: 6, 7 states: “When I remember You on my bed, I mediate on You in the night watches, For You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.”

There were plenty of shadows as a caregiver over these last few years. Times when I didn’t sense God’s presence, but now I see it was just the shadow of His wing. He was still there. Covering me, protecting me.

Perhaps you’re in His shadow now. Do what David did. Remember Him, meditate on Him, cling to Him and experience the joy of His shadow.

A Caregiver’s Walk

This evening, my husband Tom, and I will make a short drive to The International Mall and attend an Apple workshop. We’ll drink hot tea at Teavana’s and enjoy each other’s company. My daughter is away at college, my freshman-age son will bring friends home later for pizza, and Tom and I will go to bed at about nine.

I know we sound like many people our age, (I’m 39 and Tom is 50) but the difference is when we go to the mall and drink our tea, and attend our computer class, we won’t be alone. My 89-year-old mother will join us.

Why? She lives with us.

I’d like to talk to you about how that’s worked out and how it hasn’t. I’d like to encourage you by telling you when we succeeded and be transparent with you when I’ve failed.

Maybe you are caregiving now, or thinking of caregiving in the future.

Join me, let’s get to know each other, and walk together.

PS, I’m not really 39.