Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. In all your ways acknowledge HIM and He will make your paths straight.
— Proverbs 5:3
— Proverbs 5:3
Guard Your Heart
While caring for my mom and after much encouragement we moved her into independent living. My dad had told her before he died not to let us move her into an "institution". The first two weeks went well. Then she got pneumonia, fell and had a suspected hairline fracture of he anckle. She went into the hospital. That night and everything changed. She became very disoriented, had hallucinations and became very agitated. I will never forget looked into my eyes and blamed me and said, "Tom, how could you let something like this happen to me?" It cut straight to my heart. I was trying so hard caring for her and do the "right thing". I was hurt because my mom felt I let her down. My heart was vulnerable because I really cared and I was held accountable for something I could not control.
Proverbs 4:23 reminds us, "Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix our gaze directly before you." Some counselors would say not to take my moms comments personally. She isn't thinking clearly with her dementia. It is hard to let a comment like that pass. A defense of my actions and an explanation of circumstances was irrelevant at the time. I just had to put away a responsive defense. My hurt wan't the issue. Getting care for my mom was the issue. I had to fix my attention to the concerns at hand. I had not sinned against my mom, but she felt that I did. I told her I was sorry this happened.
Psalm 51 says, "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." I see that verse as asking God to not only heal a sinful heart, but to heal a broken heart as well. For the next month my mom would wear an ankle brace and deal with issues in rehab. We were not going to come back and and focus on my hurt. She could not mentally think about my hurt. I had to take it to God. Phil. 4:6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." And so I did. It wasn't so much a dwelling on my hurt as it was a trusting in God and in new ways God could help me care for my mom.
The journey from Phil 4:6 to verse 7 "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." took three months to find a new peace.
There is the refining of the soul that can happen in the caregiver's journey with God. Our thoughts and motives are be challenged. Our confidence can erode quickly. We can feel trapped. Yet, God can work in us a new person and spirit. Matt. 5:8 says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." We can see God in a new way?
As Linda Randall sings fro her song the God of the Mountain: The God of the good times is also the God of the bad times." Finding God in the bad times is a very renewing, strengthening and healing or at least it has been for me. My heart has not only been guarded, but healed and renewed; it has be touched by God's love.
There are lies intended to pierce our hearts that can come from many places, even the one we care for. We do not have to believe those lies. We will make mistakes, wrong decisions, say uncontrolled words and react rather than respond. Those are wrong actions, but not a definition of who we are and who we can become. God has an image of who He wants us to be. Being a caregiver can be a part of God's teaching method. We are not a finished person until God is finished with us. In the meantime we will grow and change as God leads us. Rom. 12:2, "Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."
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Sue Brettmann RN has been devoted to Caregiving both in her career as an RN, Parish Nurse and caring for her aging parents through the last 40 plus years. She has experience in trauma, home care and hospice. Her strong faith walk and relationship with Christ has always been a part of her care and she is committed to helping others see the gift of Christ in their personal journey's.