If you’ve spent the time this month with us, you will have gleaned many, many decades of well worn counsel and advice from some of your closest friends — this side of the Rockies and that side of the Mississippi. From the east to the west and all around the globe, it’s safe to say that we’ve covered you in prayer.
These Bite Size Morsels of love and grace have been put into the oven and tested by some of our greatest critics — our families. While they love us to heaven and back, they have had the dubious privilege of being on the receiving end of our faux pas, blunders, missteps, mess-ups, flare-ups … But unlike you, Sweet Friend, they got the uncensored and unedited version of us in real time. There was no opportunity for a pause and “let me get a tissue to wipe that away.” They often got us in the heat of the moment. And we all know the kitchen gets mighty hot!
These recipes with Jesus are now the neat and tidy version. The edition where we can actually smile and possibly laugh at the memories we have while scripting and baking these morsels for you. They were indeed forged in the kitchen fire of mamahood.
We come now to the final gathering around the kitchen table to talk from the heart about a season that so many of us are living today: Parenting our elderly parents. Maybe you, too, find yourself in this unpredictable time in your life.
As we breathe from one day to the next, there is no escaping the fact that we will one day be in the places our parents now occupy (or have occupied). And yes, this season like pretty much all the previous ones, came without warning. Or at least, we like to think that’s how it arrived.
Was it that we were so wrapped up in making sure we had all our bases covered that we may have overlooked the changing landscape of home plate? Or were we secretly hoping that the inevitable was too far off into the future that we would have the opportunity to step into this chapter more knowledgeable and better equipped?
Sweet Friend, let me say this with all the love in my heart for you: Just like parenting our children, there is no manual for these chapters in the book. Many of us found ourselves riding the waves coming to shore without remembering how to swim. Some of us needed a new surfboard. Some of us had to nearly drown before hollering for help.
Finding our way in these deep waters we will need our Savior and His Promises more than ever. Treading water on a prayer is often how it all feels.
Always keep in mind, your responsibility is first to your own children, then to your own mother. She may be difficult to deal with because she just doesn't feel well, she is not as fun as she used to be, she has so many needs and you have your own family to care for. You are torn. Look to God for strength and help prioritizing. Take care of your children's needs, then go out of your way to care for the woman who first cared for you. I guarantee, you will look back and be glad you did. Stay strong. ~ Jackie Popovich
Jackie makes her home in Southern California, with her husband and daughter, and has a son and daughter-in-love in Chicago. Her happy places are the beach and the mountains, enjoying God’s beautiful creation. She retired from court reporting when her son was born and is now an Avon Sales Representative. Jackie has enjoyed volunteering in the sound ministry at her church for 25 years, delivers for Meals on Wheels, manages to squeeze in her daily dose of yoga, is a life-long learner about nutrition, fitness, and nature. She lives her blessed life one day at a time.
For those who know me well, know of the complexity of my own personal life in having two mothers. I will say this for now, being blessed with both of them, biological and extended, GOD gave me a blueprint that could only be read with His Eyes. When you don’t grow up with the one that bore you, it poses a challenge that could not have been scripted by any human effort. Nonetheless, having the wisdom and understanding to respond in the most godly manner could not have been made possible without the other.
From all outside appearances, it may seem that the most logical thing to do is to bring mother to live in your own home when she is not longer capable of living independently in her own home. However, many of us know that isn’t always the solution to the matter that is in front of you.
Sweet Friend, I want to put my arm around you and hug you while I say these words to you: “It’s okay.”
Physically unable for me to care for my mother’s daily needs prevents me from doing just that. Bedridden and not able to bear any weight (even to shift in the bed), I experienced the difficulty firsthand when called upon to respond to those tasks. And in the unforeseen event that a medical situation arose, I would not be capable of sustaining her weight.
While it was not as challenging a decision to make, I did have to wade through the myriad of family opinions and naysayers who felt it was my “duty” to care for her personally.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15 NIV
We are called to live in peace. And peace would not be ruling in my heart if I had taken on the responsibility of something I could not fulfill. I would be doing no one any favors. I would definitely be going down — but not as a martyr. More like a wounded warrior.
To arrive at a decision that includes providing the best care by enlisting the professional services of those from the ones best equipped to offer them is not a bad thing. And it certainly does not make you a bad child. You will not disappoint GOD. In fact, you will be honoring Him and your mother by making sure she is well cared for.
Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. Proverbs 17:6 NIV. I pulled out the bright orange plastic chair for my mother across from the triage desk in the Emergency Room. Dehydration and encroaching memory loss had left her dizzy and unable to form sentences.
“This is my mother,” I explained to the attendant, signing the paperwork. “She’s the only one I have, so you’d better take good care of her.”
Though unable to communicate verbally, my mom smiled at me with eyes as soft and blue as a June morning, telegraphing absolute trust. I put my arm around her and she rested her head on my shoulder like a child, wrapped in our own quiet cocoon of love. ~ Leslie McLeod
Living near Southern California’s central coast, Leslie is a mother of two adult kids, a writer, artist, and co-owner of a tech company with her husband. She has a passion for building up relationships, especially among families with aging parents. Catch up with her at www.LAMcLeod.com, on Facebook or Instagram.
Did I mention the emotional turmoil that weighs upon you when you make such a decision? Yes, I knew that drastic changes that were about to once again come flooding in. However, I did not know what they would look like and when the tsunami would hit. The rippling effects that kept the waters active for months thereafter were equally unpredictable and kept us on our toes.
I cannot say it enough: Surround yourself with godly women who have been there or are there right now and speak truth and affirmations of GOD’s promises into each other’s lives.
And though one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 Amplified
For those who are blessed to be able to invite their mothers into their home as they transition into this latter season, it is truly a special gift and not to be overlooked.
Time and circumstances have changed their lives so much in their latter years, allow them to do the things they can still do, and help them to do the things they desire to do. The joy on their faces is blessed reward!
Patience, patience, patience! I have found it harder in some ways to care for my moms than raise my children. They have a voice, so listen. ~ Sharon Lopez-Hidalgo
Sharon and her family have been blessed with the opportunity to visit amazing places and participate in various ministries, including missions trips to Panama and Nicaragua, Women’s Ministry, Widows Ministry and Armor of Light (Reaching out to the Marines, wives and their families at Camp Pendleton and Quantico.)
It may seem as though life unravels just as you feel that you’ve knitted the tapestry and finished the frayed ends. We were built to do this, Girlfriend. There is nothing too hard for you to do when your Heavenly Father is powering you up for the task at hand. You will need to make sure your relationship with Him is in tact so that you can hear His Voice as He answers your prayers — you will be a prayer warrior. And that’s exactly what you need to be.
Self-care is a necessity, not an option. To care for all those that are in your scope of responsibility, you will need to care for yourself. Eat. Pray. Laugh. Sleep. Repeat. Avoid tripping over guilt as you go for a walk in the bright sunshine or for a drive out with the windows rolled down and your hair blowing in the wind. Take the dog with you and just be. Go through the drive thru of your favorite places and grab that trenta size iced tea and order up the banana bread while you’re at it. Regular exercise will give you an outlet for stress and keep your gorgeous body functioning well. Remember: your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Hit refresh on those hobbies. Have a favorite book nearby for brain cell building. Meet up with other girlfriends.
When it feels like someone has entered your kitchen and they are attempting to “rearrange the layout and function,” kindly remind them that your method is working and GOD has placed His stamp on it. Asking for help when you are plain worn out is not a sign of weakness. It is evident that you’ve been faithful to the point of allowing someone to minister to you with refreshment; both of you will be blessed.
At the end of the day, you are accountable to the Lord Who created all of us. He promises to give you strength and courage — just ask.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 Amplified
Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble in dread before them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not fail you or abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 Amplified
“Honor (respect, obey, care for) your father and your mother, so that your days may be prolonged in the land the Lord your God gives you. Exodus 20:12 Amplified
And so we close this celebration of Mother’s Day during the month of May. We hope that we’ve ignited some conversation and stirred some thoughts in a positive manner. Please stay close and do encourage others to join us. You can never have too many Sisters with whom to do life.
You are loved to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~
LindaRJohnson, TitusTwo Visionary