Topsy Turvy

Mom and I crammed into the small doctor’s office. A wheelchair makes any room seem smaller. Mom waited patiently in the corner where the physician’s aid had set her. Rolling in and out of rooms has its share of challenges. A wheelchair quickly makes you realize how ill-equipped we are in our day-to-day life to accommodate the four-wheel monstrosity.

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The nurse came in to check Mom’s vitals. She greeted Mom first, with a friendly hello and a warm smile. She turned to me and nodded, “How do you do? Are you the caretaker?”

“No,” I replied. “I’m her son.”

The nurse smiled. “Then you’re her caretaker.” She and Mom both chuckled.

Caretaker?

Honestly, I really hadn’t contemplated my role in Mom’s recovery much. I’m her only son. She lives alone. She fell and virtually shattered her ankle and now needs someone to look after her while she heals. It hadn’t occurred to me to answer the question life asked any other way. It’s simply what you do.

My wife, Sweet T and I are just both grateful that we can pull this off. It’s not easy and certainly not without sacrifice. But it’s probably hardest on my Mom who can’t get around on her own and do basic things that she’s accustomed to doing. If you know my Mom, she’s a social butterfly. Particularly since my Dad died. She took care of Dad for the last five years of his life after he suffered a massive brain hemorrhage brought on by a stroke. It limited her ability to live a “normal” life. She’s been a bright spot in the lives of others since God called Dad home.

top·sy-tur·vy

adv.

1. With the top downward and the bottom up; upside-down.
2. In or into a state of utter disorder or confusion: “turning our ordered life topsy-turvy” (Anne Tyler).
adj.top·sy-tur·vi·er, top·sy-tur·vi·est
1. Turned or positioned upside down; inverted.
2. Confused or disordered.
n. pl.top·sy-tur·vies
The quality or condition of being topsy-turvy.  
topsy-turvy. (n.d.) American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. (2011). Retrieved August 11 2017 from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/topsy-turvy

You don’t realize until you are faced with taking care of another human being just how many things you take for granted. You certainly can’t anticipate the drastic change to your routine that it brings. Add a little distance between you and your home base and you discover new challenges. It takes commitment and a strong relationship with your spouse. It helps having your in-laws living next door.  And it demands more than you alone can give. It takes a whole village of friends and church family…including a sea of doctors, nurses, and healthcare providers. Hopefully, when it happens–and odds are it will—you’re prayed up, because you’re going to draw heavily on your spiritual bank account.

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Mom continues making progress every day since her fall three weeks ago. We’ve been thankful for friends and church family who have stopped by to see her, write cards, and give her a phone call. Terri’s folks have been tremendous in helping cover the home front. Technology helps close the gap between here and home, which is something Terri and I are both thankful for as well. In the old days, we would have had to make a fire and send smoke signals.

On top of it all, we had to say goodbye to our beloved 16-year old healer, Danny, as he crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. Although we knew his time on Earth was drawing to a close, it is still deeply painful. Like I’ve said before–life is downright hard sometimes. But, that’s what God is for.

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Leaning on the Lord in difficult times, depending on God to give us strength, to heal our hurts and our wounds–these are the moments that we can draw closer to Him Who Made Us. Apart from faith, I couldn’t do it.

Thank you for your continued prayers.

You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Philippians 4:19 The Message

Whitney Houston, 1998  “God Will Take Care of You”

God Won’t Give You More Than HE Can Handle

I don’t know about you, but sometimes life is flat out overwhelming.  Numerous times I have heard people claim that God never gives us more than we can handle. Which sounds nice and is meant to be encouraging, but unfortunately isn’t true. You may just not have lived long enough.

For the Lord, nothing is impossible. Jesus reminds us all we need is faith like a mustard seed to move mountains. In those overwhelming moments, we must let go and hang on to God. He alone can calm the storms. He alone can still the waters. God is able when we are unable. His strength sustains us and pulls us through difficult, challenging times. And you can be sure, believer or not, you’ll face difficulties in this life.

Life is not for the faint of heart.

Honestly, I’m not sure how people get through life without faith. I know it’s only by God’s grace that I survived to see another year.

Foggy Morning Breakdown

While my virtual technology teammates and I were catching up on how things were progressing with my Mom, one of them shared a story about a man who was walking the desert, when he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand. He determined one set was his and one set was God’s. The man hit a rough patch, and found himself without food and water. In his moment of greatest need,  the man noticed only one set of footprints in the sand. God had him. 

God carries us through the valleys.

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Amid our moments of crisis, the world keeps spinning. Unlike sports, life doesn’t come with TV commercial timeouts. We must depend on God and be willing to lean on others. When we do this, we will be rewarded with the acts of loving-kindness from our family, our friends, and our neighbors. We even experience complete strangers showing us the goodness of God through their actions to help us get through a rough patch. With God, we never have to do anything alone. He’s our ever-present helper, especially in times of trouble.

God is our refuge and our strength.

As my late, great friend Pastor Mark Jones would say “Don’t forget in the Darkness what God revealed to you in the Light.”

And it’s true. We can depend on God. He never gives us more than HE can handle.

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Luke 10:27 (ESV)

Faithfully,

RB