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”

Working Our Garden

I am passionate about faith, life, and work.

Throughout my journey, God has provided me with different work. While I did not always see it at the time, God was at work, weaving His plan in my life. Work is an important concept, discussed often in the Bible.

Early in Genesis, Scripture reveals work as part of the Lord’s created order in the World. Work is not a result of the Fall, for the concept of tending the garden and cultivating the Earth is mentioned in advance of the Fall in Genesis, Chapter 2.

Genesis 2:5 Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground (NIV).

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Genesis 2:15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it (ESV).

We are called to do the work which the Lord has provided for us and designed us to do. We are to do it for His glory, with all enthusiasm and excellence. All work doesn’t look the same. All work doesn’t reward or compensate equally. But Scripture tells us that the result of our work here will ultimately perish. It is not the results of our labors that we should be focused on, but rather the attitude of our hearts in doing the work the Lord has given us to do in whatever season we are doing it.

Scripture says we are to work “unto the Lord”, not solely for the sake of impressing or pleasing people. Whether we are a leader or a follower, an employer or an employee, we are each accountable for the work we are entrusted with stewarding. We must ask ourselves “how am I tending the garden today?” and “for whom am I tending it?”.

In the 21st century, thanks to rapid advancements in technology, the way we work is changing. To paraphrase the Oldsmobile commercial, “This isn’t your Daddy’s work.” While the way we work and how we work have changed so much that it doesn’t resemble what work was like in our father’s generation, we should keep our hearts and minds attuned to the truth that whatever work we are doing, we are doing “our Father’s work”.

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A good friend used to remind me that in whatever we are doing today we can point people to Jesus or push them away. Let the work of your hands and feet shine the light of the Gospel unto those you meet through the work you are doing today.

As a graduate student pursuing a Master of Science degree in Managerial Science, I have the privilege of studying work. In the last year, I have been able to learn a great deal through my study of how we work, why we work, when we work, and where we work. I hope that I can apply what I am learning as I continue my journey of life and faith.

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