Just in case you missed my 1st Heart Reflection , I wanted to share it with you again. It's so important we learn to see our lives and experiences from a new lens. Through a pandemic, loss, or transition - God is committed to loving and maturing each of His children - yes, including those caring for others.
When I returned to New Orleans as a full-time caregiver to my mother, my entire life changed. Big parts of it were a blessing, yet big parts of the adjustments made it an excruciating decision and process. Although I had visited my childhood home in New Orleans and my mom often, Charlotte became my new sanctuary. Some of you reading this may have already heard me share the story, but it is worth repeating – I did not want to come back home. The tension between loving my life, looking forward to my future, facing fears of the unknown, the conflict and resistance of mom, and so much more left me feeling emotions I had never experienced in my life before. On one hand, I did not know what to do, on the other, I was more afraid because I did.
After seeking the Lord and committing to do whatever He would say, I believe with absolute certainty God instructed me to return home. This was not some mysterious voice or fleece I put out into the universe. After less than one week of praying, fasting, and spending concentrated time with Him in His Word, God came to me in the scriptures. I can remember this encounter like it was yesterday. As I sat in my prayer closet lit only by a flashlight and the light on my phone, that night I opened my Bible expectedly hoping – waiting for Him to speak and make His will clear. Suddenly, there He was, the scriptures jumped off the page and planted on my heart like glue. God was clear, concise, and confirming. “Go home to the place of your mother and father – the place where you were born. And when you go there, I will reveal things to you that are not yet known.” The Lord did not give me details that night, He gave me the next step. Little did I know what God would reveal to me as I walked out this journey.
Within months of preparing for the move, I came home to visit mom for Christmas and never returned to my home in Charlotte – not even to box up my own things. One of the lessons I have learned over the last decade is that no matter how much preparation done, or how certain you are about God’s will – some realities (even God's will) will involve painful, messy, uncertain paths. Through the first year, mom became more isolated, increasingly accident prone, easily angered, and resistant to my presence or help. It is so hard to explain to others the grief of terminating cognition.
There was a point in my transition that life became so explosive I literally wanted to just runaway and hide. In my head, I knew mom needed me in my heart I just felt brokenhearted and incapable. Then in a moment of clarity, one morning I heard this whisper in my heart, “Deborah, come to Me, I am your help in times of trouble.” I realized I had become so overwhelmed with the daily pressures I had inadvertently stopped accessing my power source – God himself. To do that I had to become intentional about spending time with the Lord. I had to decide that no matter what the interruption – no matter the pull I felt toward mom mentally or physically, prioritizing uninterrupted time with the Lord was not optional but life-saving. It was in this dedication and act of obedience things began to shift.
What surprised me in the months to come was not the profound changes I began seeing in mom, but more the changes I began seeing in myself. The more I released out loud my fears, grief, losses, loneliness to the Lord, the lighter, clearer, and more effective I became with mom. God reminded me, He would not ask something this hard of me then leave me alone to do it. His word said, “cast your cares on me” (1 Peter 5:7) I had taken on so much that I literally forgot His promises. At that moment, I could choose to quite literally take Him at His Word or not.
As I rededicated myself to the Lord this way, He began to show me things about myself, change me, and reveal important things to me about my mom and how to help her. Now listen, I am not all offering false impressions about what I went through navigating my mom’s condition, I am simply sharing with ears that can hear and hearts that are open, the intimate proximity of God for anyone caring for a loved one. He is quite literally, waiting on us to invite Him in. What I hope to do at in some of my articles and videos to come is to become a bridge of Spiritual guidance and clarity for so many going through the caregiving experience. I hope to offer a fresh perspective to caregivers – a new lens from which to view this journey. God’s ways are so above ours, that while we are dedicated to caring for our loved one, He is simultaneously dedicated to both of us.