TRUSTING GOD’S PLAN AND HEART FOR THE CARE OF OUR PARENTS
BY LINDA THOMAS
Over the past eight years, due to my parent’s failing mental health, I have been going to Clovis every month. They now live apart because of their varying stages of dementia. My brother Bob lives near them and sees them five to six times a week. I know my visits are short, but even a few days a month gives him a break in the routine.
One of the most difficult weeks of my life was in August of 2013. My father’s Alzheimer’s had progressed to a stage that made it very difficult for my mother to care for him. We moved Dad into a memory care facility in Fresno. Watching him go through that transition still brings me to tears each time I think about it. Having to move him from his home to a facility he was not familiar with and people who didn’t know him like we did was heart wrenching to say the least. The guilt that accompanied that move can’t be explained. My heart said, “He’s my Daddy and I should be taking care of him.”
But the reality is, Jesus has placed my life in Escondido with my husband. If He wanted me in Fresno He would open doors for that to happen. This past year we have had our house on the market twice. The Lord did not bring us a buyer so for now we will remain where we are planted. My heart was hoping that I would be able to have more freedom to spend time with my parents. I continue to believe that God’s timing will be perfect and He will direct us according to His will and purpose for our life and my parents. It’s possible the house didn’t sell because my daughter Victoria got married this year. I can’t imagine planning a wedding and trying to move!
In August of 2015 my brother Bob and I helped move my mother into a residential living facility due to her failing memory. She is able to take care of herself but it became evident that she should no longer drive or live alone. We sold her condo and she now has a very comfortable small apartment in a lovely setting that provides meals, cleaning and wonderful Christian friends. Every time I go for a visit we enjoy being together and daily going to see my father. Again, the Lord reminds me that He loves my parents and has provided the help and care they need.
Watching a parent you love decline physically and mentally is emotionally traumatic. If it were not for the promises of God’s Word, the presence of the Holy Spirit and a family of believers that surround you with prayer, hope and encouragement I would be undone. The Lord has supplied my every need as I have traveled this journey. He has given me wisdom, guidance, hope and comfort each time I needed His presence. He has constantly provided wonderful care for my parents when I couldn’t.
The most difficult battle for me regarding my parents care is feelings of guilt and believing I should be doing more for them. I moved away at 25 and now at the end of their life I have a deep longing to be closer to them whenever possible. These verses confirm to me that God is watching over them:
Deut 31:8 – The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
Isaiah 65:24 – I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!
Romans 8:34 – Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Isaiah 46:4 – Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you.
Psalm 10:17 – You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry.
God’s plan for our life is customized – Psalm 139: 16 You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!
God’s plan for us is good – Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
God’s plan for us is guaranteed – 1 Thessalonians 5:24 “The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”
Romans 8:30-32 – “and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?…”
The Lord has shown me that everything about my life has been planned by Him. Fear and guilt is a scheme from the enemy that will take our eyes off who we are in Christ and hinder God’s wonderful plans for our future. In Romans 8:28 it says, “All things work together for the good for those that love God and are called according to His purpose.”
Since writing this blog we have sold our home. The Lord has not shown us where we will be planted next but I am thankful to have the ability to visit my parents more often. Truly I can say, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than all we ask or imagine, to Him be all the glory!” Ephesians 3:20 –21
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My name is Linda Thomas. I am a wife, the mother of two lovely daughters in their thirties, a stepmother of three grown adults and a step-grandmother to seven amazing grandchildren, one of whom is a foster granddaughter. In 2000, our family quickly joined the excited group of people that helped our Pastors and others form “The Father’s House.” When the Lord brought Dan and Tracy to San Marcos we were thrilled to be a part of what God was doing. Currently I am on the Council, we are Elders, and I send out the Pastor’s prayer requests as they come to me. Last year I formed a luncheon group for ladies called “Ladies Out To Lunch.” We meet monthly at a different location and it has been such a wonderful way to connect, share and pray for one another. Being a part of this Body has been life changing and we are so blessed to be a part of it.