My sweet mom and dad were on their way to my son’s 14th birthday party 6 weeks ago when my mom fell. What a set-back for her. She sustained breaks to her left humorous, two bones in her left hand and her pelvis. Of course we are all grateful that none of her breaks required surgery and are so thrilled that she is making a steady recovery. She was in the rehab hospital many days and was able to go home several days after Christmas.
She is slowly getting back her strength and energy, having had to endure lots of pain and hard work. Previous to her fall, she walked for over an hour a day, rode her stationary bike for at least an hour and kept a busy social schedule with outings for lunch and Bible study. Now she faces the task of rebuilding all of that strength and energy as her bones heal and her weary heart refuels.
She has a delightful spirit and warm tone with my dad and her other caregivers. She works hard and, in spite of the pain, is upbeat and determined. Her comedic one-liners are still frequent and she responds to prayer and scripture being read with an open and teachable heart.
Which leads me to some thoughts on Advent…
I spent the better part of the Advent season moaning inwardly about how this was going to put a HUGE damper on Christmas shopping plans, decorating, parties and baking prep. I was wringing my hands about the inconvenience of hospital visits and the added burden of care this put on the family. I was dark and gloomy about the weight of tasks on my back.
I know it is close to sacrilege to speak of someone’s needs, hurting and lack being a problem for me. I get that my parents are working harder than I am and that there is more burden on others than on me. All of that is clear to me. But you and I both know that the thoughts that rumble around in our feeble little hearts are not rational and cannot always be explained away with data. Furthermore, I was searching for a promise from the Lord. In lots of places in scripture I see encouraging truth – like these guys: 2 Peter 1:4, and Jeremiah 29:11.
All I want for Christmas…
BUT what about the scotch tape I need to buy? How about the fact that those stocking stuffers aren’t going to magically show up on my doorstep? Again sacrilege I know – these are 1st world, subjective and irritatingly simple problems. But they are still issues in my life. What to do with the sorrow I feel about my mom’s decline coupled with the continued need to be busy, productive and to just generally MAKE CHRISTMAS HAPPEN!? It’s enough to make me pull a “Tawanda” in some parking lot. (Sorry for the old Fried Green Tomatoes movie reference – but here’s a link: TAWANDA!)
I prayed for a new and specific promise every single time I headed up the elevator to see my mom. In that silent 20 second period going from floor 1 to floor 7, I asked the Lord to reveal a specific promise to ME, for ME so that I can lift my head above the water level and just breathe. (By the way, I am confident that many a co-pilot in those elevators rides with me were looking askance as I moved my lips in prayer and tried to recite a verse or two. I’m sure they surmised I was headed to the psych ward.
The chasm of lost perspective
I learned something new this year and more indelibly this Christmas. In these moments where moms and dads work on MAKING CHRISTMAS HAPPEN, a big pitfall exists that is just wide enough for any of us to fall into. That pitfall is one of losing the perspective.
The joy of being together and enjoying a silly laugh or a mindless game or a yummy morsel or a beautiful song can vanish like the road runner running out of road. If you lose the joy in those seemingly meaningless moments, you will find yourself in a chasm. It is a very responsible, busy and disciplined crevasse that lacks hope and contains no perspective. This crack is one I have almost JUMPED into at times because dedicating myself to a task is much easier than actually finding sweetness in a difficult season of life.
And ladies and gentleman in the face of my pity party pit, He gave me that promise. I am so buoyed by the specific answer to this plea…that I cannot even tell you. I can’t contain the hope of the tone He has set:
The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does.
But I also see that it is more than just a promise to my little weary, perspective-deprived heart. It is a promise for my mom:
She will be lifted up.
She is being upheld right now.
You will help her, you will nourish her.
You open your hand and satisfy all of her desires, Lord.
You are righteous in all your ways and faithful in all you do.
He promised this to me. He gave it to me as a gift. He reminded me of its richness right in this time.
To Do: Torch the To Do List
So this year I resolve to banish all attempts at super-diligent-holiday-readiness. After all, I know He is honored when I put a to-do list in the fire and sit down to look into the eyes of one of my little people. I believe we Glorify Him when we decide on personal, private, beautiful moments of noticing His work as opposed to finalizing the breakfast casserole for the next day.
It’s my act of defiance, a rebellious stake I’m jamming into the ground, AND my most decisive action of the new year – so far. Who knows, maybe on Veterans Day the wheels will fall off of my resolution.
Pray for my mom if it comes to your heart. He promises to uphold her. Your intercession is one of His methods of lifting her up.