Eternal Internal Battle

Mom has come so far! A year ago she was thinking, and I was too, that she was on her death bed. She told me a few times she was “looking forward to being with Mother and Daddy again.” I would sit by her bedside and hold her hand and talk to her, encouraging her to remember good times past and telling her how much I loved her and I wasn’t ready for her to go yet.

Now she is up and about, zooming around with her walker, and telling everyone what to do, complaining up a storm about every tiny detail that annoys her, which is almost everything.

2/23/17 FB post. I’m in Oak Ridge at Mom’s and here’s the Update: yesterday afternoon she was too weak to go to her dr appt. I cannot get her into my car without her walking and she could hardly walk. I wanted to call for an ambulance but she didn’t want me to. I went to her dr appt without her to tell her dr what was going on. I totally broke down with the dr and nurse as I was describing her symptoms. I knew she was beyond what I could do for her but she is so stubborn. Dr agreed that she needed to be at the hospital so I returned to Mom’s house, found her sprawled on her bed where she’d fallen onto it (thank GOD she fell onto the bed this time), cleaned her up (poo), and called for an ambulance.

Mom is now at Oak Ridge hospital, having been admitted from the ER early this morning due to acute kidney failure. I have to say the staff at the hospital really impressed me this time! Everyone who helped Mom was kind and patient despite the ER being a “full house.” The folks who got her settled in to a room were likewise wonderful- turned the heat on before Mom got in there so she wouldn’t be so cold, gave her a warm blanket, brought her a snack, treated her gently, and spoke so sweetly to her.

She’ll probably be in the hospital a couple or three days but we will begin discussing discharge options today, (to an appropriate facility), and we need to decide if she’ll be in east TN or in GA near me. I’d appreciate continued prayers as we go through all this. Mom doesn’t want to “be a burden” to me but the options are not appealing and I’ve got to make my peace with her being in a facility, as she is beyond my abilities to care for her.    -end entry-

You know, looking back, it was agonizing making those decisions for her, as I transitioned from grown child into being my Mom’s parent. I worried & fretted what was to come and just hoped & prayed I  was doing that she’d want if she could think things through. That is still a struggle for me but I am much better at making the decisions and just going with them. Decision made, move on. I try not to look back in the sense of “I wish I’d…” as there is no good to be had from that sort of thinking.

I am a believer in Jesus Christ and I trust in the Word of God in all things. I find more and more my thoughts are turning to NOT looking back on what I perceive as a potential mistake. Look forward, knowing I did the best I could at the time, with the information and resources I had at the time. That is the BEST we can do- any of us, in any situation! So I lay that burden aside, knowing the regrets and self-punishing What-Ifs do nothing but bring us down and squash our spirit to make us downcast instead of living to our potential! If we are believers, we are children of the King and must deny the enemy that stronghold over our spirit. Cast those thoughts behind you! So far this year I’ve been spending a great deal of time in QUIET, meditation, prayer, and just thinking. I’m trying to re-train my brain AWAY from regret and guilt, wondering What If. Those things are burdens that hold us back, crush us down, and we need to cast our burdens aside so that we may live victoriously and with strength, even as our strength and faith are tested, as it is not us but our Father in Heaven who is battling on our behalf.

Those of us facing the Giant named DEMENTIA need to remember we are fearfully and wonderfully made and so are our precious Loved Ones. God’s Hand is on us, including our LOs, His eyes are on us, including our LOs, nothing escapes His sight or His ultimate justice. Yes they are our mothers, fathers, grandparents, etc, but they are also God’s children, whom He loves, and His WILL for their lives will not be thwarted, not even by us caregivers! Decisions we make for our loved ones are difficult, but once we make them we must simply move FORWARD and not look back on those things. If you must look back at all, look back at POSITIVES, look for God’s hand working in these situations because it IS THERE. HE IS THERE. Turn your eyes UP not behind you. I say this to myself as much as to you.

And know this, as it is not my words but God’s, so it is perfect and true and timeless, and applicable to ALL of us: We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. -Rom 8:28. I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. -Phil 3:13-14. God bless you with peace, dear ones.

Are you looking back on anything with regret?

SHIFTING GEARS and Q*Bert

In prayer this morning, for the first time in a very long time, I had a vision. As I am studying A.W. Tozer’s classic, “The Pursuit of God,” I finish a chapter and set the book down to pray. I ask the Lord to speak to me with His live and active Word, to show me what He would have me to see, quiet my thoughts and my spirit so that I may hear what He would say. Immediately I am taken to my design visual, which requires explanation.

From the moment I walk into a client’s home for a design consultation,  I always have a vision. When I walk through their door it begins forming in my mind without fail, and has consistency in that it begins as darkness. Into the darkness comes elements- all the elements that bring together a home. As we talk and I discover more about the client, those elements take form and float above me in the darkness, each its own ray of light and color, and for lack of anything else I can think of to compare it to, I liken it to the old video game Q*Bert, although it isn’t at all cartoonish or like a video game.

Q*bert: Rebooted_20141029155448

As I envision the design elements individually, they fall to a multi-leveled plane (no, not an airplane, lol) creating a distinct SCHOOOOONK sort of sound as the elements are perfectly positioned. The pieces come together on the plane to form a whole entity, the idea, the style board as it were. But it’s more specific than a general dream; it is clear, vivid, almost tangible- so real I often feel I could reach into it, pull those pieces out, and set them down right there in the client’s home. Those components are specific to the client, and not necessarily things that I personally like or am drawn to.

This morning in prayer my design visual morphed into gears. If you’ve ever read the book or seen the movie Horton Hears a Who or The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, you’ll perhaps recall how Dr. Seuss dives down, down, down, from a macro view to a micro view into Whoville, a microscopic village. How I love that visual! Similarly, the first gears I see in my vision this morning are HUGE, and as I take in the movement and rhythm of them turning, the cogs performing their designed duty, smaller gears (pinions) feeding into the larger (wheels) to make smooth movement. The wheels would not turn but for the work of the pinions, and vice versa, each being required and reliant on the other for the gears’ purpose to be fulfilled.

Close-up mechanism. 3d fantasy background.

Thus I am switching MY gears- what makes me move, what drives me forward. Just as in my prayerful vision, as I am introspective and mindfully seeking God’s peaceful purpose in application of my passions, I am looking first to the wheels, then moving down to see which pinions are necessary to make the wheels turn so that the whole may perform its intended purpose and with maximum power.  I’ve always set goals for myself personally and professionally but I have never considered how all of it works together in this way. I am deeply grateful for this vision, the shifting of my mindset, the movement of the gears, as the Lord continues His work in me, as I quiet myself so I may listen. He is using language I understand and visuals that mean something specific to me and that is incredibly personal and comforting.

Although I do not yet know what all the smaller gears are, how they will all fit together, and what trajectory I’ll be on,  I know I can trust it because it is from my Father. He is revealing it to me in ways that I can understand. He is speaking to me and I want to hear more, I want to see more.

How beautiful that is! 

Inside Feb 2

Today is the day one year ago that my brother Darwin and I accompanied Mom to the much-anticipated neurology appointment for evaluation. Mom had expressed to me before how scared she was to find out what was wrong with her, but she did finally relent.

The neurologist entered the room and was clearly in a very bad mood. He went through all the motions, asking and answering questions curtly, being very short with all of us. Finally as he was going through the test, one of the last questions was to ask Mom to write a sentence on a piece of paper, any sentence at all. Without hesitation she took the piece of paper, wrote something, and handed it back- This is nuts- is what she wrote. The neurologist read it, threw his head back, and laughed a great big, deep laugh. After that he was much more amiable with all of us and at the end of the appointment he explained that he would not see Mom again nor would anyone else in that office; he was leaving the practice to pursue his own agenda and the other doctors were not accepting new patients, either. He did drop the A-BOMB on us- Alzheimers. The three of us hardly spoke the rest of the day, as the diagnosis was slowly absorbed.

I’ve learned the number one fear for most people for decades has been CANCER. But that is shifting. As more and more people are stricken with this disease that eats away at the brain, DEMENTIA has surpassed cancer as number one. And with good reason. Not only does it devastate the one afflicted, but it can consume the primary caregiver and others along with the brain cells of the diagnosed sufferer. With so little known about it, little to no treatment options, and even within the medical community there is precious little information or support, it is a devastating diagnosis to be sure. When we began this journey, of course we did not know what all it would entail, and I’m glad of it. I’m glad I didn’t know what was coming. I’m learning that every decision I make is made in faith! And with that knowledge comes the strength of knowing that the decisions are bringing about the will of God! I firmly believe His hand is on me and I am His vessel, so long as I am open to hearing and willing to DO.  Thus, I am in QUIET right now, embracing it, allowing. I am listening, seeking, learning to once again thirst after Him as I did when I first gave my life to Him in June of 1994.

As I meditate in the mornings, sometimes it is difficult to calm my mind from all the new things I have decided to pursue this year- getting back into a daily study of God’s Word, fitness & health, eating more cleanly, the I Am Slim & Sassy contest, organizing our houses, selling & giving away things, changing my attitude with Mom, even the thought of my actions and words coming from a place of PEACE can disrupt the meditation, doTERRA essential oils business (not new but changing my mindset about it). All these things are internal! Even giving and selling things is internal, as I have spent years amassing collections of all kinds, and now I am faced with mountains of STUFF I must purge, a lot of which I’ve justified holding on to because “I’ll make something with that someday.”

Now because these struggles and priorities are internal, it’s a lot easier to THINK on these things than to ACT on them. So to force myself to ACT I am keeping a more detailed calendar and planning my days as well as my business (essential oils).  How it all will work together I do not yet fully know or understand, but I am beginning, just beginning, to feel that my shredded heart and mind are healing, starting to be pieced back together, and I cannot tell you how deeply grateful I am for that. Mom’s cruelty toward me, the depth of my compassion and love for her, the depth of my anger toward her for her insulting hurtful comments about and to me, I’d allowed a lot of damage from that last year and found myself overwhelmed with sadness every single morning when I woke, simply BECAUSE I woke. I, who, other than the two distant past times I’d been suicidal, certainly since becoming a Christian, cannot remember NOT waking up with hope and the promise of potential in every day, had become deeply disappointed that mornings brought my eyes open and day after day of misery awaited.

NO MORE of that I say!  If I choose to spend time in reflection now, let it not be a time to regret or become bitter; rather, a time to praise God that I’ve come through it. Let it be to acknowledge accomplishment rather than failure. Internal workings to be sure, but when we are aligned internally it surely is manifested externally in our relationships, which are most important, after all.