I'm what my mom would call; "a late in life 'surprise' to the family". Back in that day women, with high-school aged kids, over the age of 40 did not have babies. Well, "Surprise!", my mom birthed me at the age of forty. My parents were thrilled, but my sisters were horrified! This interesting new family mix gave me all kinds of birth-order issues. I've got only-child issues, firstborn of this new family unit issues, and according to my sisters....baby of the family issues, all wrapped up into one. I guess this gives the Lord a lot to work with. I have control issues on all levels.
I was the only daughter to grow up, and remain near my folks so that has meant; as they have aged, that I became their primary family caregiver. I'm so grateful for the forty years I had while my dad was healthy, and whole, when I could really lean on my parents.... I experienced their love for the Lord, example of faith, and I'm so thankful for that.
But as they aged, and as the Lord allowed my dad to go down the path of Alzheimer's, life got very tough for everyone. My mom was his full-time caregiver, and it almost killed her. For five years she loved, cared, and slowly started to waste away herself. I actively watched. During the last year of my dad's life as she got sicker, and weaker; my job got harder and much heavier.
I'll never forget a morning in May- driving my dad to a VA Hospital appointment. I'm not a fan of not knowing where I'm going. I'd never been to this hospital, which was an hour away from home. My mom was so sick that morning, so I had to take my dad to this appointment alone. We drove towards an unfamiliar place with no landmarks, and my dad was no help at all....he just sat in the passenger seat, quietly singing mixed-up songs.
That morning represented so much more for me than simply driving to an appointment. I wasn't just driving to an unfamiliar place....I was on a unknown path in life, that I couldn't get off of. I had no idea where the road of Alzheimer's was heading, and I hated it.
All those birth-order fisrtborn, only-child, baby of the family issues were surfacing...I demanded control- on some level- and cried out to the Lord..."I'm so scared! I don't know where I'm going, not just today, but on this path... and I want OFF this road of life!"
I'll never forget, driving seventy miles an hour down Hwy 65, how the Holy Spirit dropped a verse that I had studied right into my troubled heart and mind. Quietly, gently, but oh so very securely....God was in control.
"I will lead the blind by a way they do not know, in paths they do not know I will guide them. I will make darkness into light before them and rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, and I will not leave them undone." Isaiah 42:16 (NASB)
He was calling me to trust, and follow Him, even on this path of Alzheimer's. God promised, Jesus promised....those who are His are HIS, and He will never leave us or forsake us.
He didn't. We were blind, and He led us, it was rugged, but we walked sure-footed. It was a long, tough, dark road with my dad, but God was faithful, and He didn't leave anything undone,. And now...even now...He uses it for His purposes. He uses all things, and I'm so thankful for that.
"Oh Lord, thank You that nothing is wasted in Your eyes. Use all things, even the hard things for Your purposes in our lives and in the lives of others. In Your priceless Name, Amen."