I don’t know about you, but we get weary over here at our house. We’re “Covid weary.” But truth be told, there are ongoing challenges that pre-date the pandemic. Things like quarantine, staffing shortages, and ongoing mysteries about how to ease our daughter’s health and anxiety issues have only increased the intensity of a life that was already complicated and hard, while also laced with cherished gifts.
I am quite sure your life is not all that different.
As my husband, Larry, and I celebrate more birthdays, we experience the marathon nature of caring for someone with profound disabilities. We are needing to be more intentional than ever about managing our respite rhythms. In the meantime, the resources needed to do that are harder to come by with each passing day.
We are utterly reliant on God’s mercy and provision.
When Larry and I chatted about our respite, social and church-related quandaries again recently, we each reflected on the extremely consuming nature of disability. It can be tremendously frustrating to realize that, despite all our efforts to build a life that is not ruled by Carly and her needs, it is still Carly and all her complexities that influence virtually every aspect of our lives in very significant ways.
We adore Carly. She’s an absolutely delightful, magnetic person who brings a richness to our lives beyond our ability to express. We are grateful to be in a position to have her living with us still. We believe this is where she wants to be right now, and it is ultimately where we want her to be right now. We don’t know if or when that will change. So, we consider options. We pray. We pray a lot. We make some plans. We wrestle with not having enough plans. And we hold plans loosely. Then we go on with our days.
And we pray some more.
We ask the Lord for specific answers to our questions and for his mercy in meeting various needs. We ask Him to keep us strong, joyful, at peace, capable, wise, resilient, and thriving together. We ask Him to cleanse our lives and household of sin and Satan’s schemes. We ask that His Kingdom purposes would prevail, despite our weaknesses, and even when we are confused about our own purpose. We ask Him to multiply the good things He is doing within us and around us.
And we thank Him for being our Advocate, even as we advocate for Carly.
“If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.
We’re begging God to build a powerhouse here.
We are asking God to make yours a powerhouse too.
By “powerhouse” I mean families, marriages and individual lives where the power of the Holy Spirit is welcomed and actively working to shape us, affirm us, equip us, fill us, and overflow out of us.
We can ask this because of God’s promised Holy Spirit.
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. So, you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.” For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children. And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
Lord, make us people — individuals, marriages and families — who thrive in complex lives and do that in ways that multiply intimacy with the Living God.
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Lisa Jamieson is a caregiver consultant, pastoral counsellor and author of popular books and Bible studies including Finding Glory in the Thorns and Jesus, Let’s Talk. Lisa and her husband, Larry, live in Minnesota with the youngest of their three grown daughters, Carly, who has Angelman Syndrome. Together, the Jamiesons founded Walk Right In Ministries in 2008, a non-profit organization building faith and community with special needs families.