Caring for Aging Parents
I have entered a new season of life—caring for my aging parents. My parents are kind and appreciative, but I definitely was not prepared for this difficult job. No one told me how emotionally draining it would be to watch my parents lose their physical health and strength. My dad is doing okay so far but I wasn’t prepared for how much energy and inner strength would be required to feed, wash, care, and nurse my mom back to health. As hard as it is, it’s also been a privilege to serve my parents during one of the most difficult times of their lives.
The easiest part of my day is when my parents take long naps. This has given me quiet time to contemplate my situation. I have asked myself questions like: Am I the right person for this job? What difference am I making? How long will I need to provide care? However, God has shown me that this circumstance is not about me. Rather, it’s about living a Christ-like life, putting my needs aside and serving my parents with joy.
Paul is a good example of pouring out his life as an offering, and finding great joy and contentment in serving others. He wrote in Philippines 2:3-4, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.” I look back at all of the years my parents have sacrificed and supported me and I conclude that I am in debt to them.
As a caregiver 24/7, my acts of love are not perfect. God continues to show me my weaknesses. I have taken time to rest, bake, talk to friends and family, laugh, make crafts, read, study, and exercise. If I don’t take breaks, resentment sneaks in. In Proverbs 23:22 Proverbs 23:22Listen to your father that begat you, and despise not your mother when she is old.
American King James Version×there is a warning that says, “Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” The last thing I want right now is a bad attitude. I ask God to give me and my parents strength and courage. I hope that His joy will continue to outshine any resentments that may arise.
I feel that these golden moments are precious and that it pleases God for me to serve my parents. Every day God has provided merciful blessings. Just seeing my mom breathe, smile, and chuckle provides us with a new perspective. I can count it all joy, knowing that this difficult time is producing patience in me and in my parents. As we persevere, we know perseverance builds character and character builds hope (Romans 5:4 Romans 5:4And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
American King James Version×). The hope we have is not in this difficult physical existence but in Christ alone. Through Christ, we are begotten into a living hope with an inheritance not tied to physical limitations, but an eternal life which will never fade away (1 Peter1:3-4).