Dealing with the Unexpected

Today’s verse:   Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.   James 4:13-14

I have been away for a while, re-organizing my life.   My father-in-law, who is in the early stages of dementia, has come to live with us.   It has turned our life as we know it upside down!   Life has a way of doing that, of taking us down a road we might not have chosen for ourselves.

My father-in-law has always been a difficult person, and as a result, has very few friends as a support group.  His family has also turned against him for many actions that he has taken in the past.   When he got himself into some legal trouble earlier this year, my husband and I decided that we had to move him in with us for his own safety.  We had tried assisted living, but he was miserable and kept running away.

He is not happy with this decision to come here.  Although we have turned our basement into a handicap accessible apartment for him, he still longs to return to his home.  He wants to be married (he lost his wife two years ago and has re-married twice, both times ending in divorce after a few months).  He is hard of hearing and has virtually no short-term memory.   He needs assistance with money management, medication management, and many other daily tasks.   He has long periods of lucidity, but can’t remember what day or month it is.  It is heartbreaking to see his brain slowly dying.

Was this what we were expecting in our retirement years?   Was this how we envisioned ourselves when we became empty-nesters?   Certainly not!   But we must remember, it is not our place to challenge the plan that God has for us.  We do not know what tomorrow will bring, but we trust that the Lord knows. We must not despair and be selfish, thinking that this is not fair and we don’t deserve this.  We must keep our spirits up and be positive.

We are being tested daily, and there are days when patience is in very short supply. Sometimes it is difficult to answer the same question twenty times in one day, or to shout everything in order to be heard. Then we put ourselves in his shoes and try to imagine how life must be for him at this point.He is a fiercely independent man who has always been the undisputed head of the family.  Now he is dependent on someone else, and is frustrated at his failing mind and body.  He is often angry and confused.   I can’t blame him.  So we all pray and ask God to reveal his plan for us.   We ask that we seek his will, not ours.  We are learning to expect the unexpected, because we all know that God will not let us down.

Blessings to all of you = especially those caretakers among you – God bless you!




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