Friday, January 23, 2009

Perseverance

Happy Friday! It's been a very long week for a short work week. I've been very preoccupied lately with family and the challenges of working with the powers that be of the medical system. I'm not a newbie with this, unfortunately, but even after eleven years of navigating the system it is still as confusing as ever. Which brings me to the topic of perseverance – a common trait among writers, and seniors.

Eleven and a half years ago my mother had a major stroke which left her paralyzed on her left side. Ever since, she has been a constant role model of perseverance. Eleanor Roosevelt once said "Women are like teabags. We don't know our true strength until we're in hot water." That has certainly become evident for my mom, and the rest of our family has learned a lot about ourselves through her trials as well. Physically, naturally, we have learned to pay attention to warnings on medications and make life choices based upon our family history. Strokes are a genetic challenge that her side of the family has been plagued with-inflicting four members within at least the last two generations. But more than that, we've learned much about what God wants from each of us – today, tomorrow, and always.

Mom could have chosen to give up – all the odds were against her at that point, but she decided that God had another purpose for her life. She learned to walk again, she has lived independently for the majority of the past 11 years, and still, as she faces the "finishing school" stage of her life – assisted living and full time nursing care – we learn what it takes for each of us to persevere.

I look back with amazement at what not only my mother has accomplished in the last eleven years, but what God has blessed her with because she made the choice to persevere. She's inspired and encouraged those around her, seen her grandchildren marry and had the blessing of getting to know her great-grandchildren. But more than that, I've learned over and over that I can do all things through God who strengthens me. I have learned that I need to take care of myself, but not only myself. I've learned to prioritize and recognize when I'm out of sync with God. And even when I'm overwhelmed, I KNOW that God is carrying me through the tough times as long as I stick with HIS plan for me because I have claimed God as my Savior. For years I tried to deny that deep in my personality, I am a caregiver. I remember arguing this point with author, Chris Pacheco years ago, when I was a child care provider. I argued that caregiving was my "job," it isn't "who" I am. God must have heard, because ever since, he's given me opportunities to show me that I can be anything I want for a career, but I AM a caregiver. It is but one of the many gifts of which God has blessed me.

Even as a Christian, I know the struggles don't go away. I'm still struggling to accept that God's plan is different for each of us, even though in my brain, I know that, it's much more difficult in practice. I struggle with equity, and wanting everyone to do their fair share. I've pasted 1 Peter 4:10 into my mind to remind me to focus on MY plan, no one else's. "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." This week has been a constant reminder that God's promise will be my reward. As I maneuver the requirements of the health care system, I'm tested. My patience, my faith, my endurance to persevere. I admire my mother, her perseverance and strength, and that she made that choice to live, to continue to use the gifts God gave her to teach her children.

I hope that each of you will persevere in God's plan for you. As Christians, our trials will be countless, our blessings out of this world. With the many challenges we all face in 2009, all of us must deepen our faith. We must rely on God's steadfast love and promises. "but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

In God's love – persevere.

Carol Steward

2 comments:

PamelaTracy said...

I think I'd like to meet your mom.

Lenora said...

Carol, I know you've struggled with the issue of your mother's health and I also know what a loving daughter you have been. You have my prayers. Your mom sounds like a great role model.

Prayers and hugs,

Lenora ;)