“Taking care of parents can sometimes be more difficult than taking care of babies, toddlers, or teenagers.” That is a statement Tammy made recently, as through tears she was explaining a little about the road we were walking and how our emotions were so raw. Maybe you know the feeling?
Your parents are your parents. Nobody else is what they are to you, nor will they ever be. You’ve known your parents longer than anyone else, you’ve loved them longer than anyone else, and they’ve loved and supported you longer than anyone else. When roles change, it’s complicated!
What do you do when you can’t fix their hurt or turn back the clock to the way things were? What do you do when you don’t know what to do?
We’ve been there, taking care of our dads in their last days, and now walking with our moms as they’re getting older. In our new book, Parenting Your Parents, we talk about things that have helped us, and things we hope will encourage you. Things like:
- You are not alone. One study estimates that a fourth of all adult children are providing personal care or financial assistance to a parent.[*] One in four.
- Put your own oxygen mask on first. Superman and Wonder Woman don’t exist in the real world. When we take care of ourselves, we provide the best care for others.
- Honor your parents. This biblical command does not mean that we always obey them, but that we should respect them, treat them fairly, be honest with them, and treat them with dignity. There are no regrets in that!
- Help is available. Caring for parents is not simple, but it is doable. There are practical steps you can take that will help you be proactive and navigate through these waters with grace, understanding, patience, forgiveness, love, and strength from the Lord.
- Heaven gives us hope. For the Christian, there will be a day when we will dwell forever in a place with no more death, mourning, crying, or pain. In a place where we’ll see the Lord Jesus face-to-face and worship Him forever.
Psalm 23 assures us that if the Lord Jesus is our Shepherd, we have everything we need. If Jesus is your Shepherd, you have everything you need! He will help you lie down when you need rest. He will restore your soul when your heart is broken and relationships are complicated. He will lead you when you don’t know what to do. He will comfort you through the darkest valleys. And, His goodness and mercy will be yours every day of your life! These are His promises and you can take Him at His word!
If you are walking this road of caring for a parent, or if you know someone who is, our new book is available now at libertylive.church/store.
I hope you have a great week and I look forward to picking up in our series on marriage, divorce, and singleness from 1 Corinthians 7 this Sunday!
Chapter 1. You Are Not Alone
[*] The MetLife Mature Market Institute, National Alliance for Caregiving, Center for Long Term Care Research and Policy, New York Medical College. “The MetLife Study of Caregiving Costs to Working Caregivers: Double Jeopardy for Baby Boomers Caring for Their Parents.” 2011. Web. 15 August 2017. Page 2. http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/livable-communities/learn/health/metlife-study-of-caregiving-costs-to-working-caregivers-2011-aarp.pdf.