Visiting my mom and little sister in the nursing home hasn’t gotten any easier for me.
To be transparent, I pretty much dread the visits. There have been times that I have avoided visiting them at all costs.
There is no denying that I have quite a hectic schedule with four children, work, and ministry. I have used my busyness as excuses.
I am not saying that I haven’t visited them in the past. But, it hasn’t been as often as I should, or would like to.
I know- strikingly horrible, and blatantly shameful of me.
Please do bare with me, as I share my struggle with you. At first, I was hesitant to write this, not sure of what people would say or think.
But, then I am reminded, that my imperfections, my struggles, my shortcomings, and my failures, can be someone else’s hope.
It can easily be the assurance they need that despite their mess, there is a God that loves them, and only wants to wrap them in his loving arms of acceptance and forgiveness.
I know there are others out there that can relate to this, and so that is why I will share my story in hopes that the chains that have held me in shackles would finally be broken.
Not only would I be set free, but, so will others.
Seeing your love ones living a life in captivity isn’t easy. Yes, my mother and sister are in a nursing home. However, the quality of life they are living is of captivity.
My mother is in a vegetative state. A feeding tube and an oxygen tank are keeping her alive.
My sister whose mind is operating somewhat normally is practically immobile. She barely can form sentences because her muscles are deteriorating.
They are trapped in their sickness.
Their present state brings me just as much sadness as the days they were both admitted.
Over the years, God has helped me deal with sadness.
He has become my joy!
It’s the guilt that is overtaking me.
Why do I feel guilty, especially when their sicknesses are completely out of my control?
The guilt I feel is simple.
I am healthy, and they aren’t.
I am living a life outside of that nursing home, and they are trapped in there.
Time and again, the guilt has kept me from experiencing true, blissful happiness.
Something good, great, or even downright amazing happens in my life, and yes, I feel happy about it. But, what usually happens is that the guilt I feel, stops me in my tracks.
Immediately I am reminded that I can’t call them to share the good news, and they can’t join me in the celebration.
But, the dagger that pierces through my heart is that they don’t get to have something good, great, or even downright amazing happen in their life!
That hurts like no other.
To know that someone you love will not have those experiences is extremely unsettling.
For many years, I have felt guilty about that.
This morning something happened.
Before, I went to visit them, I prayed and worshipped while doing my make-up and extremely, encumbrance hair.
***On a side note, my hair is a gift from God. When I am styling my hair, usually it’s before the kids and life are at full speed. There is a quiet that I experience. What I’ve found is that during this quietness, I’m able to connect and hear from God. No, it’s not a lightning bolt, splitting the dark clouds kind of encounter. Rather, in the peace and tranquility of the moment, that allow His presence and guidance to become clear. I know some of you feel me.***
In my bathroom mirror, one could see a women doing her hair and makeup, and all may seem well. Oh, how the outer appearance can be so deceiving.
But, internally, there was a battle taking place.
I didn’t want to go visit them.
I wanted to see my sister and mother, but I didn’t want to see them in the state they were in.
What I wanted to see was my mom dancing Salsa with my dad, or my sister walking across the kitchen floor with her coffee cup filled to top, and always managing to spill some of it.
As I stood before that mirror, God spoke.
I have allowed my mother and sister’s sickness to hold me in captivity. And, not visiting them often wasn’t making things better for me or them. Instead, it was increasing my guilt and sadness.
The enemy did this to them, and now, he was using their sickness to keep me away from them and in bondage of guilt.
He doesn’t want for me, or you to live an abundant life. The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy. John 10:10
But like the rest of the scripture says, our God comes that we may have life, and have it more abundantly.
He also tells us to resist the enemy and he will flee from us. James 4:7
Friends, the battle is real. We need to capture every thought that doesn’t come from God.
My guilt of being healthy and happy doesn’t come from God.
My mom and sister don’t want me feeling guilty.
My sister just wants me to visit her. She is lonely.
My mom wants me to visit her for my sake. She wants me to have peace, when her time comes to leave us.
It hurts for me to confess this, but I made this all about me. My guilt and sadness have made me selfish. I have allowed these struggles to keep me from being a good daughter and sister to them.
I know in my heart that God has forgiven me, and today, I will start that process of forgiving myself.
If you have a loved one that you haven’t loved the way you should, please don’t let another day go by without telling them you love them. Tomorrow is not promised to anyone.