A good friend of mine told me that she wants to have the following statement engraved on her tombstone when she dies:
“Here lies ______. She is no longer overwhelmed”
We both laughed about it, but now that I’ve had time to mull that statement over in my mind a while, I’m realizing just how much truth lies within it.
Lately, I have been feeling extremely overwhelmed. One indication of that is my lack of blog posts. You can always tell when my life is throwing a bunch of curve balls. Days or even weeks will go by and you don’t see anything new on my blog.
Besides traveling a lot with work, I’ve also been taking care of my parents who are both extremely ill right now. My mom was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease over 20 years ago but the last 5 years have been absolutely brutal. She now has Dementia as a constant companion and lives in a skilled nursing facility because our family can no longer properly take care of her at home.
My dad has always done an outstanding job taking care of my mom. They have been married for fifty seven years. With each anniversary, their love for one another keeps growing stronger. The decision to put her into a skilled facility just about ripped my dad’s heart out but he was diagnosed with lymphatic leukemia over two years ago and all of those chemo treatments have completely depleted him also.
In January, his oncologist announced he was cancer free after receiving the results of his pet-scan. There was not much time to celebrate because he woke up the next morning with a very bad outbreak of shingles. They had appeared all over his face, forehead, and even in his eyes.
Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. On top of the shingles, he got bronchitis, a stomach virus and the flu. Within 2 months, he lost 25 lbs. His blood pressure started to go crazy and every time he would stand up, he’d become dizzy, often pass out and fall. We also noticed he was very disoriented and was having trouble formulating sentences at times.
Last month he ended up in the hospital and after running a slew of tests they determined that he was having mild strokes which are called t.i.a.’s. The doctor said that often times these t.i.a. strokes are warning signs that a larger stroke is about to happen.
Sure enough, last Tuesday my dad had a stroke and this time it was major. He couldn’t speak, couldn’t walk, and the left side of his body (from his face to his foot) was drooping. Back he went to the hospital and has been there ever since.
Because of work, I wasn’t able to see my dad until yesterday. He looked so thin and frail that it almost took my breath away. Aside from my dad’s physical illness he is also slowly grieving the near and inevitible loss of my mom. I forgot to mentioned that the weekend before my dad’s stroke, my mom developed pneumonia which is often times the final stage of Parkinson’s patients.
I can’t begin to put into words how hard it has been having both parents so sick at the same time. Life can be challenging enough but now I find myself living in a season of sandwich parenting. I’m having to take care of my children and take care of my parents all at the same time.
When I’ve shared my current situation with others they always say “How on earth are you able to handle all this at one time?”. Honestly, I can’t, I won’t, and am well aware that I’m not able to on my own. The only way I’m finding the strength to deal with all of this is through my faith in Jesus and prayer.
I know that God has a good plan for my parents. Plans to prosper them and not to harm them. Plans to give them a hope and a future. I know that although their circumstances look grim that God is completely in control of the situation. I know that He sees all things, knows all things, and is with them when I can’t be. I also know that He promises to work all things according to their good and ultimately for His purposes and glory.
This is how I find rest in the midst of feeling so overwhelmed. This is what gives me the strength to move forward with hope and not fall into a pit of self pity or shake my fists at God and become angry. This is how I receive encouragement when the future looks so grim.
Do you feel completely overwhelmed right now? Are your current circumstances more than what you can handle? Does life seem completely out of control? Are you wondering why God would allow certain situations to take place in your life?
How do you find strength in the midst of your personal struggles. Where do you go to find peace and encouragement? What do you do when you’re completely overwhelmed with life’s circumstances? I’d love to know.