I’m living in a kind of limbo-land right now. Bethany’s baby girl Goldie was due yesterday. As soon as I get the call, I will board a flight to New Jersey. But as any mother knows, a due date means very little. An April 5th due date means she could give birth anywhere from March 22nd to April 19th. So we all wait in limbo, keeping up with bills and laundry, making what we think is our last run to Costco, and making sure our suitcase is packed and ready to go. Every day could be “the day,” but only God knows the exact date.
I’m also living in another type of limbo. My elderly mother lies in a hospital bed in our in-law apartment waiting for the Lord to take her home. She has been bed-ridden since the first of the year, and I honestly didn’t think she would make it to her 88th birthday. She did, however, and she still lingers on. Both mom and dad wonder why God keeps them here on earth when they lack such purpose, especially when mom is hurting and so physically limited. But God has numbered our days, and only He knows when we will leave this earth to be with Him.
I have a partial answer to Dad’s question, “Why does God prolong our days like this?” Our lives affect not only us, but also the many lives around us. Jim and I always said we wanted to care for our parents and have them live with us when the need arose. After we convinced Jim’s mom to finally do so, we built our attached in-law apartment where she lived for 2 ½ years until she passed away. It wasn’t always easy. There were many adjustments on all of our parts, and I often look back and wish I had been more loving and gracious to her. But her death was easy as she simply passed away in her sleep.
My mom and dad have now lived with us for over three years. Once again, it has not been easy. Just as raising children meant a death to self on a daily basis, caring for our parents has required nothing less. I have had to lay down my time and agenda many times. That is hard to do. And mom’s lingering death has required a new level of self-surrender as I have had to care for her. At age 60 I am doing many of the same things you are doing as a young mom: changing diapers, giving drinks through sippy-cups and straws, and having the baby monitor with me at all times. I have had to clear my schedule so that I am home most of the time and feel pretty disconnected at church as a result.
To be honest, there have been days when I wished my life could get back to normal—to real life. However, I realized something that has helped me: This is just a short season of my life. It will not last forever. Sooner or later my mom will go to be with the Lord, and I will miss her. My life and schedule will subsequently be free, but nothing I am able to do then will be more important than the chunk of life I set aside in which to care for her. If caring for my mom is not real life, then what is?
The same holds true for you, dear mom. If you are in the midst of caring for a newborn or a toddler, it helps to remember that this is just one season of your life. Even raising older kids will pass all too quickly. Enjoy it while it lasts. Yield to the “surrender of self” you are experiencing, knowing it will produce the good fruit of a Christ-like life in you. Understand that caring for your child is real life. Reject the lies of the enemy and the world that say you are missing out on real life and there is something better you could be doing with your time.
We are in this together. Keep going! You are doing a good job!