I wrote this about five years ago. I wanted to post it again with some additional comments. (In Italics) My mother had fallen at my house just a few days prior and was in the hospital when I wrote this.
THE PAST STORY
Today my mom is doing much better. She’s working hard in therapy and will be coming home in about a week. But with her improved condition, she’s also returned to her stubbornness. I came home from the hospital thoroughly stressed out. I was ready to pull out what hair I have left having pulled it out in frustration over the past week. (It’s a good thing I have a lot of it.)
She called me a few minutes ago to tell me she passed a cognitive test with flying colors, Considering how hard her head “kissed” the sidewalk, this is really, really good news. After we ended our conversation, the phrase, “Just love her,” came into my mind. I believe that epiphany was from God.
The feeling I experienced after our phone conversation was vastly different from what I’d felt when I left the hospital today. It felt warm and cozy. It felt “right”. I felt such pride in her accomplishment and such love for her.
Light-bulb flash! This is how I want to feel. I don’t want to be her police officer, her mother, her know-it-all daughter. Besides, when I think about her life and what’s she’s accomplished with little education, no high-paying job, and under difficult circumstances, I am humbled. I just want to love her and go from there.
I couldn’t have done it.
The words, “Just love her”, overwhelmed me. I knew the Source of those words. This last week I’ve felt little connection with God, I’vebeen wondering where he was in all this. Today I know exactly where he was. Right where he needed to be. Helping me make all the right medical decisions. Putting the right people with the right information at the right time in my path. Keeping me from sinking. And now this.
Internally, I was making all these plans for my mom and orchestrating her entire life, trying to cover all the bases. I couldn’t sleep, wasn’t eating much. I was going to end up in the hospital myself if I kept it up. And then,
“Just love her.”
What a relief! I can just love and enjoy her. She isn’t going to change-thank God. Her stubbornness is what accounts for her tenacity. It’s why she’s working so hard during therapy. I can love her for her stubbornness not in spite of it.
Enjoying my life means not micro-managing hers. Will I, too, revert back to some of my old habits? Of course. But I honestly believe I’ve turned a necessary corner in our relationship. One that allows both of us dignity and autonomy.
I wish you had walked with me this last week. I wish you could have seen how events transpired. A lot of tears were shed when no one was watching. The overwhelming guilt at times because she fell at my house. On my sidewalk. And then I wish you could see how I’m sitting here tonight, still depression-free. Despite it all.
I don’t know what you’re going through in your life. Some of you are probably dealing with some really “heavy” stuff.
But I hope my experience will help you.
My mother died three years ago and I really miss her. The very qualities that kept me so frustrated are the qualities I now miss.
We often try to micromanage people. Yes, we do it out of love but it usually doesn’t work. And in the process, we often lose ourselves. Of course, though, because we CAN’T really manage anyone, we fail. We add guilt to our shoulders.
I guess the lesson is to manage our own lives. This is what God has called us to do. We will not be held accountable for other people (except for those who can’t take care of themselves due to age, disability, etc. ), but we will be held accountable for what WE do.
The years following the accident were very hard. My mother died of dementia and the last few months were hard. But I was able to remember to “Just Love Her”, and that got me through a lot of hard times. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/the-simple-guide-to-carin_1_b_12885810
So if you have people in your life that are EGR people, (Extra Grace Required) and you are at your wit’s end, just remember that love really does cover a lot of things.
God bless and I hope you have a good day.
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