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EGR for Our Elderly Parentals

My mother has been ill the last couple weeks and when she gets sick, it’s a doozie. My mother unit is going to be 69 in June. When these episodes occur, it’s like she takes turns with me and my sisters. She chooses one daughter to get some things at the store or to help with her needs. The joke among the three of us is, “Looks like you’re the chosen one,” because the other two sisters aren’t usually notified of said illness (Y tho?). These episodes often include the 4am wake up call to take her to emergency, to hang out with her in the freezing waiting room, and to give all the love to the medical staff taking care of my mom. Let’s just say that Mama isn’t exactly the best patient in the world. This is where EGR is required (Extra Grace Required). Hugs and smiles for everyone.

So, last weekend, the other sisters were out of town so I was the chosen “Golden Child.” My Mother asked for some things like Powerade, bananas, apples, potatoes, spinach, etc., to bring up her potassium levels. When I asked what she needed specifically, she told me to “Look it up.” EGR.

Mama tends to be a a little picky in regards to the items or the brands of the items she requests. This goes nicely with the fact that she has no filter when she needs to say something. She is the only person I know that will tell you exactly what brand to get when you kindly offer to bring a meal or other food items. If you get chicken noodle soup, it has to be Campbell’s and not ”that other crap” (Her choice of words). The toilet paper has to be Charmin. The comments she made when she found out I shopped at Winco, my grocery store that fits MY budget, so naturally, Iam going there. She wanted a particular cut of beef and I got something else because the store was out of what she wanted. She was acting a bit snobby, if you ask me. EGR.

I try to be the best daughter I can be. I am trying to be patient with my elderly Mom and her complaints and negativity. And this isn’t just about food or items she needs when she is sick. This is not temporary. This is my Mama’s life, all the time. Er’day. I often tell my husband, “Please don’t let me be like this when I am older.” I tell him to kick me in the chin, flick my head, anything, to keep me in check to avoid being rude to others when I am old.

Yeah, people like my Mom require extra grace. As I was thinking, I realized this grace isn’t just gonna appear. It’s not coming from a nicely taped box from Amazon. It’s not in an envelope dropped in her mailbox. Nah, this grace needs to come from a God-fearing human being. And with my Mom, it comes from me. The grace I need to give my mom should be a natural overflow of the grace God has given me and still chooses to give me. Laawwwd knows he has bestowed grace upon me over the years when I didn’t deserve it. I am sure I had some EGR days in my life and pretty sure I will need some EGR days in the days, weeks, months, and years to come.

If God’s Grace is sufficient for us, why do we have such a problem giving that grace to others around us? I’m thinking I’m not remembering this grace when hearing my mother’s comments, taking them so personally, and trying not to be affected negatively. Cuz some days, I just get plain grouchy and resentful and angry. Just ask my husband. Poor guy.

I realize I had my moments growing up and pretty sure I gave my Mom, a single mother, a run for her money as she was trying to parent and discipline me. I am sure she bestowed a lot of grace and love on me when I said and did dumb things without even thinking.

As I reflect on all of this tonight, I am choosing to follow Jesus’ example. The man washed people‘s feet. He dealt with difficult and persnickety people, and still loved them. He didn’t complain. I don’t think he ever rolled his eyes. And I’m pretty sure he didn’t call his brothers with the “Your mother” complaints. I’m choosing to let the negative attitude or words from my mother to just roll off my back. I’m choosing to remind myself that I am serving God first and foremost and he doesn’t care what brand of chicken noodle soup or what specific cut of beef I pick up. He looks at the heart. He looks at the hands and feet of his children in service to him and his other children here on earth.

“For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.”

John 1:16 (ESV)

I see you, Sister, taking care of your Mom or Dad, or perhaps both, in their later years. Their ailing years. I see your heart deflate a little with each nasty word or negative comment that may come from your loved one’s mouth. You know what’s even better? God, our Creator, sees you, hears you, sits by you, and stands behind and before you. He has equipped you with his grace, enough to be poured out onto your elderly parents. He has equipped you to follow his example in serving your parents. Keep in mind that you’re serving Jesus when you care for and provide for your loved ones. HE appreciates you even if/when your parents don’t say, “Thank You.” HE loves you with a greater love than your parents could ever give you, when you’re not particularly “feeling the love.”

And for those not yet in this season with your parents, your days are coming. Equip yourself now so you’re ready. Allow yourself to be filled with the Holy Spirit, his love, his grace, his patience (Lawd, we need that), and his wisdom.

Let’s pray that we can enjoy these last years with our loved ones. Let’s not separate over resentment or hurt feelings. Let’s not put our focus on their lack of filter, but on the love we can pour over them, in spite of it.

Some little nuggets for you to nibble on:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

(2 Corinthians 12:9)

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

(Colossians 3: 12-14)

Hugging you so tight,

Tammy

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