Do not cast me off in the time of old age;
forsake me not when my strength is spent. Psalm 71:9
We are in the midst of the CoronaVirus Pandemic here in the United States of America…the world over. As I sit at home, I am capable of working on chores around the house, mowing the lawn, reading, writing, talking to others on the phone. Yes, I am a senior at age 72 and need to care for myself, which I am. I also like to be productive for God’s Kingdom. One thing I love to do is write notes to allow USPS to deliver. Yes, old fashioned snail mail! I put them in the mailbox down at the end of my block by either walking, riding my bicycle, or driving down there. Yes, mailing letters and notes is still something we have access to, even in technologically savvy days!
These notes I write go to homebound members of my church family as well as friends to let them know I am thinking about them, praying for them. I know that those living in nursing home and rehabilitation care facilities cannot receive visitors right now due to this pandemic. Online, I have seen sons and daughters finding innovative ways to visit: standing outside a window of the facility touching hand-to-hand with the one locked inside, a window in between. I have seem an adult-child and a parent sitting outside/inside calling on the phone, talking while looking eye-to-eye through that window. I just heard from a friend that a nurse at the facility set up a FaceTime for this daughter and father. I am sure there are more.
SO…I was a giver of care to my mother for 15 years as she aged near me, in a senior apartment, an assisted living, and a nursing home. Mama had Diabetes as well as Dementia. The latter ran like a roller coaster, worsening over the years.
The saddening thought for me is, “What if Mama were still alive today (she passed away 1-30-2013)?” With the type of Dementia that she had, some days she would be clear as a bell but so many days and nights were filled with fear, with hallucinations, confusion, anger. What if Mama could not remember that I could not come in the building? What if Mama got mad because I had not been in to hug her? touch her? laugh with her face-to-face? What if she missed me while she watched the Cubs on WGN-TV? What if? Because she had not seen me, touched me, hugged me…only heard my voice every day, several times a day. What if? (As I type these words, and it has been 7 years since Mama died, I am in tears because of these thoughts.)
So if I am thinking these thoughts now, what are you, dear giver of care, thinking, feeling right now? I am so sorry. I lift you in my prayers because I feel this; I understand this. I had to have a few surgeries during the 15 years I cared for Mama. I could not be there every day or even talk to her some days. I know, sweet friend. I am so sad and sorry that you are going through this with your loved one.
Oh, my heart breaks.
We must stand in the gap to pray for the residents who are truly bound in a home. Let us dwell in the shelter of the Most High.
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in Whom I trust.” For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. Psalm 91:1-3
…for their givers of care…those in the facilities and their family members.
I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the LORD. Jeremiah 23:4
We must call upon God, our Rock and Refuge.
Be to me a rock of refuge,
to which I may continually come;
You have given the command to save me,
for You are my rock and my fortress. Psalm 71:3
God will bring us through this pestilence no matter the consequences. May we depend upon Him, the One Who has promised:
…even to your old age I am He,
and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
I will carry and will save. Isaiah 46:4
Pray to the One Who answers:
Hear my cry, O God,
listen to my prayer; from the end of the earth I call to You
when my heart is faint.
Lead me to the rock
that is higher than I, for You have been my refuge,
a strong tower against the enemy. Let me dwell in your tent forever!
Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah. Psalm 61:1-4
He has given us His Word, His Truth upon which to stand.
Father God, these precious ones, these ones who may not understand why we have not been to see them, why we are not there to visit on the regular schedule we have been on for possibly years. Blessed Shepherd, please gather them all into Your safe keeping and grant them mercy, comfort, and grace in this time. If they suffer from Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, any kind of fear, loneliness, please hold them to Your bosom where they will feel safe and warm. Thank You, LORD. You are my Shepherd. I am so grateful to be in Your flock. I know where my life came from, and where I will go when I die. I will be with You for eternity. For any who do not know Jesus as their Lord and Savior, I pray they will call upon Your Name in this darkness for You are Light. May all seek Your face and know to Whom they must turn: Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). I pray for their salvation. In Your Son’s Holy Name, I pray. Amen.
I have a series on Caregiving that I did while Mama was alive and reprinted afterwards for a few other sites. You can find the series posted at the top of this page or linked right here- Giving Care God’s Way
Photo of Mama, January, 2013: L. Gill
Broken Heart: Bible Study Tools
Isaiah 46:4 graphic: A Little Perspective Christine Miller
Sheep and Shepherd by Anton Mauve: Circa 1880, Cincinnati Museum; Public Domain @ Wikimedia Commons
Psalm 91:1 graphic: A Little Perspective Christine Miller
Photo of Mama, Kenneth and me, Thanksgiving, 2012: L. Gill
Heart: Icon by Dryicons