Tag Archive | illness

Caretaker

It had occurred to me a while ago to start posting using the titles of the Voyager episodes, but life has been overwhelming over the past 6 months while I myself have – in a sense – been co-opted into the position of caretaker.

My (fairly) elderly mother moved in with us 6 months ago due to ill health at the time. But it transpired that much of her physical ill health was due to toxicity from her prescription medications, and now that that has been addressed, she is feeling physically well enough to go home again.

I can’t say how relieved I am.

We moved house into our new home with my mother, but consequently it has felt as though we were living in her house rather than the other way round. And I can’t begin to tell you how excruciatingly stressful it has been to have an effective stranger living in our home. Yes, she is my mother, but I have lived independently for almost 30 years, having left home at 16.

That’s not even to mention the fact that mother’s illness is not primarily physical but mental. I really don’t want to dwell on that here, but suffice to say that being a carer for a mentally ill person put extreme stress on me personally and my own mental health as well as the family generally.

One good thing that has come out of mother living with us has been that I finally admitted that I could not cope on my own with the housework (without putting to fine a point on it, none of the other 6 adults and teens in the house really do their fair share), and so I decided to employ cleaners to pull up the slack.

I wish I had been able to get over my pride/ guilt/ shame ten years ago when the children were little and I really needed help. Why do we women do this to ourselves? Struggle on, berating ourselves, assuming we have to do it all?

The only thing is that I’m not sure I’ll be able to afford them when mother leaves. But to be quite honest, I think that having my house and my life and independence back will be so wonderful that it won’t matter. I am really just looking forward to being alone together again.

I wanted moving to our new place to be the beginning of an adventure. It’s not quite the ‘homestead’ that I had dreamed of but it is our own place finally – with a garden where we cook grow food and do all those homemaker-y things I imagined I’d be able to learn here. It hasn’t been possible while mother has been living here, because all my energy has been focused on her. I feel terribly guilty about being selfish letting her go. But it is what she wants, and I am looking forward to resuming my “journey toward home”.

Perhaps, when we are more settled and have a solid routine, we could manage to let her return. But for now, I just need space and time to recover myself.

LLAP, Kathryn

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How to pray when life hurts?

This year seems to have been one upset, catastrophe, tragedy after another. I won’t dwell on the particulars.

But this verse came up in my daily readings and I felt an immediate identification with it:

“If the LORD be with us, why hath all this befallen us? and where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt? but now the LORD hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites.” – 1 Kings 1:13

If you know the passage, this is right at the beginning of the period of the Judges and the cycle of rebellion, punishment and repentance – old Israel was so hard of learning!

So does the cycle of suffering work the same way in the lives of believers under the new covenant? Perhaps, but not always. Illness, injury and disaster sometimes come upon people and there is no rhyme or reason or discernible explanation. (Did you ever read the book of Job?) And sometimes, as in the story of Jesus with the blind man, it isn’t the result of the sin of the man or his parents but so the glory of the Lord may be made manifest.

It is difficult to keep on trusting and obeying and praying when life is at its hardest. It is not easy to hold on to the truth that “All things work together for good to those which love God, to them which are called according to his purpose.” But it is still true even when it feels impossible.

In my daily reading from Charles Spurgeon’s ‘Chequebook of the Bank of Faith’ today, I read these words – painful but with a hint of hope:

Pruning for Fruit-Bearing

Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)

“This is a precious promise to one who lives for fruitfulness. At first it seems to wear a sharp aspect. Must the fruitful bough be pruned? Must the knife cut even the best and most useful? No doubt it is so, for very much of our Lord’s purging work is done by means of afflictions of one kind or another. It is not the evil but the good who have the promise of tribulation in this life. But, then, the end makes more than full amends for the painful nature of the means. If we may bring forth more fruit for our Lord, we will not mind the pruning and the loss of leafage.

Still, purging is sometimes wrought by the Word apart from trial, and this takes away whatever appeared rough in the flavor of the promise. We shall by the Word be made more gracious and more useful. The Lord who has made us, in a measure, fruit-bearing, will operate upon us till we reach a far higher degree of fertility. Is not this a great joy? Truly there is more comfort in a promise of fruitfulness than if we had been warranted riches, or health, or honor.

Lord Jesus, speedily fulfill Thy gracious word to me and cause me to abound in fruit to Thy praise!”

When I do not have the strength to pray my own words, I pray Scripture (and if you dig into the psalms, it isn’t all sweetness and light – some of them are gritty and mournful) and remind myself that, no matter how bleak things look, Good is good, and it will all come right in the end.

Intro and Read52

I blogged for a few years with a captive audience of friends at Multiply under the name “Life for Beginners” and when  the Multiply  platform folded, I found myself in an isolated location without internet and despite valiant efforts, lost all my posts, so I have had a writing hiatus of about three years. I’m starting again, mainly because I want to document all the crazy changes that have happened and which are continuing to happen now in 2014, and specifically to record my reading.

I have had several other blogs in various places, which I may link to later, but I haven’t been faithful or consistent, so I won’t make any promises about being faithful or consistent 🙂 I have a lot going on, but I’ll do what I can.

I have decided to take part in the Read52 challenge, to read 52 books in 2014, which is conveniently one per week.

I am a reader, and I tend to read in certain distinct categories of non-fiction much more than fiction. These categories are, broadly, health, education, sociology and religious.

For reasons that I will explain in due course, religious is probably increasingly my largest category, so I will aim to read the Bible at least once this year, but don’t plan to do it in a week, so not sure whether I will include it in the 52.

This week doesn’t count as it’s only a partial week, but I thought I would start anyway with a little book that’s easy to read. I picked one that is little more than a pamphlet at 36 tiny pages, which has been on my shelf for a long time, challenging me to read it. It’s called “Finding God in Illness” by James Woodward and published by Lion Publishing in the UK with the Christian Evidence Society in 1997. It is out of print, but available on line as a pdf file here, and is quite easy to find second-hand if you prefer your books in paper.

Finding

I thought I would start with a quote from the beginning of the book, as it is so apt for the first post on a new blog:

“One of the challenges and adventures of writing lies in imagining who will read the text and what they might want from the text. So, I wonder who you are and why you have come across this particular piece?”

So who are you, and why are you here? I’d love to hear from you, and perhaps you could provide me with the accountability I need to post consistently. I haven’t been consistent in reading blogs either, so I’m starting with no links, but I hope to build them up as I rediscover my favourite internet places.

I’ll be trying to make sure I post weekly with details of my books, and will endeavour to post a fuller introduction before too long. 🙂