Expect the Unexpected

When the Kansas City Chiefs squared off against their opponent in the third quarter of Super Bowl LIV, things weren’t going very well. Although tied at half time, the San Francisco 49er’s came back to score a field goal and a touchdown, making the score 20-10. But then something happened. With less than 7 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs came back with three touchdowns to win their first Super Bowl in 50 years.

We’re in the fourth quarter of 2020 and I’ll admit that as a caregiver, there are times I feel beaten down. Like Alzheimer’s has picked up the ball, run it in for a touchdown and I’m left scratching my head and looking at the clock. COVID shuts down our much-beloved Grace Arbor in March and people across the country with dementia, including my Father, regress. Touchdown Alzheimer’s. Thanks to a COVID grant and generous donor support, my Father begins attending Peachtree Christian Health in September, giving him invaluable social interaction and much-needed respite for me and Mom. Touchdown God. In November, my Father is combative with me for the very first time in an angry outburst. Touchdown Alzheimer’s. In December, he all but loses the ability to feed himself with an eating utensil and we must begin feeding him. Touchdown Alzheimer’s. With the increased meds to dispel his anger, my Father is more lethargic and difficult to maneuver, so that I’m struggling to lift a 165 lb. ragdoll. Touchdown Alzheimer’s.

 

When you hear the words “nursing home”, you typically cringe, flinch or try to think of something else. You envision a sad lot of elderly people living in a depressing, understaffed facility that smells like urine. You think of residents’ belongings being stolen and employees passing through a revolving door. It is not a place you want to be. It is not a place you want anyone to be.

 

But what do you do when more than 9 years as a caregiver have left you physically, emotionally, financially and psychologically spent? You have no choice but to consider putting your loved one in a facility. If my parents had a considerable nest egg or long-term care insurance, this wouldn’t be a problem. But like many Americans, they didn’t plan on needing thousands and thousands of dollars for an assisted living facility with memory care. And as if that weren’t enough, they didn’t anticipate a pandemic that would keep families from visiting their loved ones in facilities or cause elderly deaths to surge.

It’s the fourth quarter and the scoreboard says I’m losing. We’re in the final days of 2020 and we need to quickly find a safe place for my Father. I need a touchdown. I need three touchdowns. I need God to come through in the final hour like He has so many times before.

 

I need Him to part the Red Sea while the enemy is madly pursuing me so that I can cross to the other side and watch my foe drown.

Israeli Center of Judaica

I need Him to infuse me with boldness so that I can race toward the front line and kill the 9’9” giant.

 

I need Him to open my eyes like He opened Elisha’s servant’s eyes so he could see the vast army of horses and chariots of fire descending upon the enemy.

 

I need Him to beckon me out of the boat and walk on water as long as I keep my eyes on Him and not my circumstances.

 

I need Him to send an earthquake to break open my chains and shackles as I sing praises to Him so I can escape my captors.

 

I need Him.

 

And I have Him. I am His daughter, and He will fight for me. But besides believing He will make a way, there is something else I need to do. I must make room for Him to move.

 

I have to let go of my preconceived ideas and fears about facilities. I have to let go of the fear that once my Father enters a facility, I will never see him again. I have to let go of daily taking care of him. I have to let go of the ‘what if’s?’  I have to let go of the fear of loss.

 

I cannot expect God to move if I keep holding on. I cannot make room for the new year, a new chapter of my life or new opportunities until I relinquish control of everything I’m holding onto. I need to only hold onto Him.

 

It doesn’t matter what the scoreboard says. He will win. He always wins. He will give my family what we need. He will provide care for my Father. And He will be there on the day my Father moves in and my heart wants to break into a million pieces. He will surround me with His love and faithfulness.

 

And as the clock winds down and I wait for those touchdowns, my job is clear. I will hold onto Him and expect the unexpected. I will anticipate it and watch for it and thank Him before I see it.

 

And I will celebrate His win. And since I am His daughter, it’s also my win.

6 thoughts on “Expect the Unexpected”

  1. Praying for the difficult decisions you are having to make but I do believe as you do that God has this all figured out & He will make everything right! Much love ❤️

  2. Angie,
    My Mom used to go to Grace Arbor with your Dad. She suffered some decline due to the lockdown, but she declined rapidly after 2 hospitalizations in October and November and a TIA in early December. Things can change fast with this disease. Fortunately, God has provided at every turn. She was in an assisted living facility and the administration was pushing for her to go into their Memory Care unit before she was hospitalized even though her therapists all said she didn’t need it. She was walking without any aids (no walker or even a cane) and she was able to dress and bathe herself, make her bed, do her own laundry and find her way to the dining room and her activities with only a little reminding as long as her schedule didn’t change. Of course COVID caused lots of changes. Because of the administration’s attitude, (and God’s urging) I had already started checking out personal care homes before Mom ended up in the hospital October 15th for a week with a small bowel blockage. This left her weak and more confused, so I made the decision to move her to a personal care home when she was discharged. God provided and the home I liked the most had an opening. Mom was just starting to get her strength back and adjust to the change in location when she ended up back in the hospital on November 1st. This time she had blood clots in her lungs and had to stay in the hospital for 11 days. She was even weaker, more confused and incontinent after this visit, so we ordered hospice. On December 3rd, she suffered a TIA and has been wheelchair or bedbound since. She sleeps most of the time and only knows me on a good day, but she is happy and very well cared for. Personal Care Homes are definitely the best way to go, and I know they are expensive, but I know God will provide a way. Think of the possibilities. If your Dad is in a PCH, you can go back to work to pay for it. Meanwhile a short term loan against your parent’s house or a reverse mortgage could pay for it. Another option is for you to open a PCH. Don’t say you couldn’t do it, because you have been managing one for nine years. You are more than qualified and the need for them is growing. And you would still be able to spend time with your Dad AND have help. It is possible with God’s help. Pray about it and don’t be afraid. God’s got this.

    1. Karen, you have loved on your mom and been so faithful to care for her. I’m encouraged to hear how God has provided for you both at every turn. I’m sorry that she’s spent time in the hospital and regressed. It seems God is preparing her for her eternal home. Love & blessings to you both

  3. Oh Angie, my heart breaks for you, but you have been faithful, and we know and believe that God is faithful above all! May He reign down His provisions and blessings on your Father, your Mother and you. May this season bring you unexpected peace, love and more faith in His ultimate plan. My prayers will go before you, as our Comforter walks beside you. ♥️

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