October 14, 2010

Fear Based Decisions

Today has been incredibly challenging for me. First off, I had some initial pain (headache, neck ache, and a bit of sciatica -- in my hip and knee), and I also was so tired (just groggy like). I got up and moving, and then later took a good long shower (always helps). I also ate some breakfast and took some Advil. Later in the afternoon, I laid down to rest, and ended up sleeping for about an hour. It helped, and I actually felt better. I have since had a good dinner (yum - tostada's with spicy bean dip and cheese), and I am in pretty good spirits. Overall, what started as a not-so-great day, has turned out to be good. God is so Good to me!

On another side, though, I am also considering some decisions that will affect my life as well as that of my son. We are in this tenuous position whereby we really don't know if we will stay put -- in our current home -- or have to move out at some point. Neither of us are concerned about it, and we both welcome the change, should that be the Lord's will for us. However, there are some outstanding issues to consider, and one of these is my DH and his plans. Right now, he seems content to remain with us, though I don't know for certain if this is a general turn back towards us or a temporary thing (like -- it is the best it can be for now).

We are struggling to make our house payment and pay the bills. My money is low this month, and although I will get paid tomorrow, this little amount will not help much at all. I am hopeful of a new FT job, and the income from that will cover us well. However, what will that mean for our relationship? Will I be alone once I have the money to take care of myself? Or will I have to continue in this quasi-married state with really never knowing what will be at the end of it?

In addition, there is a particularly difficult situation brewing within the family. As I have blogged before, my MIL has been ill, and the Dr.'s cannot find anything wrong with her. Clearly, she is unwell, and the opinion is that it is age coupled with stress. It is a common disorder, and due to the fact that she has provided care for my FIL these past 17 years, well, it is to be expected. However, at this point the issue is what to do with them as far as long term care is concerned. She is unwell now and not able to care for herself or my FIL. The family is split on what to do, and my MIL is fairly disagreeable when it comes to leaving her home. Again, understandable and many children face this same scenario with their parents. The problem is that my marriage is fractured, and right now, I am not able to do much of anything to help. I do try when I can, but the truth is that my time is no longer available. My DH, on the other hand, is bearing the brunt of the care burden, and that causes an extended problem in that if he doesn't work, he doesn't get paid. Hence, we cannot pay our mortgage because he is not able to work enough to earn the money to cover it.

It is a dicey situation -- how do you care for yourself and then care for aging parents who don't or will not go into assisted living? They clearly need full time care, but they want it from their children and not strangers. My SIL has offered but her parents do not want to move in with them. They do not want to move near her either. It seems that it is a battle of the wills, with my MIL demanding a certain way, and her children trying very hard to negotiate some middle ground. It is difficult, but God knows what is best, and my prayer is for His will to come to pass.

As I ponder all these things, and try and do my best to care for my husband's parents, the thought runs through my head: what about me? For the past 20-some years I have chosen to think of others first. Now, when I have been forced to consider my own plight, and when I have embraced my own identity, I am being asked to consider others first again. If I were solidly married it would be different, but I am not. I may be divorced at some point, I may be single and living on my own. I have to consider me first and then my son -- AND -- still consider my extended family (my parents need help too). How do you do it all? What is the right choice? How do you decide what to do based on logic and reason? How do you avoid making fear-based decisions?

The answer is first and foremost to always put God first. God is able to do everything necessary, and He is more than able to direct the events of my life. Moreover, God is the giver of all wisdom and when logic and reason are needed -- He delivers it "in spades". So I have asked for His logical and rational take on the situation and this is what I believe I am to do (praying that this is correct?)
  1. Know that God is always concerned about the welfare of His children, and that He has a plan for them.
  2. Remember that you (meaning me) are not always the solution He has in mind. Sometimes God intends to use other people to solve a particular problem.
  3. When God does ask you to do something, He will always give you the Grace to do it. Trust Him and know that if He needs you, He will ask you and then walk you through the entire process.
  4. In light of eternity, God is far more interested in building faith in His people than in building things or empires. He cares far more about their spiritual growth than their physical needs. He cares for their physical needs, of course, but often spiritual comes first.

This leaves me wondering how all this fits in the grand scheme of my life. One this is for certain, I know that God has a plan for my life as clearly as He has a plan for my inlaws. He knows their needs, and He knows what they need now and in the future. Worrying about those plans or trying to manipulate or change the situation will not deliver His best. Waiting for Him to change the hearts of individuals and being patient and faithful will prove to demonstrate His will far better than rushing in to solve something you were not meant to resolve ("For fools rush in where angels fear to tread" ~ Alexander Pope from his "Essay on Criticism") I do not want to be a fool here, so it is best to remember that God is the grand master of this orchestra. I am simply a cellist (literally and figuratively), and I am to play my part. I cannot play the part of another instrument, only that which has been written for me. I will play my part, and I will play it well -- unto the Lord and with all my heart. I will not play another part because I am not skilled, not practiced, and not trained to do so.

May God be praised today for this word of testimony. Thank you, Jesus!

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