December 17, 2014

Glad to be Back Home

It is a good day to be at home! My Mom and I just returned from a five day visit to see my Aunt (my Mom's sister) who is in a nursing home in FL. My Aunt has had dementia for about 15 years, and in June, suffered a traumatic stroke. My Uncle called before Thanksgiving to ask if we would consider coming to visit because he was afraid that she would not live much longer. I took my Mom to see her sister this week, and while it was a good visit, it was also difficult and very depressing.

Of course, we give thanks to the Lord for the time we did spend together, and we are glad that we were able to see her now while she was still able to recognize us. Yet, the heartbreak comes when you realize just how awful the combination of disease and stroke are, and what kind of results come from their onset. My Mom struggled this week, but the Lord sustained her and gave her a comforting visit with her only sister. I enjoyed spending time with my Aunt as well as seeing my cousins, some of whom I have not seen in over 30 years. In all, the Lord provided a bittersweet moment for us where we were able to spend quality time with our family during this blessed Season of Light.

Today was a long and tiring day for the both of us. We were up at 6 and at the airport by 7 (4 and 5 our time, respectively). The flight home was long, with a two hour delay in Denver, and the stress of maneuvering through airport lines took its toll on my Mom. We made it home safely, praise the Lord, and now are resting after a nice dinner out with my Dad and son. Overall, we are glad to be home, and relieved to have this trip behind us. My work (teaching) is done for the semester, save posting end of semester grades by Friday. My school is on winter break as well so I have two blessed weeks off between now and January 5, 2015.

My heart is tempered today, and perhaps it is because of the strain of caring for my Mom as she grieves the loss of relationship with her sister. I think there is also the issue of my own parents ill-health (declining), and the thought of what I might have to do at some point in the future. My cousins and my Uncle are doing a fine job caring for their Mom. However, the costs associated with this kind of care are beyond my means and that of my parents. It adds a level of pressure on me just to think about what might be needed down the road. I am trusting the Lord, of course, and I know that He has me so well covered today. I pray for His grace and mercy as I look forward to the future, and I hope that He will continue to care for my parents as they transition through this season of their lives. God is good, and I give Him all the praise, all the testimony, and all the glory. Only He is worthy of praise!

In other news, I am struggling to make sense of some recent events in my personal life. Nothing earth-shattering, but still a bit distressing for me considering all that I have on my plate right now. I know the Lord has everything under control, and I am trusting in His provision for my life. I believe He will see me through to the end of all things (I love that quote -- "I am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam." -- JRR Tolkien, The Return of the King). I am feeling that way today, a bit down and a bit depressed. I feel at times that I see the "end of all things" literally and figuratively speaking, looming ever so closer each day. My prayer is to rest in the security of the One who holds the "end of all things" in His blessed hand. Yet, there is a part of me that struggles with the weight and the burden of so many, many things. At times, the weight is difficult to bear. I struggle on, I trudge on, and I follow the Lord as He leads me onward --> to that majestic end. The Lord has me covered, and I place my hope and my security in His Name. Still, I struggle, I falter, and at times, I feel so very overwhelmed by everything that is in my life.

As I consider my life today, I am reminded of how good it really is, how sweet it is right now, and how blessed I am. Truthfully, I am in a special place in my walk with the Lord. I am feeling the hand of blessing rest upon me, and I know that He is with me. He is good to me. He cares for me. He lifts my head, and He carries me when I feel that I cannot go on. He is my blessed Redeemer, my Savior, and my King. I give Him praise now and forevermore.

Lastly, as I contemplate my life, I am beginning to see the figurative end of my time here in Phoenix. I am beginning to see my life change, alter, and morph into something other than what I anticipated previously. I was recounting the past couple years to my cousins this weekend, and the weird thing was that I was thinking back on the reasons why I moved to Phoenix, and the reasons why I stayed in Phoenix all these years (almost 19 years now). I have lived in Phoenix for more years than I have lived anywhere else in my 52 years of life. Now I am looking toward moving elsewhere, to go where the Lord sends me for a job, a career move, a new life. I looked at the map this week, and I realized that I could move anywhere in the USA. In truth, there is no state that is off-limits. If I want to go back to CA, I can do it. If I want to move to FL, I can go there. I need to pack my things, my cats, and my books/cello and I am off. The only reason I stay here now is because of my parents ill-health. If the Lord chooses to move me, so be it. I will go wherever He leads me. Right now, I am thinking that I will move somewhere for the 2015-2016 school year. However, should He ask me to stay for another year, I will do it. My Lord knows what is best for me. He knows what I need, and He knows where He wants me to go. I pray that wherever He leads me, that He will allow me to settle down. I don't like moving around, so I really would like to stay put someplace nice. I am open to moving to the snowy North or to the humid South. It really doesn't matter to me because wherever He chooses, I will go. I will gladly go.

The Lord has a good plan for my life, and I need Him desperately. I need Him to keep this ship afloat. I need Him to find a good job for me, a nice little house, and a sweet little lifestyle. I believe that He will do it, and I have confidence that whatever He decides will be in my best interest. I let go the worry about my parents, about my son and his education, and about my own job/career and school. I cannot worry, stress or be concerned about these things -- most of which -- I cannot control. I let go, and I rest today knowing that my Lord loves me, and He has promised to never leave me. He is good to me, so very good to me.

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