Winter brings short days, inclement weather, and bleak landscapes. Plants die, dropping their withered leaves on barren ground.
Sometimes our souls become as stark as leafless trees, or like branches weighted with heavy snow.
Have you ever wished for a respite from the daily tasks of caring for an elderly parent? I know that the privilege of caring for an aging loved one can sometimes feel like a tremendous burden. When I’m bent over with weariness, sometimes God speaks to my heart in a way I didn’t expect.
At a Christian conference I attended, a speaker used a Hawaiian word I’d never heard before, kuleana. It means a responsibility, but it’s more than a duty or “task.” It also carries a connotation of privilege. I thought, Could I apply this to caring for my mother? How honored am I to have this responsibility?
To adjust my perspective, to include the idea that it’s a privilege to be given a responsibility like this, the task could take on new meaning.
As I’ve struggled through the emotions and disappointments in my relationship with my mother, God continues to remind me that it’s a privilege to care for her. When my friends lament that they miss their mother, I realize how blessed I am to still have her. Many women dread Mother’s Day because it brings pain. I’m still able to celebrate with my mom and my daughter. When someone mistreats me at work, Mom is vocal in her defense of me, even if it’s just to rant at the dinner table against the injustice of it all.
When I’m able to lay aside my hurt, that’s when He’s able to change my perspective. I no longer look at Mom as an intruder into my relationship with my husband. I can again see her as a person with expectations and disappointments of her own. I can grow beyond the child who stamps her foot to get her own way. I can put myself in Mom’s place and empathize with her, while firmly creating space for my husband.
If you would like prayer in your caregiving season, email me. Let me help carry your kuleana. May you find rest in your weariness.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. This is the promise of Jesus. When I’m tired, cranky, and want to run away from the responsibility of caregiving, I find it helpful to pour out my frustrations in a journal. It’s my way of dumping all the negativity. Once it’s in black and white, it doesn’t look as bad. I can give it to God in prayer, and let Him shoulder the burden. He promises He will do just that.