“WHERE DO I PUT MY NAME?”
“I didn’t sign up for this!”
Is that what you thought when your parent became disabled and you became their sole care-giver?
When your employer demanded you work weekend overtime, did you sign up? When your sister and her 4 kids needed temporary housing because her home was foreclosed, did you sign up to be the cook for 9 without help, or thanks? When you found your 13 year old daughter’s text messages to a 40 year old man were less than appropriate, were you waiting with a pen?
When all three of your children got stomach flu, were you ready to volunteer? When your 14 year old experimented with toxic inhalants, did you sign up to stay up endless nights watching until he regained his lung capacity, recovered, and then tried a repeat?
In the book “Ransomed Dreams”, by Sally John the heroine learns that volunteering to counsel Columbian women of the street can lead to bigger problems, she learns that God can “tag” us with tasks we are unaware or humanly unprepared for. Those that would profit from women’s activity both in human trafficking and in diamond smuggling, caused her physical and emotional trauma.
Sheri learns that sticking by her husband who was seriously disabled by the bullet that was meant for her, was not something she would have chosen. “I didn’t sign up for this!”, she cried out to God. Sheri was bitter, resentful, fearful, unwilling to care for her invalid husband, and bitter about giving up the passion she’d had for her life’s work.
I planned carefully for how my life would be organized after my mother, still young by today’s standards, moved in with my husband and me. She is physically and financially crippled, but not so much so to require my constant attention. I could still manage family events, my own interests and activities, and was free enough hours in a day and a week to keep my sense-of-self along the way.
Okay, I didn’t mention that she brought with her a new husband of only 3 years who was no-one’s shining knight. Okay, I told myself, I can make adjustments. I did adjust. I adjusted my space, my time, my willingness to help, my communication, and then – my attitude. It suffered the most.
Medicare and local family services issues, missed SS income, their loss of some abilities, and their own dysfunctional, wobbling relationship all began to eat away at my bravado. I gave up a few things, but not willingly. I was becoming resentful and fearful.
My step dad subsequently had a near heart attack and then by pass-surgery. We spent 8 days driving 36 miles a day to hospital and back, and on 3 of those days spent more than 5 hours waiting for doctors to make reports to us.
I didn’t sign up for this.
But God knew I was meant for the job. It was his plan all along, and He ‘tagged’ me for it. It was not His intention for my attitude to go sour. It was not He that planted those seeds of regret, fear and resentment in my heart. Yet, he knew that somewhere in me, there were the right ingredients for this job.
Sheri was asked what she thought of when she first woke in the morning. She recited her feelings of hopelessness, dread, anger, and fear. When Sheri gave up that attitude, there was room in her heart for renewed love, thanksgiving and hope.
Sheri was reminded of the words in James chapter one; that essentially say: “hurrah, I’ve got more trials, trouble, big challenges! Am I glad? I cannot ever learn to live by faith without them.”
It’s just life. Faith grows alongside trouble. God is still working on me. And it’s unfinished business.
What are doing that you did not sign up for? Tag. You’re it!
April Boyer © 2010
“Fiction. See what it can do in your life”