Monday, February 6, 2012

Driving Miss Eileen

Gabrielle and my mom in 2006

“Honor your father and mother,”
which is the first commandment with promise: 
“that it may be well with you
and you may live long on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:2-3

Last summer, I sensed the Lord telling me that some changes were coming.  I was to keep my calendar more open during the week and not to commit to certain things.  After six years of attending a heart- and life-changing inductive Precepts Bible Study each week, I knew the Lord was telling me that this 7th year was a year of rest from the study.  I loved this study and had grown so much in the Word through it.  Continuing in the Bible study would have been my plan, but I knew the Lord was putting it on hold for now.  My mom would need more help, and it is my honor to serve her.  As my wonderful Bible study leader, Carol, so graciously said to me when I told her I could not participate in the weekly study this year, "You are living out all we have been learning."  Only by His grace. 

My sweet mom, Eileen, has been very healthy well into her seventies.  She has served our family beautifully her entire life.  Raising four children and then later returning to full-time work outside our home, she has diligently cared for us in the most tender and amazing ways.  In her recent years, she has participated a few weekly Bible studies, volunteered and was active in the community.  She attended almost every sporting event, concert and recital for our children.  Her love is constant and unchanging.

"...those who hope in Me
will not be disappointed.”
Isaiah 49:23

My mom's life is one of love, giving, prayer and hope.  No matter what hardships come her way, her love is unconditional, she always desires to give, she continually prays, and she never gives up hope in God, His goodness, His faithfulness and provision.     

"Two are better than one..."
Ecclesiastes 4:9

The last few years, she has had some physical challenges and surgeries which have caused her to slow down a bit.  Widowed in 1998 after a twenty-year separation from my father, she lives alone in the home in which we grew up.  She feels comfortable and secure there, and she wants us all to be able to "come home" when we want to.  I often tell her, "Any place where you are, Mom, is home to us."  But she wants to stay in the five-bedroom colonial where she has been for 50 years, and we are doing our best to honor her request. 

Just recently taking a break from driving herself for a while, my siblings and I (and a lovely friend) now coordinate our weekly schedules to be sure Mom has someone with her part of each day.  I set up an on-line scheduler that we all can access to write in who is covering which day and to keep track of her appointments.  Preparing and having meals with her, running errands for and with her, driving her to appointments and washing/styling her hair have become some of the highlights of my week.  Though my sweet Mom is still spunky enough to want to do this all herself, she knows she can't right now and is receiving the loving help with deep gratitude.  

What a joy to serve my Mom and return just a little of the love she has poured into our hearts our entire lives.

Wondering where I am? Chances are...I am Driving Miss Eileen.   And I am honored to do so.

"And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us."


Annette said...

What a blessing for you and for her! Also another beautiful heritage for your dear children.

jazzdog said...

It is a blessing, and a wonderful example for your own children. My mother presents more of a challenge, she is difficult and can be hurtful. Still, it has been a huge blessing for me and for my family to care for her in much the same way you describe - small, simple, daily attending. I have grown in compassion and humility, and there has been tremendous healing in my siblings. It is an honor and a blessing to have this challenge, this opportunity to grow in love and patience. Thank you for sharing your story.

Karen Boyce said...

It is worth every loving minute. One day, you will stand by her when she has reached heaven and you will have no regrets. God will reward you with, "well done my good and faithful servant." I gave up everything to care for my mom a couple of years ago when she had a illness that took her less than six months later. She would be celebrating her 80th birthday on earth next week, but instead spending her second year with Jesus. I don't think I will ever get used to life without her, but so thankful for God's promise. Always remember that you are making memories for you, not her. My memories, our relationship, and that precious time together will sustain me until I get to see her and Jesus one day.

Mich said...

Treasure those moments serving her, for I know if she was like my mom, she earned it. :)

I live in the same town as my in-laws, and although they are still independent for now, I know it will not be long till I will be driving someone around.