It's been over a month since my husband and I accepted a job as a caregiver to a 90 (just turned 91) year old woman named Alice. The opportunity came suddenly but as time has gone on I marvel at how perfectly suited this situation is for our current needs and smile knowing that God handpicked it for not only Alice but my husband and myself. To be honest with you I panicked the week before we were scheduled to move. I kept thinking.. what if I can't make Alice happy.. what if she doesn't like me...? My husband reminded me that the Scriptures never command us to make someone happy.. only to serve and love them. I married a smart man!
So, here we are a month later and I can honestly say that my fears were unfounded. God has exceeded my expectations in the gift He has given me in Alice. She has not only opened her home to us but her heart. She has made us feel welcome and like we're part of her family. She doesn't treat me like an employee but as her friend. I'm finding great joy in serving her and making her comfortable. Honestly, it's been easy to fall in love with her. It blesses me so much when I ask her if there is anything else I can do for her and she simply says, "Nope. I'm happy."
I'm a planner.. sometimes to my discredit. This past year I thought through a multitude of possibilities of where we might live next. I imagined us living in everything from a motorhome to my mother's house. Moving into Alice's home and caring for her was no where in the plans. I wasted a lot of time in 'over thinking mode' when I could have been using those moments worshiping God and serving others. It won't be time wasted though if I can learn from it. I find that recently when I begin trying to micro-manage my future I suddenly remember how amazingly God orchestrated this move and immediately I am reminded that God does a much better job of taking care of my future than I do. I am learning to 'rest' in His sovereign hands.
Alice and I are settling into a routine and our days are beginning to establish a hum.. a rhythm. I'm learning her needs and how to make her comfortable. Before I moved in I set up a housekeeping schedule for her home. The first Monday after we moved here I pulled out my schedule and began cleaning. Alice said, 'what are you doing? Why don't you sit down and relax? Nothing needs to be cleaned.' Alice has kept a very neat and clean home but she is teaching me (slow as it may be on my part) that a person doesn't always need to be busy. I could learn a lot from Alice... and I'm sure I have much more to learn.
I'm also learning some new lessons in frugality that Alice is teaching me. I'm learning how to clean less and thereby use less water, cleansers and electricity.. to wash less loads of laundry each week and to use less lights and water. These are great lessons that will help stretch our income if we're ever given the opportunity to live in our own home again.
I am continuing to learn deeper lessons in loving God and others. There is joy in serving.
Jesus came to serve... and not to be served. He gave His life as a ransom for many. I don't serve perfectly. I've had moments where I'm tempted to put my own needs first. I've struggled at times with the changes my life has taken over the past few years as my husband's disability has kept us closer to home and more isolated. But.. in spite of these lapses of giving into my selfish nature I am finding a renewed love for the One who was the ultimate servant as I learn to follow Him in serving others and putting their needs ahead of my own.
I have so much more to learn.
Are you learning the joy of serving others? Is there a widow in your family that needs your help? Or possibly an elderly neighbor?