They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, (Psalm 92:14, NIV)
Ever since the beginning of time, women were caregivers tending to family, hearth, and home. Women were responsible for tending to the children, as well as caring for their elders. Today’s era finds women in the same situation; however, besides working and caring for the home, women also work outside the home. This can cause a serious disturbance with balance and imbalance for most women.
While it is difficult most times to find balance in all that needs tending to, women also find it nearly impossible to find a moment for themselves when care giving. However, it is vitally important to both the woman caregiver and those who are in her charge that she takes care of herself. Moreover, while taking care of her physical needs is important, taking care of her spiritual self is vital to both herself and her elders.
The old adage about putting on your oxygen mask first before putting on anyone else’s certainly does ring true in this case, as well. While it may seem difficult or impossible, there are ways to incorporate self-love and self-care into the care-giving scenario.
A Time for Letting Go
As your parents age and the inevitable approaches, it is important to remember that it is time to let go – not only of your beloved elders, but also of things that do not matter. Sometimes letting the laundry pile up a bit or not keeping the house perfectly pristine at all times and just simply being with your elders will make the journey more memorable.
Spend some quality time just listening, perhaps asking questions you never thought to ask about family history, or just sitting quietly listening to music. Those moments spent together will always remain steadfast in your heart. This will do wonders for them, but reset your spiritual priorities, as well. In this manner, you create joy instead of stress. Joy is always a better option for your spirit.
Create a Journal
Take action and create a journal for both you and your elders. Take some thoughtful time and write down your innermost feelings, no matter what they are. Sometimes you will feel exhausted while other times amused.
Also, assist your elder in creating a journal. Ask thought-provoking questions, let them tell their stories, write it all down.
Creating a journal for your feelings and thoughts and creating a journal with your elders is a wonderful spiritual practice that eventually becomes a keepsake.
Take time to pray alone and in silence, as well as with your elder. Pray first by giving thanks and praise and with gratitude that God hears you and answers your prayers with love, always delivering what is best for you.
Pray with trust, knowing that you are loved deeply. Pray, sing, listen to music as this will make your heart and your spirit soar.
Do it for Yourself, Do it for Them
Remember that the further away your elder gets from this world, the closer that he or she gets to Christ. When you model spirituality in yourself, not only do you benefit, but the elder you care for benefits, as well.
Think of it this way, your elder is transitioning from a life lived in this world to a world of heavenly respite for all eternity. Someone here in this earthly realm needs to be that bridge to close the gap, making him or her as comfortable as possible along the way.
If you do not exude that the Holy Spirit lives within you, your elder will not likely feel it either. Comfort, peace, and joy should be abundant in an elder’s last years. You can close that gap. You can be that bridge.
You are not being selfish, you are being selfless. When you care for your spirit, it is only then that you can carry the weight of another.