Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)
- TITLE: Those Last Days
By nicole wian
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She would come live with us. This is what I told my husband when we talked about the dilemma. Gretchen was not eating, showering, or doing much of anything for that matter, and she needed in-home care. I’d always been very close to Gretchen. Although we didn’t always share the same views, I was lucky to have a relationship of ease with her. So, there was no question. We would move her in. It didn’t matter that I had small children. I was confident God would not give me more than I could handle. When I felt depleted, as I was prepared to at times, He would be my source. I felt a sense of purpose with this assignment. When friends and family expressed concern over whether I’d be able to handle it, I smiled and told them that God would give me the energy.
Except, it wasn’t that simple. When, my husband and I went to his mother’s house the next day and made our announcement, we found, that it was not a welcome suggestion. Yet, it was not a suggestion, but a necessity that we could see as clear as day. Gretchen didn’t see it that way. She did not want to leave her home, insisting that she was fine. We were at a standstill after hours of conversation, and Paul and I went home, discouraged.
So that weekend we went with Paul’s siblings to convince Gretchen that this was what was needed. Outnumbered, unable to deny that she was not feeling or doing well at all, incapable of doing even the simplest tasks, she finally, in tears, conceded.
So, we packed up her essentials and brought her home. She was sullen on the way over, but the brunt of her anger seemed to be directed at me.
I cried out to God that night, confused. I thought this was what He wanted. That I’d be blessed, she’d be grateful. He reminded me that I could do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Monday, I was alone with her. She was still angry but over time, she did soften. Slowly, some of her came back, through having someone to talk to, and through the patience God was increasing in me.
But there were days when she was depressed. And worse than those were the demanding days. She became at moments like a child, deciding she needed something, in my opinion, of little significance right as I sat down to work, after I’d thought I’d brought her everything she could possibly need. If I didn’t get something quickly enough, she would either become snappy, or in a slow and quiet voice, say, “That’s okay,” intentionally leaving the feeling that it were not okay.
I had to give it all to God. Again and again. I couldn’t confide in Paul. It was his mother. So at night, with everyone asleep, I’d curl up downstairs with my Bible and pour out everything to the Father.
It was the most trying time of my life. It was also the largest blessing. God was with me in it’s short entirety, as only six months later Gretchen passed away. We had our moments. I knew she loved and appreciated me, because she told me a week before she died. She said that she had prayed for me since Paul was a boy, not knowing who I would be, but praying that God would put the perfect woman for Paul in his life and that I was an answer to that prayer.
She’d prayed for my purity, for my schooling, for my relationships, and for my walk with God. To know that as a child, I’d been prayed for by a woman I had not yet met, touched me in ways I can’t explain. And then Gretchen told me that not only did God put me in Paul’s life, He put me in hers and she knew that God had known even thirty years ago that I would be the one to care for her in her last days. She said she was glad God chose me.
I’m glad too. The most difficult time in my life turned into the greatest blessing. Our God is an amazing God.
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