“But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Isaiah 68:8 (KJV)
“The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” Jeremiah 18:1-4 (KJV)
When my mom came to live with us about six months ago we didn’t really know what would happen. We knew that mom was failing both physically and mentally. We knew that she could no longer live by herself and that she needed extra help just for day-to-day living. From the beginning it was a challenge. Living with another person is hard, especially when that person is struggling with dementia and, having not lived under the same roof for over 42 years, it felt like I was living with a stranger!
Every aspect of our family life changed as we found ourselves in the role of caregivers. At first, I was angry at all the additional details, complications, and work of being a caregiver. I was exhausted from working a full-time job only to come home to another full-time job of cooking, cleaning and caring for all of the needs of another struggling person. Most selfishly, I was irritated at the lack of ‘alone’ time – just to meditate, exercise, market, read a book or take a nap.
Initially, I thought that my mother's coming was all about her – all about her needs and wants. I was wrong. Now several months into the process, I see that God has been using this experience to sand-off my rough spots. And believe me, I have lots and lots of rough spots! Through this experience, I am learning to see others in a way that I believe is more compassionate and empathetic - the way perhaps that God sees them. I have learned that love is unconditional and without the expectation of things ever getting better. Love is not irritable or selfish or self-serving. Love is all about submission, sacrifice and seeing Jesus in others. It is about allowing the Holy Spirit to work in me so that hopefully, through my actions, others might also see a tiny glimpse of Jesus.
And so, God sands away. Thank God and praise him every day for his wisdom and care in providing us with just the right people, experiences, obstacles and challenges so that we might become the kind of people He can use.