Lessons in Loving Family

Lessons in Loving Family Exodus 20:12: “Honor your father and your mother…” (NET) Recently, I have experienced something new and heartbreaking that has taught me much about loving family. Our family has had to move our mother into an assisted living community. While it is the best thing for her safety and her health, it has caused much upheaval in our hearts and minds. We have prayed, laughed, loved, cried, been hurt, and ultimately known this was the best thing to do. What we have learned from this process is much, and I am sure that we will continue to learn much more as time passes. Here are some of the things that we are in the process of learning. Matthew 19:19 “Respect your father and mother. And love others as much as you love yourself” (CEV) 1 Corinthians 16:14 “Do everything in love.” (NIV) Make love the center of all decisions When deciding what to do, when to do it, and how it should be done, remember that it is about what is best for the family member in need. Remember to love that person as you would want someone else to love you. Choose carefully the new home because it will be their earthly “forever home”. Until recently, I could not imagine someone else making a decision about where I would live. However, this process has taught me that choosing a home that matches the personality of the family member in need is important. It is important that the caregivers are competent. It is more important that they love their jobs and have a desire to assist those in need. The caregivers should understand the fragile nature of the situation and how to “love on” the family member in need as well as his or her extended family. 1Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you should be of one mind. Sympathize with each other. Love each other as brothers and sisters. Be tenderhearted, and keep a humble attitude.” (NIV) The relationship is what matters most. Maintaining a positive relationship with your loved one and others can be difficult. We all function on different time schedules. Some individuals work and process quickly and others work process slowly. It takes time to adjust to a new home and a new routine. Remember to consider how you would feel in a new environment- especially if you were confused sometimes already. Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (ESV) James 3:17 “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.” (ESV) Keep the family member who is being moved informed on everything. He or she may not want to move. They may be angry, hurt, or confused. But the one thing that they do want is to know what is happening to them. Let them make as many of the decisions as possible. If they cannot decide, try to be gentle in making the decision for them. When you must make a decision that may not be what they want to do, again be gentle. Ecclesiastes 7:21 “Do not take to heart all the things that people say…” (NES) Ephesians 4:2-3 “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (ESV) Don’t take it personally. When a family member must be moved, they are going to lash out as someone because their world has been “turned upside-down”. Generally, it is the primary care-taker. Know that the feelings must go somewhere, and you as the primary caretaker will be the person who hears most of it. It isn’t personal. It is the only way the person knows to express their frustration over not being in control of their lives. Everyone is under a tremendous amount of stress. Moving someone from their home (often times a home of many years) is difficult. It means that decisions must be made regarding what to keep and what to take. It means that prized possessions might need to be sold in order to pay for the expenses of and care for the loved one being moved. Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (ESV) Luke 12:15: “And he said to them, ‘Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s live does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (ESV) It is just stuff. Material possessions are just that- material- they will fade, be broken, be lost, and they cannot be taken with us to Heaven. They are things. If someone else wants them let them go. Remember that the relationship with family is far more important than any material possession. My prayer is that you are not faced with the difficult decision to move a loved one into an assisted living community. However, if you do face this issue, I pray that you will find peace and strength in the words of these and many other scriptures. © 2015 Elizabeth B. Loveday. All Rights Reserved

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