My husband and I have changed places many times through the years ...
We've moved from Tennessee to Alabama to Kentucky and back to Alabama in the past 36 years. We've changed places in other ways, too...
When the children were little, we changed places to care for our children at times. Knowing I was home with them all day, Phillip would take over so I could go out on occasion.
Sometimes it was out for dinner with a friend. Other times, I'd attend class meetings, church functions and the occasional concert. Just that little bit of time changing places made us both appreciate one another as partners in child-rearing.
Lately, we've been changing places again ... as caregivers. Instead of caring for our children -- who have all grown and flown the nest -- we are caring for our parents in their golden years.
Both my Mom (86) and his Dad (89) need more input and assistance from us. After the years they invested in our lives -- caring for our needs, teaching us about the Lord, training us, preparing us for the future and loving us in spite of the bumps -- we are now caring for them. We have changed places once more ... from just being our parents' children to being their guardians and caregivers.
It's not always easy or convenient, but it's a responsibility we take seriously. Sometimes, when the day is long and the nights are full of interruptions, it's also exhausting. Sleep is sweeter now, and occasional breaks for an outing together are even more precious.
There is also another fine balance that must be maintained. We must care for our own health so that we are able to be there for our parents and help meet their needs. We must also take time to nurture ourselves in the Word and look to the Lord for strength and grace.
The Lord is our teacher, and if we follow His leading, we will be tender caregivers. As children, we will continue to honor our parents and guard their dignity at all times. We will also carefully screen potential sitters and make sure those who help us are trustworthy and thoughtful. Change is not always easy, but with God's help, it is possible to adapt without whining.
Help us, Father, to be loving caregivers to our parents. They cared for us day and night for many years and did it without complaining. May we go forward with courage and grace, changing places as often as You lead.