|It's All in the Family|
by Joni Eareckson Tada
"Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter -- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?" Isaiah 58:7
Not long ago I was back in Baltimore and spent time with Connie, a high school girlfriend. She is one of millions of American women who are in the "sandwich generation三明治世代——同时扶养与照顾父母和子女的人." They are raising their children at the same time they are caring for an aging parent. In Connie's case, it's her elderly mother-in-law, who has emphysema肺气肿.
I watched my friend gracefully handle all the needs around her. That was typical of Connie. It helps that she is part of a large family, and she has lots of support from her own folks. But that's not true for many women in the sandwich generation. A woman I know takes care of her mother and has to deal with a teenager who resents 怨恨the change in routine. There's not much support for this caregiver.
If you're helping a family member who is ill or an aging parent, consider these suggestions. Don't be afraid to let others know you need help. The "I'm doing fine" mentality is self-defeating弄巧成拙的. Investigate the whereabouts下落 of a local day care or respite缓解 center. Let your friends and church family be aware of specific ways they can lend a hand. Listen to the counsel of others -- they may observe your husband's mood shift and alert you that he needs attention. And, finally, look for hidden blessings. Your elderly parent sacrificed much when you were growing up to care for you. Now God is giving you the chance to extend the grace back.
Isaiah says that not turning away from your own flesh and blood is a sacrifice that is pleasing to the Lord. When you care for a family member, God says "your righteousness will shine like the noonday sun." That's not a bad reward for taking care of your young and your old.
Lord, strengthen me to serve You by gladly serving others. Provide help for me when I need a break. Help me to see my service as pleasing to You.
Joni and Friends