Almost a year ago I sat around my best friend’s kitchen table with my closest friends and the book Restless by Jennie Allen. We were discussing what God was calling me to, my ministry, my dreams. It didn’t end up the way I had imagined. My friends told me to go home. Home was where my ministry was. My mother, who lived next door, was needing an enormous amount of care. I was the poster child for the Sandwich Generation. Juggling my family (3 kids at home), work, and my share of my mother’s care was taking a toll on me. My ministry was clearly at home. Yet somehow it felt like my calling was getting put on hold, as if God was saying I didn’t get a calling beacuse I had these other things I needed to do. Other people got callings, but I was being sent home.
Today I went for a run and was listening to another Jennie Allen book, Anything. I was barely to the corner before the tears came. She tells a short story about her friend who felt God called her to go home and care for her mother. It was her “anything”. Because sometime when you give your life to Jesus and tell Him you will give Him “anything”, He sends you home. It was my “anything”, too. I had mistakenly seen the months I cared for my mother as an interrruption to following my call. It was the hardest thing I had ever done. For some people the calling is to move, to adopt, or to start a ministry. For me the hard thing was this “anything” God had put before me.
My mother passed away in March. I had spent months upon months visiting her in hospitals and rehabs. I spent the last months of her life making her food, cleaning up her home, counting out her pills, and changing her diapers. Those painful, exhausting, emotionally draining days did not seem like they would ever end. Now that I am a few months removed from those days, I see things in a differnt light. I would not trade those days for anyone else’s “anything”. I cared for the woman who had sacrificed so much for me, helped her to die with dignity, and was given the gift of a deeper relationship with my siblings.
If your calling has been to go home, and care for an aging parent or a sick child, or anything else that might seem mundane and difficult, I want to assure you that you won’t regret the love you shower on another person. You won’t look back at the tv shows you missed or the nights out that got interrupted and wish someone else had beeen given that calling. If your “anything” comes wrapped in adult diapers and open wounds, you will one day thank Jesus that He called you to such a task.
She was my mom. She was my “anything”.