Saturday, February 8, 2014

Setting Aside Selfishness

I told you I'd be posting again later this week…so I'm determined to make it happen! 

How is the rest of everything going? 

Pregnancy is going great! So far, even with the sickness, the extra breakout and the loss of energy…I have loved being pregnant. I had been feeling overwhelmed and extremely intimidated when I let myself really think about how at the end of 40 weeks (give or take) there would be a tiny human for me to care for. Last week as her room came together, I started to look around and realize that now she's what is missing. I can't wait to meet her and rock her in the chair that I now rock in rubbing my ever growing bump. I'm actually feeling more confident in the next part of the whole process… :)

Cale is super super super sweet and helpful with me as I grow. I'm not sure if I shared in the last post but he reads to her every single night. He's been talking to her since the morning after we found out, and about the time her ears actually started to develop and process sound, he started reading her a bedtime story. It is probably my favorite time of day lately because it's the absolute sweetest thing to listen to. He starts out letting her know its time for a story and it just gets better and better from there. I tried a couple different books the other night, but there were just too many words on one page at a time and he wasn't able to read the book, so we picked out the most simple to read ones and will work up to the other ones as Nora gets older and his reading progresses! 

Here's a picture of him reading to daughter…


As for me-

My honest from the personal depths of me answer is that I'm doing great. I really am. There's a whole lot of growing happening, and I don't just mean my size ;)

I had high hopes today for some fun playing in the snow with Cale. We actually have some snow and it's sticking which doesn't normally tend to happen in these parts. Even as I'm typing, the white powdery flakes are continuing to fall from the sky. It's nowhere near the amount the rest of the country is getting pounded with by any means, but for around here…there's quite a bit of it! 

When we first went out, Mama snapped a couple pictures and within minutes, Cale was miserable and the fun time that I had imagined quickly turned into let's-just-be-done-with-it. We came inside and I was told how stupid my idea was along with other grumblings. I had to admit that it was an awful lot of work to get all dressed to go out, but my intentions were that it would have lasted longer than 10 minutes and would have been full of laughter and smiles.

At that point neither of us had showered or gotten ready for the day. I was disappointed and annoyed because of how my expectations had been shot and Cale was annoyed and frustrated that I made him go outside with me. We were both unhappy. What I wanted to do, what my flesh wanted to do, was to give him the silent treatment and just be upset for awhile. The very thing that snapped me out of it was that I still needed to shave his face. I still needed to get him lunch. I still needed to explain what the day was going to look like. 

I don't tell this story to make either of us seem ugly or mean. I tell it because with being a caregiver comes the very act of setting aside selfishness to care for that person. 

I wanted to be full-blown selfish. I wanted to not care about his needs. 

…and this was such a simple not that big of a deal situation. It just rubbed me in a bigger way than needed. 

The first year we were home from the hospital in 2011, I'd say maybe 4ish months after or even before that, Cale was taking meds three times a day. He would fight every single time. His anger looked very different than it does nowadays but it was still impossible to get him to do something if he didn't want to do it. Especially when it was three times a day that we'd have the exact conversation and he wouldn't remember each time. There was one night that I was extremely tired. Way past exhausted. I don't even remember any of the details that had gone on about the day, I just remember coming to him with his meds and a glass of water. I asked him to take his meds and he of course refused. I asked again. Nothing. He wasn't going to budge. It wasn't a time that I could just walk away and have him fight again. The meds needed to be taken so we could go to bed. He was getting more and more angry and I was feeling weaker and weaker. It finally hit a point that as I was holding the glass of water, and he refused by yelling at me, I responded by throwing the water at him. With the glass still in my hand, I ran to our bathroom with hot tears pouring down my face as I slid against the wall finding my place on the floor. 

I cried. I cried a whole lot. I prayed, telling the Lord exactly how my heart felt. I told him exactly how angry I was that a TBI was in our life. 

After several minutes, or at least what felt like several minutes passed, I looked to my left at Cale. He was still sitting in the same position as before on the bed, clothes soaked, clueless of what had just happened. He didn't know why he was all wet and he didn't know we had just gotten upset with each other. He also had no idea what to do with himself. 

I lifted myself up off the floor, walked over to my husband and helped him undress out of his wet clothes. I then helped him into something dry to sleep in and asked again to have him take his pills. He took them this time and after I tucked him in, I silently walked to my side of the bed, pulled back the covers and curled up thanking Jesus for the man he had given me to take care of and fell asleep. 

I know that as many of you look into our lives from the outside in, it may seem as though I do an amazing job caring for Cale. Reality is that it's hard and I make so many mistakes as I try so hard to love him like Jesus does. Yet, often I think about that night that I so clearly remember and how just giving up and being selfish is not an option-he needs me to care for him. And for many of you that are in or have been in any kind of caregiver situation, you know that there is little room for self. Your schedule changes. Your choices and demands shift. You become tired and sometimes weary. You don't want to have to take on the responsibility  of someone else's life, but quickly you know that you love them more than not taking care of them. 

Living life with someone that has a disability gives a vivid picture of what Jesus talks about in Matthew 16 when he says, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." In the New Living Translation it even says, that we must turn from our selfish ways. 

There's a tool in my life called disability that helps me understand denying myself; setting aside my selfish ambition, but this verse speaks to all of us. We are all supposed to set aside our selfishness to follow Christ. We are to love those around us and tend to their needs. We are to help others be comfortable even when we end up uncomfortable. We are to step out of our bubble and reach out to the very lives we come in contact with everyday-even if that means we don't get everything done on our list of to do's.

As the sun sets and then rises again day after day, I'm learning and being molded to reflect Christ more and more. It's not a bad thing to die to self. In fact, many of the ways I instantly want to respond aren't ways that I actually want to respond, they're just the ways of my flesh.

It's not a sob story that the desires of my flesh are dying daily; it's a great thing.

It causes me to be doing great.

Even when in the moment it just doesn't feel that way…

and because Cale can't just do everything on his own and needs me to help care for him, I get to experience true joy when I watch him live life. When I pause from the crazy busy of the day and let myself soak in his humor, personality, and character.

Serving my husband makes me a better wife, daughter, sister and friend.


* I shared a very personal story. Please be gentle with my heart! I felt that I needed to share that moment because of how great of an impact that night was on me…
*I'm sorry for all of you that have had trouble posting comments to the blog! I have no idea why it's messing up! Feel free to email anytime! darlingkathleen@ymail.com Just know it may take me awhile to respond! 

4 comments:

  1. Oh, WOW. Father uses different tools for each of us, yet somehow they are the same. The same in that they refine us, shape us into the very image of our precious Jesus. It is a special gift when we realize what is happening and are doing great. The gifts we will have to lay at Jesus feet will be....well, more than we imagine.
    Sometimes, NO make that many times I have to ask Father to help me to see with His eyes and hear with His ears what is going on around me. TOO many times I tell Him I don't really care if He changes the situation or not. I tell Him if He wants me to change He'll have to do it without my help because I just plain don't want to. I had a friend ask me once if I told Him I was sorry for my attitude. I said no. He knows what I am thinking anyway. Beside He is more that able to handle my tantrums. He wants us to be honest with Him. Another besides, telling Father just exactly what we think puts it in His hands, a safe place where Satan can't get at them.

    Kathleen, Father has His hands on you in a special way. You are going to be surprised to see your finished tapestry when you get to the New Earth. As you know, all this is being used by Father in your lives and those whose paths cross yours. I love you dearly and Father LOVES even MUCH MORE.

    Blessings to you, Cale, grandma Joy, and baby Nora,
    Marion

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  2. Love you BOTH and as always love what you have to say, More than anything this spoke to me about attitude and although I don't have a husband with a physical disability, I think at times I am more selfish than I know ~ thanks for your honesty and candor~ it put me right at the foot of the cross, Love you (((()))))Reenie

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  3. Dear Kathleen--
    Thank you for sharing your heart. Although many of us are at different places in our journey in this life I feel most of us can apply something you said to our own lives and that is a blessing. It reminded me of an emergency trip I made to Florida in December because my disabled father was in the hospital once again and my sister and mom needed my help and support. After he got out of the hospital I was left at their house with him by myself to take care of his needs for many hours and at one point he made me really upset by something he said and did. (Since his stroke many years ago he is ohhhh so blunt and can be really mean at times.) I was so hurt by how he treated me, especially since I had gone to such lengths to arrange to leave my husband and children and get down there to "love" him. (This was just selfish thinking on my part.) God spoke to my heart maybe an hour or so after the initial "hurt" he had caused me when, low and behold, he had to use the bedpan and it became quite a mess to say the least. I had to clean him up and this, up until this time, I had been spared of (my mother and sister regularly have to clean him up). So, here I was upset inside but trying not to show it and needing to clean his rear. ;o/ He needed me to do that for him...desperately. And then I thought...wow, how rough and sad for him that he is in this shape and cannot do these things for himself. So...I began to just feel compassion for him. He has "lost" so much to his stroke but I am so blessed. The least I could do was forgive and love. (I did at one point talk to him about how I was feeling and he apologized.) So thank you for reminding me of these things. It continues to help me know how to pray for my parents and that is a blessing. I am praying for you and your dear family and look forward to seeing all the Lord continues to do.
    In Christ,
    Emily J.

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  4. A couple of books that I read to my son (twenty-one years ago) was "Good Night Moon" and also one called "Beautiful You". Cale could probably handle "Good Night Moon" and work up to "Beautiful You". I'm so blessed by reading your posts. Thank you for sharing your lives with me. ~Michele

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