For the past 4 years I have been the primary caretaker for my 99-year old grandmother who lives with my family. As those closest to me know, it has been a challenge.
The challenge has not been the physical needs of my grandmother. At 99 she defys the odds. She is in good health – the only medication she takes is blood pressure medicine. She has never suffered from any diseases. Her mind, other than short term memory loss, is sharp. She reads the entire newspaper every day, watches Days of Our Lives religiously and her favorite primetime show is Dancing with the Stars.
Besides preparing her meals, doing her laundry and shopping, and helping with bathing, hair washing and getting dressed, her physical needs are pretty minimal.
The difficulty lies in the emotional realm. It is not easy to see someone you love be so troubled in their soul. On the outside she displays an attitude and demeanor that everything is ok. But when you care for her day in and day out you know there is great fear and worry that occupy her thoughts. Her consuming fears revolve around the “what ifs” in her life – “what if I fall?”, “what if I end up in the hospital?”, “what if someone breaks into the house when no one is here but me?”, “what if I can no longer do things for myself?”
Over time the subtle doubts and fears that enter into our minds when we are young begin to take root. Their grip becomes tighter and tighter until those doubts and fears begin to consume your every thought. Your focus settles on the negatives and peace eludes your soul.
Because of what I’ve seen in my grandmother I began to take notice of the same strongholds in the lives of others. I noticed that so many people are absorbed by disappointments, failures and hurts of their past or they focus on the fears of not knowing what the future holds. And what they miss is the present moment. They miss the beauty of this season of their life. They miss the opportunity to have peace because they have convinced themselves that the turmoil of their past or the unknown of the future won’t allow them to ever be at peace. They “make it” through the present in order to “survive” to the end. And like my grandmother, they are not the exception to the rule. They are the majority.
But what if……what if you decided to really defy the odds? What if you chose to believe in that baby in the manger who defyed the odds? What if you became the exception to the rule and lived a life full of peace and joy? What if you had a strong, loving marriage that defyed the odds in a time when divorce is so prevalent. What if you found healing for the past hurts you’ve experienced and forgave those who hurt you? What if you didn’t worry about the future because even though you do not know what the future holds, you know the One who holds the future in His hands? What if you stopped trusting in your own abilities to make everything wrong in your life right and began to trust in Jesus, the Prince of Peace. He defyed the odds that the people of the world placed on Him and came to the world as a baby in the manger in order that you may defy the odds too and find rest for your weary soul simply by believing in Him.