More From Susan L. Stombaugh

November 29, 2020 by Susan L. Stombaugh (Ohio, USA)
The broken nativity

I still display my broken nativity set at Christmastime that I wrote about in my meditation entitled “Broken People.”  It continues to remind me of God’s great love for me.  Much has changed in my life since that writing.  I am now a caregiver for my elderly parents who still live on their Ohio Century Farm.  My father just turned 96 and my mother 95.  They will soon celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary.  My dad was born in the home where they live and he has told me numerous times that he wishes to die there as well.  I hope when the good Lord calls him to his eternal home that this may be the case.  I know that I am very blessed to still have them in my life for so many years as many others aren’t so fortunate.

Some of my dad’s words of wisdom have been, “Just take one day at a time.”  Well this past week I would say, “Just take one hour at a time!”  My husband was scheduled for knee replacement surgery and wouldn’t you know, my dad ended up in the emergency room a few days before.  Somehow just going in for an IV and oxygen always seems to turn into an extended stay.  And sure enough, that’s what happened!  He ended up in the hospital for four days. 

Susan's parents, Herbert and Marilynn Lortz, on
their wedding day. December 20, 1945, during
World War II.

Unfortunately, another dilemma is that my mother cannot stay home alone.  She is unsteady on her feet and prone to falling.  Since my dad was in the hospital, I had to scramble to find people to stay with her night and day.  Thankfully, several family members each took a turn.  

Between the worry of dealing with my husband’s surgery, visiting my dad in the hospital, and taking care of my mom, I had some sleepless nights.  Just trying to organize everything was exhausting as I didn’t know from day to day what was going to happen next.  So much anxiety!

Then I remembered the scripture, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34, NIV).  I was also reminded of the verse, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10, NIV).  And you know, as I look back on the past week somehow everything seemed to work out!  I was blessed that God sent people to help where needed.

Sometimes I tend to lie awake in bed at night and play out every scenario of what could happen with my parents and how I am going to deal with it.  But despite the stress and fear of the future, I am trying to remember to cherish these moments that I still have with them.  My dad and I had some very memorable conversations while I sat with him in his hospital room.  I have also been writing down the memories of their lives that they have been sharing with me, and I know that I will treasure them always.

My life has been blessed with wonderful, loving parents, and it is a privilege to take care of them.  After all, they sure have done a lot for me!  I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that I love a God who is big enough to handle anything that life throws my way!  God will see me through any storm.  I just need to trust him.

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