We did something they don't recommend. We moved them during the first year after the loss. But we didn't move them just anywhere....they are on our street. So close to us. It seemed that God opened the right doors in the right ways and we knew it was right.
However, right doesn't mean easy. For.sure!!
When they moved here they moved away from all of their support system... except us. That is a very, very big deal. I know this likely intensified the times of loneliness they each endured. Over the years each woman established her new life in her own way. Georgia reached out in many volunteer positions which allowed her to meet new people and make new friends. She now knows more people in Lancaster County than I do. Pretty impressive given that I have the fun nickname of "Friendship Ambassador to the World". (Oh, I do crack myself up.) But seriously, this woman knows a lot of people! And she continues to maintain strong friendships with many in York.
What triggered these thoughts was talking to Georgia yesterday morning and hearing that she was preparing for her usual time at one of her volunteer locations. She spends all day, usually once or twice per week, helping a Podiatrist take care of elderly patients. Georgia is a retired RN and loves continuing to serve as a nurse in this way.
Georgia is also very involved in a local horse rescue, a group for Widows, Release Time, Ladies Bible Studies and more. Impressed? You should be. It took a lot for her to get up and motivate herself to do anything after Gene passed away. Naturally, the grief was intense. I am so very proud of her!!
My mom approached it somewhat differently. She got a job. That is where she met many of her circle of new friends. That seemed to be enough for many years but there was something missing in her life. Ministry. As a life long Pastor's wife Mom was really missing hands on time with children.
She is a very gifted teacher and had never gone so long without using those skills. Our church, which she came to for many years, is a Family Integrated church. That means that there are no separate Sunday School classes for the children, no children's church or any other opportunities for that style of teaching. While we love our church and Mom truly loved the people there she felt a strong calling in her life to get back into that style of ministry. With our blessing and encouragement she began seeking a local church who would benefit from her heart to serve. She found one! However, there was a six month wait before she could begin helping with the children's ministries. This meant that if she wanted to help immediately it would have to be with adults. Would you believe God led her to work in the Celebrate Recovery ministry at that church?? It may not seem like a great fit on the surface but in reality it has been great. For both sides! As a Pastor's wife Mom has had a lot of experience with all kinds of situations. We had "our own" alcoholic all of my early elementary years. He was a neighbor who would stop on his way home from the bar to talk to the "Preacher" very regularly. He is one of the main reasons my brother and I have never been enthusiastic about alcohol. We were friends with his little boy who suffered so very much.....but I digress. That, and many other experiences, as well as her deep knowledge of the Word make this a very wonderful fit.
Now the six months have passed and she is also involved in children's ministry. Sometimes it is a bit much with working and all but I see a contentment in my Mom that had been missing for a few years. I'm so very, very proud that she did the hard thing. She let us know that our lifestyle wasn't completely meeting her needs. You see, we are busy in our church. Our skills and gifts are being used there.....but that didn't mean that it was right for her. It was very hard for her to guess how we would feel about that.
It is so important for those of us who integrate our parents into our lives to understand and remember that they need to be independent. They need to feel free to take those steps out on their own. Sometimes what they want to do is risky. Sometimes we worry that they will be hurt. But the upside of fulfillment and knowing they are serving the Lord is well worth the risk!
So, in those times that I worry about Georgia riding a horse or Mom driving around on cold evenings I just have to do what I'm very used to doing with my children. I trust them to the Lord. I know if He called them to these missions He will be with them.
Aren't you glad we had a snowstorm so I could just sit and write what I've been thinking about? Haha!!
So many of us are in this stage of life where we are loving our parents through changes in their lives. I am so thankful for the Lord's leading in all of these things.