Some of you know the story of my life over the last few years. I have tried to keep things up to date both for you and for myself. I think it is time for me to jot down some things, since there have been some significant changes.

Let me back up a bit . . .

In 2006, my mother, at age 56, had a massive aneurysm rupture. When the dust had settled, she was paralyzed on the left side, blinded on the right side, mentally childlike, and unable to talk. I was in Frisco, Texas pastoring at Stonebriar Community Church. I made what was, at the time, the most difficult decision I had ever made. I could either stay at my dream job, pastoring with Charles Swindoll, or I could move home to Oklahoma City to help take care of my family (my dad, mom, and two sisters). Two factors were influential in my decision to move back home: 1) my sister, Angie, had committed suicide just two years before my mother’s aneurysm and 2) my dad was trying to drink himself to death due to the grief of it all. I knew my dad would either die, or be in jail (multiple DUIs) within short period of time.

I sat down with Chuck Swindoll and talked about my options. He said something that was very influential to me: “You will never regret taking care of your family.” So, that is what I did. In 2007, I packed up my family and moved to Oklahoma to be the “savior” of my family.

I will not say that I made the wrong decision. I don’t really know how to think about this, or communicate it. I wrestle with my emotions all of the time concerning what I thought I could do, and what my exact goals were compared to what happened. Most of all, when I am down, depressed, angry, and/or [insert any word that expresses self-pity], I yell at Kristie and say “I should have never moved from Frisco. I had it all-together then. Now, I have fallen apart!” The reason I yell this at Kristie, my wife, is due to my attempts to place just a little bit of the blame in her lap. After all, she is the one who always wanted to get back home to Oklahoma. However, she knows that these moments are my moments in irrational darkness, and have nothing to do with her.

I need to continue with the story, before breaking out in song from a broken pulpit.

When I returned to Oklahoma, things progressed just about as I anticipated. This does not mean I was ready for it (as I thought I was), or should have done what I did. Dad kept drinking. Mom’s condition never improved. Dad kept getting DUIs. I kept trying to be the “savior”.  Mom still lived at home, just sitting in a chair or laying on a couch watching the same movies over and over and over and over again.

In March of 2010, all the strength I had was exhausted, and I fell into a dark, unfamiliar hole of depression. I limped through the next years emotionally, and found meaning to all this in the Credo House and what it was becoming. 

There came a point in time, where I was the only one who could lift my mother. She weighed about 180 pounds and needed to be deadlifted from place to place. I was on call for showers, diaper changes, and putting my mom in the car of whoever was willing to take her on trips. I was trying to do the noble thing. I don’t know why I was the one singled out (probably because I was the only boy), but my mother always said, “Don’t you ever put me in a nursing home.” So that is what I did. I kept her out of the home.

Eventually, I was spending so much time on duty at my mother and father’s house that I had to move in with them. My family came a few months later. We  lived with my mother and father and took care of them both.

A year after we all moved in (last November), my father finally died at 66. While the official cause of death was pneumonia, the real cause was I-will-do-anything-to-die-cause-I-lost-everything. So, there I am . . . with my mother and family at her house.

We decided to stay. I would continue to take care of my mother and keep her at home. I would still be the hero and rescue my family even though I had long been in need of being rescued myself. Over the last eight months, the degenerative disc in my back became more and more painful. It did not help that my mother was now over 200 pounds. I began to dread every moment. Diaper changes, moves to the bed, restarting the movie, putting her in the car for someone, and our 7am routine of clean-up, breakfast, and pill became the consumer of all my emotions.

Then, two months ago, the DHS showed up at our door. They had been called by someone who said that we leave my mother alone at the house. Besides the fact that this was never true (she has been alone for 30min total since 2006—15min were accidental), they did not ask any questions attempting to understand our situation. They immediately began to accuse me of “Freeloading” and demanded all bank statement and receipts for every bit of my mothers social security I had spent. They said that if I did not have them, I was facing criminal prosecution.

Whether they had the authority to say these things, or the power to do them did not matter. I was confused, scared, and angry. Everything that we had been through and now I faced jail time (remember, this was just two months ago). We got a lawyer who confirmed that they could follow through with their threats and that criminal charges might be filed. I waited for weeks for them to start the investigation. I figured there was no judge on earth that could hear the true story and say we were doing anything but giving my mother the best of care. However, the DHS has never been heard from since. Of course, this is a good thing and a relief.

After all of this, I made another very difficult decision: though we don’t qualify for aid, I decided to put my mother in a private pay nursing home.  This was last Friday. She has been there almost a week.

Though I am not sure how we are going to manage the payments on this, it was necessary. While I have a deep sadness, I know that there was no other choice. I could not do it anymore. I love my mother so much. She deserves so much more. But I could not do it. She seems to understand.

So, here I write in my office at Credo. I have been here all day. All day! I have a freedom I have not had in so long. But this is the final step (I hope) in an eight year campaign to be a savior. I don’t blame myself in trying to do what I did. But if I had it to do all over again, I would not have gone in this direction. It drained the life out of too many other things.

Remember, this is a blog. And this post is a blog in its truest form. Just chicken scratch of my life with typos all over. I am not running this through the editor.


C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. He can be contacted at [email protected]

    36 replies to "On Caring for My Mother"

    • Elke Speliopoulos

      You are brave beyond words. My prayer is that God will illuminate the paths that seem dark and provide you with moments of true joy in the midst of this.
      My prayer is also that God will sell a few of the cows on those thousand hills to make this happen.
      Thank you for your incredible ministry!

    • Jimmy

      Thanks for posting this. It’s good to see the inside once in awhile. I lost both of my parents to miserable deaths in the last 2.5 years. I too ended up being the one called on to keep it all going during their sickness and dying process. I had several family members tell me how much they wouldn’t want my job.

      It’s life. Sometimes it sucks, sometimes it’s beautiful.

    • Flyaway

      So glad you made the decision to move your mother into a care facility. It will still be a marathon until she goes to be with the Lord. We visited our parents almost every day when they were in care facilities. We just chalked it up to the Lord doing more sanctification for both us and our parents. I told my children that I will happily go to my nursing home with no complaints. All I need is food, clothing, shelter, and good Christian fellowship. That’s what I have now and I’m giving thanks every day for these things!

    • jonathan jarvis

      When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter…(Exod 13:17)

      I empathize with the plethora of opportunities for painful reflections which the longer road provides.

    • Nancy

      I read you regularly and SO appreciate your honesty and bravery about all you’ve been through. Caring for a disabled family member among other issues nearly did me in, too. No one can do it all, but we often don’t realize soon enough.

    • Princess

      I’m sorry you had to go through such overwhelming difficulties. I would sue DHS for harassment; at least it would make an embarrassing news story.

      I can’t say much about OK, but CPS and other government programs often make threats either to frighten people or because they get promotions based upon finding abuse. They should have provided you with info about respite and various services to help your mom, whether government or private. Your lawyer sounds like an idiot, as you do not need to prove your innocence; the state is required to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Unless your mom is living in squalor and you just bought a new sports car with her SS check – which would hardly be enough – they don’t have anything. It is not as if you had a child they could threaten to remove if you didn’t kowtow to them.

      Also agree you cannot rescue anyone, although they will seek to drag you into their drama, and that is one reason I live on the opposite coast of my family.

    • Tara Goldston Marcoux

      Many prayers for you, your mom, and your family. While reading this, I don’t perceive you trying to be a savior…you were just being and continue to be the amazing son (and brother) that your parents raised you to be. May we all be so blessed one day to have children to love and care for us the the way you have all these years. Thanks for providing the update – I will keep you both in my prayers!!

    • anita

      I truly think that God is preparing many of us for some much tougher days ahead. Days which we cannot dare to anticipate. I don’t want to ever judge what I am going through by its hardness. Am I remaining aligned with God…..that is my only question. Tomorrow we will know what it was all about and we will say yes, I see now.

    • Chris

      Michael, thank you for your honesty. I was at DTS at the same time you were but we weren’t buddies then (I wish we had been!). I have always appreciated your honest and insightful posts about theology and your own life. I think you were right to want to help your family — and my guess is you’re being a little hard on yourself saying you were hoping to be their savior. The truth is, you can be a savior (with a small ‘s’) even if you don’t solve everyone’s problems, just by your willingness to help. Doing the right thing sometimes sucks, and the sense that it was all worth it sometimes doesn’t come at all (maybe it will come later or in glory). I also trust that your decision to place your mom was a wise one. In spite of how you might feel, From my perspective (and I think I speak for a lot of your readers), I can see God conforming you to his Son’s image, as he promised he would. Take care.

    • LauraC

      While I agree with everything that you have done up to this point, I don’t think that you should be responsible for paying for your mother’s care. If you want to, that’s fine but HER assets should pay for her care. You should be able to take care of your own family and if your wife or one of your children needs care, pay for that. Again, I say if you want to, fine. Perhaps the financial burden will seem small compared to your other burdens. Concentrate on your own wellness now, and that of your family. You’ve earned it.

    • Marcus

      Michael:
      I am praying for you. I have enjoyed your website immensely. I am attorney who practices in the area of Elder Law dealing with all the issues you have encountered. I highly recommend contacting a NAELA attorney ASAP. I would be happy to speak to you as well, though I don’t practice in your State and may not be able to address certain specifics.
      Again, I understand your struggles. I have had many God fearing children do the same thing and encounter the same exact issues. Clearly there is hope with God and there are attorneys who serve the Almighty God who know that their role here is to help in these cases.

    • chaya1957

      Absolutely second the motion of speaking with a qualified elder care attorney. It would have been helpful to do this sooner to preserve your mother’s assets, but later is better than never. Her assets and SS/disability should cover her care, and when that runs out, government is responsible. You might want to ask around for referrals from people you trust. My dad found his attorney through a referral from his nephew, who is also an attorney. I spent a couple hours convincing my dad that he couldn’t use just any attorney, but he needed a specialist, just like you need a medical specialist.

      I’m not sure that Swindoll’s platitudes were helpful. My mother has Alzheimers and my 85-year-old dad is caring for her. Every situation is different and very complicated.

      I know this is a touchy subject for a lot of people, but I would not want medical personnel to save my life in a situation like this. While I believe euthanasia is morally wrong, I believe withholding medical treatment is acceptable.

    • Marsha Johnson

      Dear Michael, I am the age of your mother, my husband has Alzheimer’s/Dementia, I am his full time care giver. I live in BC, Canada. I am the beneficiary of the TTP 6 course program (thank you CMP and God.) My heart goes out to you! DHS should be helping YOU! Not the other way around. I am proud of you for trying to be the “only son” and pastor to your family. However, it is no longer necessary. What your mother needs is only your love, prayers, cards, pictures your children draw, a plant or a flowerer once in a while, not every day. When you have the time to be with her, be there, but don’t risk the sanity and sanctity of you little family, she would not want that. God has given you a gift to lead, now is the time to do that. Much love and prayers fro you, Marsha Johnson

    • Paul

      What a story! Whether you made the right decisions or not, whether it was a misplaced belief in being a hero to the family or not, it can’t be denied you had one thing – guts.
      Decision-making of any kind is nothing without having the guts to follow through with it and maintain integrity.

    • Lisa Vanderburg

      This is savagely honest, brutally beautiful and puts me to shame for my life’s problems. Thank you Michael – you have given me pause for thought and fodder for my faith!

      I’d love to share it on LinkedIn!

    • bob p

      I’m truly sorry for your predicaments. If I could only wail, rend my garments, and lament in the dust on your behalf. A dream ministry, with Chuck Swindoll , of all people whom I deeply respect.

      Not sure about your decision. And how would you have felt if you hadn’t cared for your mother and staid where you were? You would be a blessing where you were before leaving, and your family would think here he is at his dream job as his mother and family rots back home. There was no perfect alternative.

      I agree with the comments who said you had a sorry lawyer. Mechanics as a whole have a better track record with their clients. I’ve paid good money and then have the worst case scenario occur.

      It sounds as tough God were messing up as it pertained to the kingdom. You think you’re the “savior” of the family? Were you the savior in your ministry?

      I have prayed for you and was disturbed the evening I read the original post.

    • William

      You are an inspiration Michael. I’ve been reading your posts for awhile now and that I can recall i have never commented. But I just wanted to let you know that I’m praying for you and your family. When I see or hear testimonies like these I am always left in awe at the grace that God provides in the most difficult of circumstances.

    • Missy M

      Ah yes, “hero syndrome”, one of the more imposing kinds of arrogance complexes people develop. Always saving people from themselves, others and conditions because, after all, you always know better and are far more exceptionalthan others. How hass this translated to ministry, as you look back, because no doubt, all that “hero syndrome/complex” simply doesn’t get put in a box when you switch to ministry work and if it does, you’re in a worse state than you imagine.

      Now for the good news. We are never too wrong, too inept, too far out from where we think we should be or could have been for God’s plan. While you thought all this foolish, God meant it for good.

      A comfortable and celebrated ministry isn’t what would have brought you to honest confession about your greatest weakness as a person. He has brought you here that you may decrease and he may increase. And maybe your mother will have to go to a public nursing home. She will be fine there if you visit regularly and meet with the staff regarding any concerns.

      The blessing of coming to the end of one’s self is much more than the pain, exhaustion and humiliation, it is the start, if we will permit, of a decreasing of self and increasing of our Lord. God’s blessings upon you (as you mature in this new and good perspective I will not be surprised to hear of your “depressive” states dissipating greatly).

      • William

        “Ah yes, “hero syndrome”, one of the more imposing kinds of arrogance complexes people develop. Always saving people from themselves, others and conditions because, after all, you always know better and are far more exceptionalthan others. How hass this translated to ministry, as you look back, because no doubt, all that “hero syndrome/complex” simply doesn’t get put in a box when you switch to ministry work and if it does, you’re in a worse state than you imagine.”
        Missy, that post was awful on so many levels. If that was your idea of helpful advice, keep it to yourself.

        My Grandmother has been sick for years, my mother has been looking after her, doing all the lifting, cleaning and meds like Michael has been. This is not hero syndrome, this is loyalty. When a parent asks their child to not let them live in a care home because of their own fear, what the parent does not often realise is that this can significantly harm their child. My mother is in her mid 70’s and has developed some serious medical conditions (including osteoperosis) as a result. She does not want to do this, but no one else will despite the fact she is the oldest of ten children and my grandmother has over fifty grandchldren who could do the job. My mother is trying to remain true to her mother’s wishes, to her own detriment and has probably shortened her own life by a decade or more. Her mother was a proud woman, but did not realise that actually, she would get much better care in a care home. Michaels mother now has people around her who are trained specifically to do this job with all the lifting and bathing facilities in house. Although I have no doubt about Michael’s competence, this is for everyone’s benefit.

    • Susan

      Wow, Missy, that came off as a rather condescending sermon! I couldn’t help but think that you clearly have not experienced anything close to all that Michael has been through. I think Michael was trying to do the right things for his parents and all that he did was commendable and God-honoring.

      Michael, I am relieved to know that you have finally handed your mother’s care to professionals. It was past due, but it’s so hard when we love them much and wrestle with what is the right thing to do. Many people a quick to look for the easy way out of suffering. I’ve heard it said that Christians need to have a good theology of suffering. I think it was Dennis Reiny talking to the author of Love and Respect, about marriage– saying that sometimes the prescribed methods just don’t work and we have to bear up under suffering. I was so blessed by those wise words that I cried in my car. Someone had given me that book to read and I found it so irrelevant to my situation that I couldn’t get past the first chapter. It just upset me.

      I’m glad that you are experiencing relief. Breath deeply of it and thank The Lord. Don’t think that you have to visit your mom every day. Don’t lay guilt trips on yourself.

      Hugs!! Susan

    • Robin

      I think the choices you made were the ethical choices that a Christian should make, sacrifice yourself for your parents and the ones you love. Sometimes I think of what a failure I am in my life because I have not accomplished much in comparison to the potential I have, but I think the things we do that will stand in eternity are the self sacrificial, painful things we went through for God. We will be known for these things.

    • MissyM

      Ummm….for those of you complaining about my response…did you not read the article all the way through. Here is what Mr. Patton said:

      “But this is the final step (I hope) in an eight year campaign to be a savior. I don’t blame myself in trying to do what I did. But if I had it to do all over again, I would not have gone in this direction. It drained the life out of too many other things.”

      I was agreeing with him. He is the one admitting to trying to be a savior and that he would not go in this direction of he had to do it over.

      Do you not understand what he is reaching for, here? He isn’t looking for “attaboys” and a big shoulder to cry on, he is looking for God’s work in all of this, God’s hand, God’s blessing and so on in spite of his decision which he would not do again. He is looking for resolution!

      He is making a concession and asking whether this was God’s work or his and if it is his, did God make it God’s, anyway, which he did, btw, but not as anticipated from the beginning. Goodness people.

      • William

        I cant believe you still can’t see how poor your response was. If you need it spelled out then your attitude comes across as callous and uncaring. It isn’t so much your analysis of the post, more your ‘Ah yes, “hero syndrome”, one of the more imposing kinds of arrogance complexes people develop. Always saving people from themselves, others and conditions because, after all, you always know better and are far more exceptionalthan others.”
        You might be reasonably anonymous online, but CMP is a real person who is hurting and struggling through a situation. Many of us have followed his ministry since he was at Stonebriar and care about the person. I’m not making a judgement as to whether he is looking for attaboys or not. You then in defense even quoted a portion in which he said
        “But this is the final step (I hope) in an eight year campaign to be a savior. I don’t blame myself in trying to do what I did. But if I had it to do all over again, I would not have gone in this direction. It drained the life out of too many other things.”
        “I don’t blame myself”, yet clearly you are blaming him.
        Then you said “Do you not understand what he is reaching for, here? He isn’t looking for “attaboys” and a big shoulder to cry on, he is looking for God’s work in all of this, God’s hand, God’s blessing and so on in spite of his decision which he would not do again. He is looking for resolution!”
        He is not looking for attaboys? So what, we tell him we’re pleased he is overcoming his arrogance and hero syndrome? Nice. Yes he is looking for resolution, but that does not give you liscence to attribute hero syndrome and arrogance to him, when he did not, and I for one did not read anything in his post that was indicative of that.
        You on the other hand have come off as arrogant and condescending.

    • C Michael Patton

      My goal is always to relate in hopes that others find strength in my weakness. I don’t see myself as a hero. William is right. I want others who try to be the hero to understand that we can’t. We are not as strong as we think we are.

    • Missy M

      You’re right, you saw yourself as a savior (not much difference but if word games are in order I’ll comply). And finding strength in “your” weakness is precisely what I pointed out, that your weak attempt brought you to exhaustion thinking you were somehow so exceptional that you would save everyone you tried to save from themselves or condition. God was, let’s hope, able to teach you that this kind of human arrogance isn’t for the Christian. Caring for people, yes, trying to be their savior, no, as you readily admit. I did precisely what you hoped, identified with what you presented.

    • Susan

      Ah, Missy, so now you accuse Michael of playing “words games”, “thinking you are so exceptional”, “human arrogance”, and then smugly claim to have “identified with what you presented”. By “identified”, you are obviously not meaning “empathized”! You know how to kick a man when he is down. Michael is displaying something you seem to lack: humility.

    • Carrie Hunter

      In all Christian charity….

      Missy if you are not interested in being gracious and kind and building other’s up in the truth of Christ….

      Shuddit.

    • Missy M

      Because “shuddit” is, of course, gracious. As to being empathetic I am sure if I was I might have followed my observation(s) with an encouraging word or two like, “God meant this for good” and “God’s blessings upon you” but I didn’t…. oh wait, I did. But let me reiterate, God’s blessings to you Mr. Patton, in this confession and new found humility that you cannot be the savior of your loved ones as you so chose. What a great place to find one’s self with God. And of course may God’s grace abound as you trust the integrity of God toward you that no matter where your mother spends the remainder of her life, God’s work is being done as he takes the unlikely, the least considered and the impossible, to do his work.

    • Dick Thurston

      Michael,

      Your post reminded me of “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction (thlipsis-tribulation, PRESSURE) with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-7, NAS95.

      Our trials and pressures are instrumental of God in our sanctification and growth, but they also ripple out to others. Your post is just such a wave, and your ministry is necessarily deepened, saved from platitudes, by it..

      Blessings

    • Kendall

      Michael, you and your family will be in our prayers. We have used and purchased your materials for our church and I am thankful for your ministry. May God give you strength and wisdom in the days ahead.

      I am facing a very similar situation and need wisdom on what to do. Your article was helpful.

      God bless

      Kendall

    • Sheila

      Michael, I applaud your loyalty to your parents and your eventual decision to let your mother be cared for in a nursing home, once it became clear your own care couldn’t be continued. You did more than enough to honor your parents so you can be without guilt on that issue. To be selfless is an opportunity to glorify God, as He is selfless. It is not “hero syndrome”. It takes courage , perserverence and incredible faith. I beleive God intentionally places you in a situation where He can mold you into His image, so although it is very difficult , there is victory/ rewards at the end. I have no doubt that God will bless you and your family and you can look forward to that, if not here on this earth, then most definitely in the hereafter. 🙂

    • Leslie Jebaraj

      Hi Michael,

      I did learn that you had admitted Mother in a nursing home, but for some reason I missed this particular post.

      You know I love you much, dear brother!!

    • Vohnda

      Thank you for sharing your life with us. I have a handicapped child. He is 30. He has a feeding tube, wears diapers. Anyway I don’t like to list all the disabilities I do that enough at Dr visits. He had a stroke at birth and has been living in our home his entire life. The first 18 years my husband and I did all the care taking. Now I have help. CNAs that come everyday to do all the things that my husband and myself did all those years. I still feel guilty everyday. Where should I be and what does God want me to do? I could be all consumed by my beautiful boy. I dreaded the day he would be too big for me to hold in my arms but I knew it was coming and he grew. If only for one ??? am I willing to give my life? Just how selfish am I??? I will never be enough for his healing…. I tried for a very long time….. Was that the best I could do ???? I am stuck on this ache and carrying on as if I am not carrying it. You are not alone. I am puzzled by my life and yet I continue to find out things I didn’t know before. This is a wild ride with awful aches and glorious surrenders. I am too interested in what God is doing to risk missing a drop of grace by leaving early. I have been praying….come Lord Jesus a lot more lately. My husband and I appreciate your work. We became a little disillusioned with church the past few years and your ministry has helped us keep going…. Keep going…. you are so valuable. More than you know.

      • anita

        Vohnda, that was touching. We cannot judge our lives ourselves, can we? We must take what is given and learn to be thankful for sometimes very simple things. It is enough that Jesus died and that he died for me.

        I, too, have become disillusioned at much of Christianity and what’s in the church buildings. I love Michael’s ministry because he does not settle for the status quo and digs in to real stuff. He is transparent with his life before us, not an image behind a screen in a megachurch.

        Thank you for taking care of your son and valuing that experience. God Bless You. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Susan B. L.

      Having just spoken with my father on the phone … what a blessing to read this. Daddy’s mind is often confused, but when we begin talking about the Lord – Wow! He is right on. Mom is our Caregiver, with family members coming by daily – especially Mom’s best friend, my younger sister. I realize how very fortunate I am. Thank you for this post.

    • Susan

      I agree with Anita–Vohnda, thanks for sharing a bit of your story. You are one who knows what it is to live a selfless life of service. God has a reason for it, and assuming that you have a relationship with Him through the cleansing made available through faith in Jesus, your sufferings are only temporary in light of eternity, which you probably keep in your sites more than most do! You should not feel guilty at all. You have served your son in love further than most parents would, and it’s not like you have abandoned him. At some point we have to be realistic about what we ourselves can endure. I hope that you will be able to minister to other parents who care for disabled children. There’s nothing like knowing someone who’s been there–IS there. We went through rough times with my lifetime church we finally left three years ago, so I know how disheartening and disillusioning that can be. But I hope that you will reengage with a church body. Perhaps you could contact John MacArthur’s site and ask for a church recommendation–or Dallas Seminary. You have SO much to offer. People like you have a depth that is invaluable to others. I understand how you would experience a since of loss and guilt as you have stepped back from years of such intense care for your son. I think that you are experiencing a time of transition and that God has plans for you to be used in a special way in the church now. Pray about that.

      I too have a disabled child. She was born with Cerebral Palsy, which I’m guessing is your son’s diagnosis as well. She is specifically diagnosed–“spastic diplegia”. Your situation with your son is much, much harder I’m sure. My daughter was diagnosed at age two when she wasn’t yet walking. She has ambulated with forearm crutches since age two. Cognitively she is fine, for which I thank God. She’s finishing up a degree in photography. I still cringe for her at times, like when I dropped her of at the university yesterday and she had a 25 lb + backpack on her back. She falls quite often, and hard (broke two bones in her ankle this year and had major surgery), but she’s determined to stay on crutches.

      She is living with my mother now since my dad died. When she moved out it felt like one more loss for me in a hard year of losses, but she’s only a few blocks away. I realized once she moved out how much easier my life became. My mother is a saint for all that she does for her! I still have her two younger brothers at home, but I know how it feels to be so devoted in one direction that when things let up you start asking, “What now?”.

      You’ve been through the roughest of testing grounds which have proven your faith true. I hope that you will become a blessing to some church as you reengage and become a vital part of the body. I will pray for you.

      It would be good for you and your husband to see a Christian counselor if you aren’t already. You need someone to help you through this transition. My husband and I have been helped tremendously by counseling, for the first time in our lives.

      Blessings! And, Happy Thanksgiving!

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