A Change of Direction

By on April 16, 2013

Where were you when your new purpose hit you?

“Hit”? Well, yes. At first that’s how I felt when I found mine. Let me explain.

One day I woke up and realized I was selling software. If you knew me, you’d realize how far afield I had drifted to end up in software sales. Nothing wrong with the job, of course, but God’s known me like, forever, so I’m sure He smiled the day I applied for it and then laughed out loud when I was hired.

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Though I disliked the work, I stayed long enough to learn lessons I could carry forward. And then the Lord delivered me. With a pink slip. To celebrate my escape, I decided to take a trip before I looked for another job. My husband couldn’t come, so my parents joined me on a visit to my son in Colorado.

My new purpose began taking shape in the middle of that September trip from Texas to Colorado. As we drove west, Mom’s behavior became more and more bizarre. I lived only twenty minutes from my parents and saw them every weekend, but I’d never seen Mom so agitated. The first night she wanted to take everything out of the car to keep it safe in the motel room. Not just luggage, but battery cables, floor mats, everything. The next morning, she couldn’t remember where we were. Couldn’t find the bathroom. Couldn’t decide what to wear.

I wanted to believe Dad when he said she was just tired, but I knew I was seeing more than fatigue. Our arrival at my son’s apartment confirmed my fears. Mom was determined to leave. Alone. Barefoot. As I stood between her and the door, she stared at me with wild eyes and shouted, “I will go! I will go!” She kicked my shins and beat on my chest, fighting to reach the door knob. She had me trapped until Dad rescued me.

Although I didn’t realize it until weeks later, I had joined my parents on a journey they’d begun about five years earlier: the journey through the wilderness of Alzheimer’s disease. Because he kept Mom’s odd behavior secret for as long as possible, Dad traveled alone those first five years. We traveled together for the last five.

Well, somewhat together. We moved in the same direction and with the same intention: to protect Mom and help her enjoy life. But when it came to methods, our paths parted. My plan was to bring in a professional, part-time at least, to guide us into caregiving. Dad’s itinerary called for a private trip: no assistance from strangers, few stops to ask for directions.

In the beginning it was like I’d been sucked into a black hole, with Mom far ahead of me, plunging into the bottomless void. I imagined Dad falling beside her, close enough to touch her hand but not able to grasp it. I saw myself following them down, fast and straight, unable to help but unwilling to let them fall alone.

In real life, though, miracles broke our fall. Miracles put earth back under our feet and turned the chaos of Alzheimer’s into a path we could walk, stumbling, but together. Around us the land was a dark unknown, but it was not a void. And it was not black. Miracles lit our path through the wilderness of Alzheimer’s.

In the beginning, I thought my new purpose was to care for my parents. But of course the Lord’s plans were bigger than I could envision. My whole life changed the day I got that pink slip. Today it’s more productive, spacious, joyful. It’s all about miracles.

Caring for Mom, then Dad, I saw miracles every day. Part of my purpose now is to share them with others. Whether you’re a caregiver or not, meet me here and I’ll show you how to see the miracles the Lord sends you every day.

“May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble… May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose (Ps. 20:1,4 NKJV).”

Thank you for being part of my purpose now and for letting me be part of yours.


Originally posted on My Purpose Now.

About My Purpose Now

Deb is ‘wife’ to her high school sweetheart, mom to three incredible sons and Gigi to two perfect grandboys. She is a former Californian who now lives in the Dallas area. She is excited about the next stage of life and what God has for her now. An author, speaker, and executive coach, Deb travels extensively and is always seeking a quiet place to write. Read Deb at: http://mypurposenow.org

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A Change of Direction