A Blessing in Difficult Times
By Jim Cram
Some of you may know that in May of last year, my brother George died. This has certainly led to a mass of changes in my family and particularly in me. You see, George was the only one of my siblings living near my mother, who is not in very good health. George helped her with whatever needs she could not do independently. As a result, my mother has moved to Kelso and I have taken the primary responsibility to make sure her needs are met. In addition to this, my relationship with one of my sisters was severed, and the relationship with the other sister was strained. Denise’s father’s Alzheimers has gotten worse, and he is now using a walker, and I have found that I need to give them more of my time as well. Time. Stress. Responsibilities. In order to alleviate some of this, I stepped down from being an elder and have cut back on my responsibilities at church. At times, I feel left out from those meetings I used to attend – kind of like an outsider. Yet, I know that this is what I had to do. So, did God lead me to this place of life? I know He did. So, why has church responsibility taken such a back seat for right now? I ask that quite a bit, yet I know He is with us in wherever He leads us. And we can always find Him, especially in the small things.
God has shown his faithfulness to me in many ways. Shortly after my brother died, my youngest sister, Twylla, and I both realized that we needed each other, and God has opened the doors for us to have a great relationship with each other, and to even enjoy one another regularly. While my mother went through 2 hospital stays and 2 moves, my sister, Doris, came by the house to visit, somewhat cautiously. She stayed for 5 hours, and before long our differences had dissolved, and we see each other often now. God made you and me to have relationship, with Him, with family, and with neighbors. And He is the healer of relationships.
My mother realized that she needed to be near her children, so she decided to move to Longview. She had applied to get into senior housing in Kelso, but we were told that the waiting list was long, and that her income was too high to get onto a reasonable accommodation list. So she moved into another apartment which cost more but was very nice, and she felt she could afford the rent. It was not long until she realized that her money was gone before the month was. Just at that time we got a letter from Cowlitz Villa senior housing that there was an opening, and because mom was now paying higher rent she now qualified for reasonable accommodation and had moved to the top of the list for a one bedroom apartment. God is good. While we thank Him for the apartment she lived in for those first few months, it is good to see her breathe a bit easier financially. I appreciate the generosity and kindness that Chuck Bond and his staff have shown to my mother. My mother found herself having to pay rent at 2 apartments for April, since her agreement said that she had to give 20 days notice, and she was unable to do this in order to not have to pay the April rent. However, within a week, Chuck’s staff called and reported that mom’s apartment had been rented and that not only did she not have to pay April’s rent, but that she would receive a partial refund for March as well! God is truly a generous God.
There are other things that we see in the blessings in our life. God’s provision of a new car for Buell and Lorraine. An special relationship with my brother and his wife as they ventured into the world of caring for her parents. Support from our life group, and the way that Nick has continued to make me feel a part of the church leadership. I don’t know how people can make it through stress and difficulties without a supportive church family and without knowing the grace of our God. As I look back, I can only say, “Thank you, God. Thank you for the blessings you give to us.”