A few years ago, I had one word to sum up how I felt being Jaycee's caregiver. That word was: WORK!
It was a hard time for me as I struggled to find balance between everything I had to do to care for Jaycee. Just going out in public with her took so much concentration and thought. One second of letting go of her hand to pull the car keys out of my pocket would result in her running off.
Then there was the bed wetting due to her sleep apnea. She went through a long span where her night diaper wasn't holding everything. She would wet the bed sheets nearly every night. I would walk in her room in the morning and be so upset if I had to wash her sheets, dry her mattress, and clean her up. I don't know why I had such a bad reaction- maybe because I'm not a morning person. It just started my day off wrong.
There were other challenges too like keeping up with her therapies and medicines but those were the two main issues.
I was struggling at this time. I felt overworked.
One Sunday, I went forward for prayer for Jaycee's running off. I asked for wisdom to know how to handle her and for her to understand the dangers I was trying to teach her. The guy prayed with me for awhile and then he asked if I dealt with fear and panic while taking Jaycee out. The answer was yes, especially when I was chasing her through a busy parking lot. Then he started praying for me and encouraging me to fight off those feelings.
The prayer was great. When I had time to think though, I told God: "I know that I shouldn't be fearful but this would be pretty simple if Jaycee would just listen to me and not run off!!!" In other words, if Jaycee could just change in some areas, I wouldn't be as stressed and tired and fearful.
But, it seemed that God would only address me and my reactions instead of performing a "miracle" with Jaycee and the problem areas. I kept muddling through. Trying to unsuccessfully to maintain a good attitude.
Then one Sunday, there was another opportunity at church to learn and grow. I don't remember the message specifically but I do remember what God spoke to me during it. Basically, I realized that my problems weren't Jaycee's behaviors....My problems were ME!!
It was my attitude that stunk. It was my reactions to the situations that were awful. And I had never really thought about the bed wetting from Jaycee's perspective. I'm sure she didn't enjoy it either.
I started working on myself, my reactions, my emotions, and my thoughts. I tried to keep them in check. I stopped being "let down" that she still wasn't doing what I wanted her to be able to do. I just tried to accept things as they were for now and work on myself.
Over time (not instantly), my attitude changed. I didn't see my role as her mother as work. It changed. I started doing things out of love again and didn't feel so burnt out. And I was grateful for that.
Philippians 2:3-4 Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves, do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. NASB