Going Home

I’m posting two days early this week. We leave early tomorrow morning to take my dad home to Florida. It’s bittersweet as I’m happy his health has improved so much in the past year. We found causes for some of his longtime medical problems, many of which we’ve addressed. My sadness comes from feeling I’ve failed in my goal to honor and care for him. In my mind, his leaving early means I did not live up to the verse I’ve hidden in my heart since his arrival. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.” (1 Timothy 5:8, NKJV)

When my dad could no longer live independently, my siblings and I discussed numerous options. We determined that with his unsteadiness, needing help to perform almost any task, claustrophobia, and failing health, our ranch-style home in Texas was the best place. What I remember most about the drive back home was how my dad would ask repeatedly “Why are you bringing a dead man to Texas?”

Well, the trip home was a success; and with lots of help from doctors, nurses, and friends, Dad has made a remarkable recovery. He now wears oxygen whenever he does anything, like walking down the hall. Dad wears a CPAP at night, and he’s learned to watch for those triggers that can cause his panic attacks. He’s also come to accept and welcome the home nurses who come each week to check on him. Importantly, he’s accepted that maybe a little help is a good thing.

The “plan” was that Dad would stay with my wife and me until my oldest brother finished remodeling the family home in central Florida. It’s expected to happen sometime near the middle of 2019. God, in His infinite wisdom, has other plans. After three years, the VA healthcare system performed an MRI on my shoulders. They discovered I have a full tear of my left rotator cuff and a ninety percent tear in my right shoulder.

With the first surgery scheduled for the end of this month, my lengthy recovery will make doing chores around the ranch more difficult. It will make helping my dad to stand, shower, etc. next to impossible. While my brother’s home isn’t ready yet, my LBS (little big sister, what I call my older sister Sue, who is part Oompa Loompa) stepped up. She’s agreed to move down to Florida for a few months. Sue will stay with and help dad until work is complete and our brother moves to his retirement home.

I know this is the right decision. We all understand how much dad wants to go back to Florida. Other siblings live there, and so does his beloved, restored Model T Ford. I couldn’t help feeling I was abandoning my dad and not fulfilling my commitment to honor and care for him. I wasn’t “completing the mission”, which is something from the Ranger Creed I’ve held dear for many years now.

In praying through these feelings, the words of Jeremiah 29:11 and Isaiah 55:8-9 came to mind. God reminded me that while I may not understand His plan, my faith requires me to accept them—believing God has something better in store for me. Yes. Getting my shoulders fixed and hopefully getting my lingering cardiac issue resolved, is good. I am convinced God has greater plans for me and Dad.

How open are you to accepting God's plans for your life when they seem contrary to your plans? Share on X

As Christians, we must remind ourselves we are subject to God’s rule and His plans for our lives, and not our own. In submitting ourselves to Him, life becomes so much easier to accept. I pray you also learn this important lesson in faith.

God’s blessings…

15 thoughts on “Going Home”

  1. God’s ways are higher than our ways (Is. 55:8-9).
    Sounds like you have honored your dad well. Bet he’s excited about going back to Florida.
    Take good care of yourself too. I expect he wants that as well. After you’ve recovered and he’s settled in, you’ll probably have some grand times together. Have a safe and joy-filled trip.

  2. Jim, my prayers are with you and Diane and your dad as you once again transition. Although you feel like you weren’t able to complete your plan, as you referenced — Jer. 29:11. What a blessing you have been to your dad to help him be able to move back to FL is much better condition than he left! And now…get those shoulders taken care of…it’s time to take care of you. Many prayers, my friend!

    1. Coming from you, this means more than you will perhaps ever know my friend. I pray I was as faithful for my dad as you were for your dear Mom. Appreciate your and Mr. Russ’ prayers ma’am. God’s blessings.

  3. Mr. Jim…God bless your journey…we are praying here for you at MPI…you are part of our professional, personal and faith family…
    Remember the poem Footprints – when it seems like you may be alone – He is carrying you!

    1. Thank you so very much Ms. Nicole. What a wonderful blessing it is to be even a remote part of the MPI family. My family and I cherish your family’s friendship and fellowship. Adding your prayers to others within my “Family of Faith.” God’s blessings young lady.

  4. J.D.,
    Thanks for sharing your heart. I’m praying for God to pour His peace over you as your dad transitions back to Florida. I’m also praying for the complete restoration of your health!

  5. Jim, I struggled with feeling like yours wondering if I was meeting my mom’s needs when she was ill. It sounds like you’ve done an amazing job for the time period he was with you. I pray for healing for your shoulders and heart. Maybe then you can visit with your dad in Florida when you’re better. Thank you for an honest, heart-warming post.

    1. Appreciate that Ms. Jeannie. It’s been a struggle, for both me and my dad as we learned to live together after nearly forty years. I thank God for every moment with him though; I’ve learned and grown so much in the past eight months. What an amazing journey. God’s blessings ma’am.

  6. Let me focus on the hard part first–your question about how easy is it to accept God’s plan if it’s contrary to my view. Well–I confess that this country girl is about as stubborn as they come, so the short answer is–it’s REALLY hard for me to accept anybody’s plan but my own. Now that I’ve gotten that admission out of the way, I’ll clarify and say that I’m getting MUCH better in taming my stubbornness when I recognize that I’m out of God’s will. Praying for you during this transition time with your Dad and for your upcoming surgery. So thankful that our God is a loving God and is with us during these trials.

    1. Am so glad to know I am not alone in the struggles of life Ms. Katherine. Am more than a little bit “mule-y” at times myself. I keep trying to convince Diane I’m tenacious and not stubborn; just not sure she accepts that any longer. The good news my friend; surrendering to God’s will gets easier with each time we do it. Thank you for your prayers; and know that I am sending mine your way also ma’am.

  7. Pingback: His Final First Step - J.D. Wininger, Christian Author

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