When Honoring Your Parents Is Really Hard

Mom arrived at a life-changing decision for herself before I did, and catching up to her was not easy. Mom decided it was time to move out of her house, a house full of memories, the last house dad lived in, and move into a retirement center. I was not ready for that move.

Granted, it was a long, cold, lonely, winter in northern Ohio, and for most of it, she was stranded in her house. She couldn’t drive for weeks in the fall because of a broken ankle, after that, her vision was starting to play tricks on her so she didn’t feel comfortable driving, and then she contracted pneumonia.

Mom decided it was time to move. I took her to visit the community she was looking at and it was lovely, friendly, affordable, and right smack in the epicenter of her world. You’d think it would be easy to move her to the perfect place for her.

But it wasn’t. It was hard. Very hard. It was hard because I wasn’t ready for this chapter to begin.

You know how it is, when you’re reading a really good book, one with plot twists and turns, one where the characters work their way into your heart, and then you notice there aren’t a lot of pages left. And, before you turn to the last chapter, you just want to put the book down and not finish it.

That’s how I’ve been since March. I didn’t want mom to move because it meant I had to face the fact that the pages are getting fewer, and I don’t want them to.

But God says, “Honor your father and mother”.

We always have a choice…

My choice is obedience: I had to honor my mother’s wishes and I had to do it in a way that would make the transition as easy as possible for her, no matter how difficult it was for me.

And then—of all the weeks we decided would be best for her actual physical move—we chose the week which was the anniversary of dad’s passing into glory. Helping mom move would also honor dad. He was always concerned about where mom would live once he was gone. This is a sweet place. He would approve.

Truth be told, I wanted mom to come live with me. But I live in Texas, and it would be far from everything she is familiar with: Her church, her friends, her shopping, her climate. She pats my hand, shakes her head, and laughs every time I bring it up.

So, I spent an entire week with a lump in my throat the size of a baseball (no, a lump in your throat won’t choke you to death, as much as it seems like it will) and tried to put a smile on my face. Together, we walked through every inch of her 1,800 square feet of house to decide which treasures and necessities she wanted to take with her. We walked through eighty-three years of life and memories.

Together, we walked through every inch of her 1,800 square feet of house to decide which treasures and necessities she wanted to take with her. We walked through eighty-three years of life and memories.

How do we get through those moments of life when honoring your mother and father is the most difficult thing you have to do?

  • You trust God. The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one. Psalm 28:8 NIV
  • You rely on His promises. For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so, through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 1:20 NIV
  • You lean on His arms. There is no one like the God of Israel. He rides across the heavens to help you, across the skies in majestic splendor. The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. Deuteronomy 33:26-27 NLT
  • You cry quietly at night. You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 58:6 NLT
  • You claim the truth, that though the days are fleeting, life never ends. Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.” John 11:25, NLT

When life is difficult, we have two paths, follow the words and commands of God, or choose a path of disobedience. What hard thing is God asking you to do? Which path will you follow?

and to those who helped us…

To the bank teller, who had no idea what he was getting into when he called us up to change the contact info: thank you for your gentleness toward us. We didn’t expect to have the conversation we had while waiting for you, and we surely didn’t plan on our tears. I hope you called both your mom and your grandma that evening.

To the superintendent of mom’s new place: thank you for accommodating us as we kept changing our minds regarding where to hang the TV.

To the cable girl: thank you for indulging our lack of technology expertise and fixing things quickly.

To my friend Lou, thank you for driving all the way over to help me hang clothes in mom’s closet. Your listening ear was a balm for my soul.

To my sister, Betty, I could not leave mom so far away if I didn’t know you were there to take care of her.

To my sweet husband, who bears with me daily, thank you for listening, letting me cry, helping carry box after box after box, packing and unpacking, and hanging all the pictures. I couldn’t do this without you.

Here are some pics of mom’s new place:

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Marcia’s book, 365 Days of Grace — is currently available on any of the following links:
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9 thoughts on “When Honoring Your Parents Is Really Hard

  1. J.D. Wininger

    Loved this ma’am. Thanks for sharing your heart with us. Having had the honor of being a caregiver for my aging father, I can attest to the incredible amount of love and patience needed them honor in this way. I can also tell you there is no greater joy here on earth beyond showing the very depth of our love to a loved one. Our family, friends, church, and prayer partners can and will see us through the journey. Well said ma’am.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, this post broke my heart. I don’t think I’ve fully healed from losing the old farmhouse where my Nana lived, and that was over 20 years ago. I’m sorry you had to experience this, and I pray God blesses you for how you honored your mom. You’ve offered some great reminders on how to put others before ourselves and lean on God when it hurts. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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