In marriage, two become one flesh. My husband’s flesh is becoming weak due to Parkinsons disease, so I feel weak, too. As his primary caregiver, I wonder if I can handle what lies ahead.

I need to be reminded that God has given me strength and good health to be shared with my other half; to make up for what is lacking in his body.

“Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.” Col 1:24

There is a beautiful and challenging prayer that goes something like this:

Take my body Jesus
My eyes, my ears, my tongue.
Never let them Jesus
Help to do thee wrong.
Take my heart and fill it
Full of love for thee.
All I have, I give to you
Please give yourself to me.

As a morning offering and throughout the day, reflecting on this prayer gives perspective on what otherwise would be senseless pain. In a mystical way, it unites our bodies with the wounded body of Christ, with suffering that has meaning and is redemptive.

My body is not my own. It is a gift from God. Through the sacrament of marriage, we have mutually given and received one another. As I minister to my husband in chronic illness, Jesus ministers with, through and to me.

I am not alone.

Take my eyes, Lord:
To be alert to his needs.
To read to or for him.
To notice changes in his condition.
To look ahead for obstacles and dangers.
To cry with him.
To give him my full attention without distraction.
To see in him what You see.

Take my ears, Lord:
To listen more carefully to interpret garbled speech.
To hear the high-pitched alarms that he can no longer hear.
To hear others’ questions to either repeat them or answer on his behalf.
To follow his doctors’ instructions.
To hear his calls for help.

Take my tongue (and mouth), Lord:
To speak louder and slower.
To speak for him when others don’t understand.
To explain and repeat as many times as he asks.
To be silent when what I have to say is sarcastic or unkind.
To pray with and for him, and for myself as caregiver.
To kiss him.
To sing to him.
To laugh with him.
To encourage, not to nag.
To suggest, not command.
To seek help from others and say thanks for help that is given.

Take my heart, Lord:
To be more compassionate.
To be more patient.
To console.
To be humble and accept help when offered.
To encourage him in all he is able to do without becoming an enabler.
To be open to the instructions of the Holy Spirit.
To hold onto hope, even in the darkest times.
To know You are near, even when I cannot sense Your presence.
To soften my hard heart and make it like Yours.

Being caregiver to a person with Parkinsons is a long and bumpy road. I give thanks to God that I am wonderfully made, head to toe. He has prepared all of me for the difficult tasks ahead, giving me strong arms and legs and a rational mind (most of the time). I trust that He will supply all that I need when I need it.

I must resist the lie that it all depends upon me.

I can’t do it.
I can’t do it alone.
I can’t do it without the help of others.
I can’t do it if I don’t care for myself.
Jesus, please do it through me.

Take my body, Jesus.

#morning offering, #marriage, #prayer,#Parkinsons