“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” — Matthew 11:28 (NIV)
June, my mother-in-law, was a fiercely independent, hard-working woman. She worked into her 80s, running a business her father started in the 1950s. Her whole life revolved around The Shop. Rest was not part of her life.
The struggle began in April 2019 with the diagnosis of lung cancer. My sister-in-law and I would go with June to each doctor’s appointment, not because she couldn’t drive herself but rather to support her.
June began undergoing treatments which weakened her body and stole her independence. As 2019 rolled into 2020, COVID-19 changed the way we cared for and supported her. No longer were we able to take her into the treatment center, and this change caused her enormous stress, as the overworked and understaffed nurses tried to help her walk in, dragging her oxygen tank behind her. We sat in the parking lot, my sister-in-law and I, and waited hours for June to complete her treatments once a week. She could see us out the third-floor window, which gave her a measure of comfort as she sat among strangers, weak and struggling for breath.
During the last months of her life, she needed 24-hour care. Due to COVID-19, her son and daughter did not want to put her in a facility that would have helped to care for her, because we would not have been allowed to see her. So they, along with a few family members, chose to take turns staying the night and during the day. Everyone was weary as we juggled work with caring for June.
Every evening, we would pause our busy schedule of work and caring for June to gather around her dining room table with her to eat. This became the highlight of her day. As we shared both our joys and our struggles, our relationships strengthened. June said our time gathered together was the one thing she would miss the most when she went home to Jesus.
June left us with a gift of pause. We, her caregivers, still gather every Wednesday night around her dining room table to pause from our busy life and find rest.
Lord, Help me to give You my burdens, and I ask that You help me receive the rest You offer. Amen
Pause from your busyness, give your burdens to the Lord, and He will give you rest.
Copyright © 2020 by Karen Castleberry
Karen Castleberry is a Missionary of Prayer. She lives with her husband, Gary, and 2 dogs, in a little cottage nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of North Georgia. Their son, Jeremiah, lives and works nearby. Karen loves reading, writing, photography, knitting, and all things creative. Her greatest joy in life is spending time with Jesus, her family and friends.