16 Sep Women of Influence | Beyond the Call of Duty
Last year was a watershed year in our lives. Both of my husband’s parents had major medical crises and almost died within a month of each other. Since then, we have been with them through major surgeries, recovery, rehab, nursing facilities, many moves of them and their stuff, and cleaning out and selling one house hours away while buying another house in the Upstate.
In the middle of this 17-month process, God brought into our lives a woman named Jackie. Jackie is a certified nursing assistant who makes her living caring for the elderly. Jackie is also an amazing woman of God.
As I watched and interacted with Jackie during the beginning of her employment with Bill’s parents, it was from the standpoint of seeing what she could do for my in-laws that I would no longer have to do. I found the daily care burdensome, and frankly I didn’t want to have to be responsible for any part of it.
Jackie has never been to Grace Church and probably has never heard of the word ezer, much less has any idea what it means. But the thing that became abundantly clear to me over the last several months was that regardless of her lack of knowledge, Jackie embodies the ezer qualities because of who she is in God.
“Watching Jackie nurture my in-laws pointed out to me my own sin of being self-protecting. I couldn’t deal with the fact that I was needed.”
Jackie has an inviting spirit to all of us—children and spouses—whenever we are in the home. Family dynamics can be challenging at any time but especially when family members are sick. Stress is at an all-time high. She is never judgmental when she witnesses conflict among us and is always patient with our requests.
Watching Jackie nurture my in-laws—giving them life, dignity, and respect in the mundane things at the end of their lives—pointed out to me my own sin of being self-protecting. I couldn’t deal with the fact that I was needed by them and found it smothering.
The odd thing is Jackie is the one with my in-laws day in and day out, and she probably needs encouragement. Yet she is the strong one who partners with the children and encourages us whenever times get hard. She knows when to speak and when to keep silent as decisions are made concerning their care. She has a heart of humble servanthood that is plain to see. She goes above and beyond the call of duty to our family in partnering with us as we manage their final days.
I am thankful to the Lord and to Jackie for showing me what a true ezer looks like in a difficult situation. When I find myself wanting to pull back and protect instead of wading into the fray, I have to stop and think of what it would look like for me to mirror God’s image instead of my own. At the end of the day, God was the one who allowed this trial in our lives and He is the one calling me to be an ezer, not only to my in-laws but to Jackie as well.
Do you find it easy to be an ezer in some situations and difficult in others? Who has shown you what it looks like to embody the life-giving capacities of inviting, nurturing, and partnering?
– Beverly Kinard, Pelham