I Am Powerless: Step 1 Reflections

Mom and Dad holding handsMy parents have just moved into a skilled nursing facility for long-term care near my brother’s home, in a city far from where I live. As I have been visiting with them I have found myself reflecting on what it means to be powerless. I have previously had the opportunity to experience and embrace powerlessness in other aspects of my life, both large and small, but this has presented a new, and in some ways deeper and more difficult experience with powerlessness.

My mother just turned 88 and she suffers from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. She was falling frequently while in their senior independent living apartment. She is doing better with her walker now that she is here, and hopefully she will not fall anymore.  I praise God that she didn’t break anything.  She is physically quite healthy, but gets confused sometimes, and struggles for words frequently. When she realizes that she has been confused she berates herself and feels guilty. It is very hard to see her suffer emotionally like this, and at times there is nothing I can do to comfort or console her.

My father is 92 and in perfect mental health, but his body is giving out on him.  For a man who has lived his whole life with complete self-sufficiency, this is very challenging. He had been the primary caregiver to my mother until his body started giving out on him.  It is very difficult for him to see her so confused. He feels badly for me and my brother that we have to see them both like this.

Neither of my parents have any belief in God or in an afterlife. It is hard to comfort someone who has no belief beyond this life and this world.  I have been a member of the Church for many years and all of my words of comfort and my sources of peace are related to my faith.  I know that the Lord is the source of any and all power that I have in my life, and that he has control over all things – including my parents, their health, and their future.  They have lived a good life of laughter and service and accomplishment. He loves them. But they don’t know it, refuse to believe it and don’t want to hear about it.

So, I am powerless. I am powerless to share my hope of the resurrection and eternal life. I am powerless to ease their pain or restore their health.

On the other hand, there are some things over which I do have power. I can turn them over to the Lord and his tender mercy and care.  I can serve them to the best of my ability without doing for them what they can do for themselves.  I can talk to them, ask them questions, smooth the path before them, and advocate for them. Most importantly, I can love them.

  • What situation in your life are you powerless over?
  • What do you have power over in this situation?
  • What are you willing to do?
  • When will you do it?




6 thoughts on “I Am Powerless: Step 1 Reflections

  1. Mira, you and your folks are in my prayers. I big hug for you! I really like your questions, very stirring for me to consider the answers:

    * What situation in your life are you powerless over?
    i have many situations i am powerless over but i can be grateful for what i have as i let go of things i cannot hold onto.
    * What do you have power over in this situation?
    the exercise of my free-will and the decision to “sup it up” by turning it over to God or to allow it to under-perform by my vastly unskilled hands.
    * What are you willing to do?
    pray and let go. pray for strength so when God makes His will known to me that i may act on it.
    When will you do it?
    it doesn’t matter when as the time is always now!

  2. As I read this I felt sad for your situation, joy in the happy surprise waiting your parents and YIKES!! My parents are on the verge of 91 and 93! Is this coming for me? Maybe the temporal part but I am blessed by their faith. Time will tell. Thanks for the heads up

  3. Powerlessness is key to so much happiness and peace in this life. I spent much of my younger years fighting the ever loosening grip of control I had over everything…relationships, money, food, health. It brings nothing but frustration, anxiety, pain and fear. I still struggle with this and find myself unwilling to submit to the Lord, trying to handle things (everything) myself, fix myself (and others) , save myself (and everyone else). It is so interesting to know the answer cognitively, yet lack the will to submit and do the work. So thankful for the understanding of one day at a time, one step at a time, start where you are and move forward. Today I will…

  4. Mira, how frustrating this must be. You have so much that could bring such great comfort to your parents. My father, a lifelong active member of the church, struggled a bit with these same issues before he died. I sometimes think about that first meeting on the other side, when eyes see beyond dogma, and divine arms are open and waiting.

  5. I can imagine the feelings of powerlessness in this situation, and for me it reminds me of the blessings of having a testimony of the Savior and our Father in Heaven. Knowing that they love each one of us and understand where we have been and what has happened to us in our lives has given me courage to move forward in my own life and to trust that they really do understand and know what is best. I have had to remind myself several times in different situations where I am powerless over someone else, that he loves them much more than I do. He really does care what happens to them and will help them where I can’t. My God box has saved me when I am frustrated and want to control the other person so bad and can’t. I am grateful myself for the freedom to chose. I am sure the other person is too. Thank you for your example and your words of wisdom.

  6. Your example reminds me of the situations I face with unbelieving children. For me, the powerlessness brings pain, but also increased faith and hope in Jesus Christ.

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