Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Work From Home and Our Aging Parents

I have just returned from spending 10 days with my mother in her home nearly 450 miles from ours while she recovered from an out-patient cancer surgery. My grown, stay-at-home daughter, Lydia, went with me. Les and our son, Andrew, stayed behind because of work.

My mother and step-father
Connie & Lorin Litwiller

It occurred to me that things would have gone down very differently if I and Lydia were employed when this need arose. We would have either had to ask for time off, let my mother flounder with no help at all, hire help (which she would never agree to!), depend on others to fill in the gap who are not really able to do so, or quit our jobs in order to help her.

Not everyone has a stay-at-home daughter as we do, but since the Lord has provided her we see His blessing on her help to us, to her grandparents, and to others. At first, we thought she would stay behind to care for Dad and little brother. But, since the trip was so long, and I didn't relish traveling so far alone, we decided to let her go with me. I can't count the times Mother and I were so glad Lydia was with us. She was not only a help to Grandma, but to me as well. I am so thankful she is not bound by employment. I know she will one day marry and not be available for this type of ministry, but while she is available, we rejoice in her willingness to be of service to her family.

If you have aging parents, have you thought about how you will make yourself available to them? It is a biblical mandate to honor our parents. According to I Timothy 5:4, we are to requite or "pay back" what they have done for us. How can we fulfill this obligation if we are bound by a job which takes us away from home? I understand that some at-home work can be just as binding, but the ideal is to work out the family finances so the wife's work is not depended upon.

I have never said a woman should not work at all. There is plenty to do in the average home which is profitable, though unpaid, work. But being home full time also affords plenty of time, especially in our season of life with no little ones, to do paid work from home. Using our computers and Internet, we are able to sell our digital and hand-crafted items right from our home library. Then, when there is a family emergency, we are free to pack up and take our work with us or put it all on hold for awhile as we minister to the needs of our loved ones.

Let us consider how we women may be in the best position to minister to the ones God has put within our care. As we have found, work from home may be the answer for your family as well.