We named her Mikaela, meaning a gift from God. And that she is.
Not only because we finally had a little girl after three boys, but also the joy that she has been to us every single day of her life. She has always been mamma’s little helper, but she amped it up big time when I fell ill four years ago.
Mikaela was about to turn 15 when I was suddenly struck with chronic pain. It happened one Sunday afternoon, as I lay down to rest. A severe pain shot through my back. I couldn’t finish lying down, nor could I raise myself back up. The slightest move would cause contracting pains across my lower back. I spent a month flat on my back.
From the start, Mikaela began to help out. She made and brought me protein shakes for my meals that first month since I was unable to rise up off of the bed. But even as I began to improve with medical help, she continued to serve the entire family. She took on preparing all the meals, doing the grocery shopping, doing the laundry, and virtually running the household.
This was, as you can imagine, a great help to not only me, but to my husband as well. Being a pastor, Michael had to continue serving the church along with caring for me… visiting the sick, dealing with church business, and preparing sermons and planning for three services a week. I had served as church secretary up to this point, so he took on a lot of my work as well. Without Mikaela’s assistance, he would not have been able to accomplish this for as long as he did.
My hat is off to all caregivers that are trying to care for a loved one and be the bread winner as well. I’m not really sure how anyone does it. We could not have done it without the love and support of friends and the understanding of the church board when I was first sick.
The most amazing thing about Mikaela is that she gave up her entire high school years to care for her momma (and really, her daddy too). While we did manage to get her to the DMV for her learner’s permit, it was 3 ½ years before we got her back there to actually take the road test. She had plenty of practice though. She became my chauffeur as I improved and needed someone to drive me to therapy at the YMCA and run errands. She became an excellent help in assisting me in and out of vehicles, up and down steps, or just extra support when walking distances. And she did all this without prompting or without complaining. She is always thinking of my care in every decision she made. Even for just a trip down stairs for a snack, she would pop her head into my room to see if I needed anything.
But the most amazing thing about this beautiful young lady is that she basically gave up her high school experience to serve her family. We were homeschoolers. In some ways, this was to our advantage because she didn’t have to leave home and go to school, but then she was at home and missing socializing that we would have had at the homeschool co-op. Mikaela was totally self-directed. She stayed right on top of her studies and finished remarkably well. And she did it all while cooking, cleaning, and planning for the family. This meant she spent most, if not all, of her time at home—caring for the family. There was precious little time out with friends, or going to games or movies, if not for her brothers who would take her out on the town.
All this and more is why I want to share this with you. There are not many teenage girls today that would do all this without grumbling or whining. Mikaela has been so gracious and uncomplaining. I really don’t know how we could have made it this far without her.
She is truly a “Gift from God.”
GGMandy is a farmer’s kid turned pastor’s wife. Growing up she swore to never marry a farmer nor a pastor; however, in God’s irony, she married Pastor Farmer! Along with her husband she has served in the Church of the Nazarene for the past 26 years. She served many years in children’s ministry and recently in women’s ministry, especially mentoring young adult women. Her husband has just recently taken an early retirement. The GG is her name stands for many things. As a farmer’s daughter, she is Gene’s Girl, as a pastor’s wife, she is a Gracious Guide, as a grandmother, she prays she is a Godly Grandmother.
GGMandy has been struggling with chronic pain for the past four years. She is an encourager who now gives her time to encouraging others on two blogs, Leaving a Legacy and Raised in a Barn. Her daughter, Mikaela is a recent high school graduate and a blossoming musician. She taught herself the guitar and led her youth group in worship for four years and is now trying her hand at music and Vlogging. You can get a taste of her style at KaeZanne, leave her a word of encouragement while you are there.
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