A Love that Lets Go

I’ve spent a lot of time recently in my own head. Today marks the three month mark since my mom’s stroke, and there have been a lot of ups and a lot of downs.

And I’m learning a lot.

And honestly, I’m learning a lot about God’s love for us.

We’ve reached the stage in my mom’s recovery where…there’s a frustration within her about how things aren’t back to normal. And a gripping desperation for autonomy.

And I’m going to be really honest, being in my position, as her grown daughter, having come home to be her “sidekick” as I call it – there’s a really delicate balance of how much help is too much help. I want to assist her so that life runs smoothly, but I don’t want her to feel like a child or that I’m belitting her or discrediting her capabilities or contributions. And I’m finding that in this particular stage, it is exceptionally difficult to do. And so often I feel discouraged, as though I can’t do anything right

It’s a darned if you do, darned if you don’t sort of thing. Offer too much help, and I’m overstepping. Offer too little help, and things, well…breakdown.

But actually during this time, I feel like I’m learning a lot about how God loves us. [And let me interject here that I am in no way comparing myself to God.] But during this phase I am definitely learning a lot about how love can look.

Because honestly, right now, all I want to do is…well…everything for my mom. I want to wait on her hand and foot, and bring her this, and do that, and just give her the world.

But she doesn’t want that.

She wants to do things herself.

And so for me to love her, I have to let her do it…even if she messes up. Even if it takes her an extra hour to get through the steps. Even if she feels defeated or angry or like she’s incapable at any little thing.

I have to just let her fail.

Because that is what she wants. And I know deep down that it is probably good for her. And it is growing her.

How many times in my own life have I felt that I’ve just been on a one way trip to Screw-Up town? Like I’ve fallen on my face enough times to need a serious rhinoplasty and new front teeth? I mean, have you read my blog??…

Perhaps how I’m having to love my mom right now is a tiny reflection of how God loves me during those times? — Letting me struggle because I need to feel autonomous, even if it comes with a detrimental price tag?

This kind of love is not easy. It requires patience and a longing for the betterment of her, mores than a satisfaction of self. It requires me to put her needs and her good ahead of my own. Even dying to self a little bit. And that really makes me contemplate God’s love for me. For us.

All those times when I was struggling and feeling lost or frustrated in my own life, God was standing by, watching me endure it. Not because He is wicked or derives pleasure from others’ pain. He’s not some puppy-kicking monster. He was watching expectantly – patiently – lovingly, knowing the growth that will come from the struggle. Just like I’m having to learn how to do with my mom.

It’s like how a mama bird must feel when her baby jumps out of the nest for the first time. The fall and the failure is part of the learning process.

God will never let me peril. He’ll swoop in if absolutely necessary, but the struggle is what I ultimately need.

Just because we’re enduring a trial doesn’t negate His love. If anything it just shows that He’s letting us grow. Allowing us to use our autonomy to our own potential destruction — or potential flourishing.

But that’s what I’m working on. Letting go.

Letting go of the reins and letting her take them over.

I need to step back and realize that this necessary step is cause for celebration, because she can.

She’s improving. She’s blossoming and regaining all the skills and abilities the stroke had wiped out.

A love that lets go is a love that recognizes the other’s full potential. And that is the most difficult – and simultaneously most beautiful – love of all.

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319 responses to “A Love that Lets Go”

  1. You simply never run out of new ways to help those around you. You continue to touch me and I remain in awe of what you have survived, what it has cost you, and how – through it all – you not only didn’t blame God, but you ultimately recognized Him as the only true Source of love, strength, kindness, mercy, and forgiveness. The lessons you lay out so eloquently always reflect awareness of that and never fail to contain wisdom we can all use.

    I pray for your parents always, and especially your Mom during these difficult times.

    Hang in there, JD. You’re an amazing individual.

    • Thanks Tony. Gosh, that’s kind of you to say. I am so grateful for you, you know it? You were the first one to really read my blog, and I can’t tell you how much that meant to me. You were an encourager from day 1, and I am sincerely so grateful to call you a friend. Thank you for your prayers and friendship and just constant support and positivity. I’ll always be, JD 🙂 And YOU are an awesome individual 🙂 big big hugs xo

  2. I understand both sides. My son couldn’t wait to go on his own so he ran away. God taught me unconditional love. When my mom was put in Hospice at home, I sat down with her and said, I do not want to overstep my bounds so I will only interfer unless you ask me to help or I see they want to do something I know you object to. It helped me pray more for both. To be that intercessor.You will do just fine.

    • oh friend, that just breaks my heart. I am so sorry to hear that you went through that. Yeah, there really is comfort in prayer. And I’m so glad you know that too. Thank you for sharing your story with me. sending lots of love xox

  3. “I want to assist her so that life runs smoothly, but I don’t want her to feel like a child or that I’m belitting her or discrediting her capabilities or contributions.” That must be so frustrating, especially for her.

    I give you a whole big box of Kudos for all of the love and care you’ve given her. Especially during those times when it isn’t easy. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  4. Not letting go is not Love, What a course in Love you’re getting and at precisely the right time-I love using Papa as an example of how I should Love, He knows my heart and loves me anyway <3

    • Thank you so much. Yeah, I’m definitely getting schooled for sure! haha but seriously though. Thank you for the encouragement. Isn’t that a comforting thought 🙂 He loves us anyway. big hugs xo

  5. You are exactly right! Its VERY hard to let them fail, but overall it is so much better for them. And by them I mean everyone! Let them know you are there if they need you. But standing aside and letting them try, encouraging and maybe giving advice helps them so much more than just doing it for them.

    Wise beyond your years lady

    • You’re right, Tony. It is the best thing for them. That’s true – moral support goes a long way. Because no matter the outcome they will have learned and grown. Thanks so much for saying that. you’re too kind to me! 🙂 haha big hugs xo

  6. Thank you for sharing your walk of faith and caring for your Mom! When my Mom was alive and I cared for her, the most challenging …the “darned if you do and darned if you don’t situations. Many times, I left her house praying to God that I made the right decision. God would gently remind me that me being there in itself is the best and kindest decision I could make. Right or wrong, being there made it right. You are an inspiration to so many online and I know such a blessing for your Mom !

    • Oh Rick, thank you so much. You’re always so generous with your encouragement. Thank you. That’s such great perspective. Being there really is the best decision. I need to remember that the next time i get in my head about it all. sending big big hugs xox

  7. Beautiful post. Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is step back and let God and the person handle the problem.

  8. The best theology I’ve read all week! Very grown-up and mature (please please take that as a compliment). You’re feeling it, seeing it and telling everyone! You are a joy to behold Caralyn.

  9. Caralyn, you are an awesome daughter, and friend. After reading, and following, what you have been through, in the change from your younger years, to the woman you now are, I see how Jesus Christ has molded you into a disciple and imitator of Himself. Not that you have arrived yet, as I know you are first to say. Holy Spirit is working in you, guiding you to walk through the door He has opened for you, so the Servant’s Heart of Jesus can be seen. Jesus served many, including washing the feet of His Apostles. We know you have served your Mom in many ways, being an example of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for your example. Thank you for your honesty, in that it is not always easy, but it is worth doing.
    God Bless you Caralyn. Luv. 🌷🌷

    • Oh gosh George, thank you with all my heart. I do believe that Jesus has been carrying my family and I through this time. God is good. And I’m only doing what any daughter would do 🙂 thank you for your generous encouragement. I am so grateful to have you as a friend! Hugs and love xox

  10. Lovely blog today. It is difficult to love enough to let go. But you are correct, your mom needs you to let her do what she can. But I understand you wanting to do for her. Bless both of you! Just know that you never have to be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God. Trust.

    • Thanks so much friend. You’re right, letting go is a hard but necessary step. And wow what a powerful statement. He knows everything including His future plans. There’s such comfort in that 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  11. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RCZJIzNtc0

    Just take a listen to this song before reading the rest. For some reason, your words reminded me of this song. I’m able to find God speaking to me through the music I listen to most of the time, and so this song hit me after reading your words.

    Don’t know your mom, so I don’t know how right I’ll be here, but the way you talk about her, it seems like you really do hold her in the same high regard that you do for your father. And like you, I’m sure your mother will use her recovery from the stroke to glorify God, in the same way you use your recovery from anorexia to glorify Him. It sounds like your mother is a tough one, since it sounds like she is really fighting to get back to 100%. And all that matters is that when she asks for help, that you’re there to provide it. She and you are both leaning heavily on God to bring her back, and once she reaches that point, she may be even better than ever before, and God will teach even more through her because of this. So just offer your help as needed, and watch what God is teaching her, because while the stroke can cause you both pain, God can bring the ultimate good out of that pain.


    • Wow Tom. Thank. You. This seriously moves in my heart so much. Because the one thing my mom and I keep talking about is that maybe she’ll be “better” than she was before. Thats her goal. It was like you were a fly on the way during our conversations because this was exactly it! Yes! I felt believe that God is going to use her story. She’s already had some interesting opportunities present themselves and who knows what God has in store! Your words are so encouraging. Thank you. I’m going to share this and the song with her when I get home! Big big hugs xox

      • Please do share it 🙂 the human body, and spirit, is an amazing thing. If it gets broken down, it gets built back up stronger than before. If you need an extremely strong example of someone being struck down repeatedly, look to the apostle Paul. He remained steadfast in his faith among spiritual and physical persecution, and his faith got stronger. Help your mother train her body and spirit in this trial to become even stronger than she was before the stroke! 🙂

      • That’s so true. I love how God gave us so many examples in the bible to look to for hope and inspiration. Thats’s a really interesting way to put it – training her spirit. that’s exactly what it is! training her spirit! wow, that was so awesome to read. I’m going to share THAT with her too!! 🙂 haha hugs xo

  12. Sometimes I wonder if God watches me with an eternal facepalm. XD I love the message behind this post. When I volunteered for a hospice, I learned a lot about the stress that caregivers face when taking care of their loved ones. It’s a constant balance for sure. You’re amazing for doing what you’re doing. <3

  13. You continue to inspire us with the intimacy of your thoughts on some pretty tough experiences. Know that God will honor you as you honor your mother. Praying that He continues to give you strength, wisdom, and insight to know when to help and when not to. Blessings all ways.

  14. I love the way you write and your openness about your mom and how tough it can be to care for her. I took care of my mom for 10 years and she had multiple health issues from a colostomy bag to osteoporosis. The one thing that remained after she began to have health issues was her resilience and desire to contribute. Even though she could not contribute as she once did, it gave her dignity and self-respect to contribute in the ways she could at that point in time. It is so hard and often a no win situation and I shed many tears, pleaded with God for strength, and wondered if I could go on. I am so glad today that i was given the opportunity to love my mom unconditionally in the most vulnerable time of her life, despite the struggles. Keep up the good work and keep up the love. I hope you are caring for yourself too. Thank you again. God bless you.

  15. 🙂 look at the things we learn, when we least expect it, in the situations we least expect to learn them in. God is molding you into what He wants you to be and you are submitting to that. Seeing Him, around you, in all situations, helping you. This is what His true Love for you is all about. What a blessing 🙂

    • You’re so right – it is often in the most unexpected places that we learn the greatest lessons. That’s proven time and time again in my life. Thanks so much for your kind words. Hugs and love xox

  16. My wife’s mother had a stroke about 6 months ago and there are similarities as to what you both experience. It is odd to care for our parents as they cared for us as children, but such is the season for many of us today. I guess the two experiences are showing reviewing and giving God’s unconditional love.

  17. Dear Beauty,

    As I read this:

    Because honestly, right now, all I want to do is…well…everything for my mom. I want to wait on her hand and foot, and bring her this, and do that, and just give her the world.

    But she doesn’t want that.

    She wants to do things herself.

    And so for me to love her, I have to let her do it…even if she messes up. Even if it takes her an extra hour to get through the steps. Even if she feels defeated or angry or like she’s incapable at any little thing.

    I have to just let her fail.

    I was struck by two things:

    1) I wondered if your mom were reading this, would she remember you potty training or teaching you to ride a bicycle….??

    2) As I looked at the picture of yourself you posted with this vignette, I was struck by your physical beauty and your spiritual beauty. God has blessed you with so many gifts. You are beautiful, you can write extremely well, you have had parents who have never given up on you. You have been broken and brought this sacrifice to God and by His Grace you have experienced the presence of the risen Lord.

    I think you understand that there was a time when your mother “let go” and by doing so has been rewarded with an awesome, beautiful, wonderful daughter of God. A daughter who has stood by her as she stood by her daughter. This is an amazing example of love begetting love.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us.

    • Oh my gosh, thank you. I am so humbled and touched by your words. I definitely do not take the fact that I have loving parents for granted. I am so grateful for that because I know that not everyone is so lucky. And thank you for your kindness. You’re right, I have to let go just like my mother did 🙂 big hugs xox

  18. Do you remember when your mom and dad let you go to your own decisions? How did that independence feel to you? Did it strengthen the relationship or destroy it? You do not have to answer those questions to me just was curious if you thought about it.

    Wonderful post BBB.

  19. I call it unconditional love, not the grasping overpowering love where you do take over. Caring for a parent is tough as it means renegotiating the relationship. My Mum is frail from age and getting her to ‘allow’ me to do anything was tough as her need to be the ‘prefect’ mother was huge. Now she peels the veggies in her seat while I do the cooking, it’s all about compromise and allowing them stay involved without taking over, a fine balance. Good luck with it all, your strong faith will support.

    • Oh my gosh I’m getting such a beautiful picture of you and your mum in the kitchen. that is so touching. You’re right – it’s a fine balance, and I appreciate you sharing your great insight. It sounds like you’re a real blessing to your mother 🙂 thanks for your encouragement. big hugs xox

      • But she still has to cook her own meat, as a veggo most of my life I have absolutely no idea how to do that, lol. But she does enjoy my creative way with veggies.
        You will get there xoxo

  20. Glad to know you can see God’s hand working through this time! It’s one thing to see it now and praise him for his love and faithfulness, but another if someone was ungrateful through the tough times. You seem to be on the right path! Continue to trust in him! Thanks for the uplifting post!

    • Thanks Jonathan. Yeah, I can definitely feel God carrying us through this time. I am so grateful for His help and grace! Thanks for that encouragement. 🙂 I appreciate you stopping by! hope you have a great weekend! big hugs xo

  21. I find it comes in bits and pieces, but the reality is as we (the children) become adults and become more independent, our parents are on the other side of the spectrum. In tiny increments, our parents are sliding towards what we have worked so hard for independence.

    The last six months my Mom has been dealing with a lot of pain due to mercury poisoning, though it’s not an aging issue but because of the pain, it was hard that I literally could not do anything for her.

    I had a spiritual director who made the comment that the aging process is all about letting go, surrendering to the process. It often comes back to me when I feel overwhelmed with the reality that my Mom is getting older (she’s 70 and proud of it!).

    I try to step back and remind her to do what she can still do and stay true to herself and surrender to what she can’t. In this way, I am able to still, love and support her in her ability to remain independent in the other areas of her life. I encourage her to stay positive in what she can still do, and everything else hopefully will fall away. Stay strong in your prayer time because He will give you what you don’t think can do. Praying for you!

    • Mercury poisoning!! oh my gosh! I am so sorry to hear that, Tamara! I will definitely keep her and you and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Gosh, thank sounds so challenging. Yeah, being a source of positivity is so important. That’s what I’m trying to do too…whether it’s a silly dance or just being goofy, I’m really trying to lighten the mood. haha. Thanks again for your prayers. hang in there. hugs xo

    • Thank you friend. I’m sorry that you can so personally relate. hang in there. the process and journey of love has its peaks and valleys but always a foundation of goodness. Thanks for stopping by 🙂 big hugs xox

  22. You always write posts, that touch the depths of my wandering soul. You and your mother will be in my prayers, dear friend.

    My heartfelt love & vibes of happiness for you..

  23. God give your mother good health 🙂 And this is another beautifully inspiring story of how your mother overcame her weaknesses caused by that stroke. God did help her overcome this struggle and it makes us all grateful for how He’s watching over us 🙂

  24. “Just because we’re enduring a trial doesn’t negate His love. If anything it just shows that He’s letting us grow.” Well said Carolyn! Sounds very similar to a quote I heard once. That ‘I have learned to love the wave that slams me into the rock of ages.’ Through all pain, God remains 🙂

  25. Your thought process is amazing. I have never even realized this most amazing way of thinking. I am deeply touched. Thank you so much for initiating this shift in my mind. Lots of blessings to you and your family. Your Faith in the Almighty will definitely help you pass this phase quickly. I am sure very soon you will be sharing news of your mom’s good health 😊😊

  26. What you describe is a lot like being the parent of a child. It was always more work for me to let them do it themselves, but they had to learn, and so I had to let them learn. We all need to learn. Though, I also tended to rescue my kids, at times, because I didn’t want them to have to suffer, but they needed to learn through suffering, and I needed to let them learn. We all need to learn through suffering.

    Those were good parallels you made, too, with how God loves us, and is patient with us. I, too, am learning a lot about how to know what is helpful and what is not, and realizing that, although I like to help, that sometimes people need to do things for themselves, and being helpful, in my thinking, is really not helpful at all.

    Even at 67 years old I am still learning. 🙂 And, I am still growing. And, I still have a ways to go. But, we are learning and growing and not stagnating, so this is good. This is productive. And, we learn from one another. I learn from you. You encourage my heart. So, thank you for being honest. And, thank you for sharing your heart with us. Sue

  27. My mom suffered a stroke last year and I so get what you mean. I wanted to help my mom grocery shop ( she had minimal deficits, which mainly affected one arm) and she would not have it. The stroke has damaged her retinas so she is unable to drive on her own now which frustrates her. I have offered to drive her places, but she doesn’t want her daughter driving her around. So I just had to give up, sit back and allow her to come around. It’s hard to see our loved ones hurting. She doesn’t want my help, so I have to accept that, but still. I am her daughter and I want to help her more. Hugs to you both!

    • Oh April, I’m so sorry that you can so personally relate. I will definitely keep you and your mom and your family in my prayers. Oh yes, I ca definitely relate with the driving! Hang in there. You’re giving your mom an incredible gift by being by her side and just showing her that you love her 🙂 big hugs to you xox

  28. You are right, and there’s no fear of anyone mistaking your desire to learn God’s perspective as a desire to take God’s place; we are made in His image and as we learn, we learn to see through His eyes and listen through His ears. It’s such an incredible journey, and it feels to me as though you’re at a milestone right now. I don’t think your Mom is the only one who is growing right now. Thank you for sharing the wisdom that you’ve gained from experience, and never stop seeing the beautiful things that are hidden amongst pain and darkness.

    • That is such a beautiful thought – seeing through His eyes and listening through His ears. Wow, that just gave me so much hope. Thank you so much. You’re right, i do believe that God is teaching me a lot of things right now. Thanks for the beautiful encouragement. big hugs xo

  29. Dear Carolyn. Grace to you by the Lord. Our flesh May at times be weak. Your spirit is willing. Be not discouraged. Be encouraged. Your works for the Lord will at times be tested. But it only creates character. Ask the Lord for more patience more Love, more kindness. Go forth in love my friend.Remember, Wwjd? God’s blessings upon you. Pray for me and my trip home next week for Easter.

  30. I remember my grandmother and my mother. My grandma is already bedridden, and she’s 85 years old. My mother and her siblings share the duties of taking care of her. And it was noticeable how they argue most of the time over the distribution of duties and there are even times where my grandma overhear them arguing (in which I believe is not good for her health).
    That’s why my mother would often tell us that she doesn’t want the same thing to happen to her because she doesn’t want us siblings to argue over who’s gonna take care of her. She doesn’t want to reach the point wherein she’s bedridden and incapable of doing a lot of things.
    I believe there are much more anxieties on the part of the sick than those we are aware of, and that is more detrimental to them, that our hardships as children in taking care of them would not compare to their struggles.
    It’s nice that there are still children like you who care for their parents, because most children would just leave their parents behind in the care of caregivers and forget about them all over. I believe that the success of the parents is in the way their children look up to them and love them for everything they have done. I hope that with God’s help, your mom would finally recover and be self-capable. And I also hope that you continue to endure the hardships and may God guide you always.

    • thank you so much for this thoughtful note of encouragement I’m sorry that you can relate so personally. I will definitely keep you and your mom and grandmother in my prayers. That’s tough. I can definitely sympathize with your grandmother. Gosh that’s tough. I was on bed rest for a year due to my Ulcerative Colitis back in 2012, but my goodness, I can’t imagine having that be always on the horizon. It sounds like you are a blessing to her. I think you’re right – there’s a lot more anxiety and heartache in the sick than we realize. Thanks for your kind words. I do trust that God is going to bring her to a full recovery. She’s getting better every day. We are encouraged. Keeping you and yours in my prayers. big hugs xo

      • Hugs to you as well, and to your mother! I believe the very reason why she’s getting better everyday because she has a daughter who cares for her, someone who choose to take care of her personally rather than hire someone to do all the job. As your parent, I think she feels blessed that she have a daughter like you! Children that obey their parents are promised to have a long life (Ephesians 6:1-3). It’s the first commandment with promise from God.
        And someday, when you have children, I believe (and guarantee) that your children will give back to you the love you have given your parents. God bless you and your family

      • Oh gosh, thank you. She’s really working hard and putting in a lot of work. I so admire her courage. Thanks for saying that 🙂 big hugs xox

  31. You know, the reality of Father that Christianity has so… lost… since the early church, is that His one desire is for relationship with us. He predestined us for his love, he created us to join the dance of Father, Son and Spirit, and from eternity he destined Jesus, not to deal with our would-be legal problems, not to change Father’s attitude about us, but to…make the adoption complete in himself, reconciling us to God.
    I know, long preamble, and I’m biting my fingers not to make it longer because that’s a subject I could go for a LONG while on ;D
    But he destined us for his love, and I guess what sparked this thought train was when you said you weren’t comparing yourself to God–but here’s the thing, He compares you to himself in Jesus; that was kinda the whole point, to bring you into himself and bring himself into you and let’s not forget that all love is sourced in him anyway so that love that you’re experiencing? Yeah. God-like. And the fact that you’re pulling THAT out of your every day experience, that’s friggen awesome by the way – he’s unveiling himself more, and not that he hasn’t always been present but the deeper we come to know him the more we see the face of our Beloved smiling back (:
    Anyway, I’ll leave ya with that. Thanks, as always, for sharing your (and His) life with us – He is radiant in you my friend (:

    • Hey Carson, thanks so much for this. What a powerful thought. He really does want a relationship with us. I mean, look how He sent His son – it was so He could be with us forever. And wow, I am just blown away by your words. I could seriously just read your words all day! They are so empowering and comforting and positive and encouraging. THANK YOU! Hope you have a great friday! big hugs xox

    • Well said, Carson. And thank-you Caralyn for sharing your journey with us – it is such a powerful representation of the healing wisdom of the Holy Spirit. And your transparency – well I hope that you recognize one day how you have made Christ accessible to others suffering as you did. It’s not just those that read this blog: your courageous blog makes the shape of that burden clear to the Most High, and allows Him to address it at its spiritual root. The connection between that work and your service to others should also be a source of comfort and hope: there is not just recovery, but a special kind of strength at the end of that road!

  32. My dear friend

    Whatever God gives us – is surely a tool to bring us forward. You yourself had to learn to be a “teacher” to your mom to understand to be a pupil, to be a humble servant to your mom and to God while your mom takes the roll of managing herself, to learn and handle things even from the scratch. It is a wonderful experience and a great gift of God Who lets you learn by opposites (teacher and pupil) to understand and act in the right way – with a humble attitude – as service to man is service to God – as it awakes compassion and love of one’s own heart. This was a parable of God… a living symbolic language understood by your heart.

    Be warmly hugged in thankfulness

    • Thanks so much Didi. You’re so right about that – these are tools He is using to bring us forward. And I believe He will. I trust that He will bring us through this challenge and fully restore my mother. This season really is a blessing from God. I am learning a lot. Appreciate those warm hugs 🙂 sending one right back atcha! xox

  33. what a beautiful young woman you are. A devoted child to your parent. I have a 5 year old, and sometimes he will stroke my hair and say “daddy, I am taking care of you, coz we are family” One day I will tell him about you… your story is a story of family, through ups and downs .. 🙂

  34. This is my first day in your blog… I am glad we have many things in common not just the writing skills but ability to use our experience to help lives around us and beyond our reach.
    It’s very early morning here in Nigeria.
    God bless you richly.

  35. You’re a good daughter for her, so taking many other aspects in consideration than just put this here or give that to her. And trying to find a balance in, to help her feel better in more ways, also about herself. Exactly what a good person does. Wishing you both much better times and well!

  36. Reblogged this on Church Set Free and commented:
    Part of me is jealous of Caralyn. Because she nails with such simplicity and tenderness what I struggle to describe. Unconditional love. And God. A real living relationship with something beyond my words.

    Have a read and see what you think. And comments are open here. Because love is everwhere.

    Thank you.

  37. Having to switch roles with a parent is strange alone but being wise enough to have this insight is a beautiful thing. Separate from your message is just like to tell you what a wonderful daughter you have been and are to your mother. There are so many people who just walk away when things get hard, when loved ones get sick and can’t give anymore. You are a special person and I can only imagine your future will be filed with much happiness. The wisdom you gain from these type of experiences make you see the world differently, just like you’ve seen a different perspective on God’s love. Care taking can be so difficult and so rewarding in he same breath. I pray your sweet mother works and gets back to where she feels confident and strong with her abilities 🙂.

    • So very very true. Thank you so much for this thoughtful response. God is definitely carrying my family through all of this and teaching me so much along the way. Thank you for your prayers. It means the world. 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  38. “And so for me to love her, I have to let her do it…even if she messes up.”

    Great insights here, Caralyn. Yes, a love that lets go. That’s God’s love. Very risky and often misunderstood, but the purest form.

    What you’re learning here will serve you well in all your future relationships. Blessings to you.

    • Thanks Mel. I really appreciate that. You’re right, it is risky but necessary. Thanks for the encouragement. Yes I’m so grateful for the lessons God is teaching me through this. Hugs and love xox

    • As is how our parents love(d) us. 🙂 Roles begin to reverse a bit when we get older, and maybe they’ resent’ in a similar way we ‘resented’ as youngsters. Love it!

      • That’s really true – going through *all* the different phases, and the challenges and joys each brings. Hoping there’s not a rebellious one! haha hugs xox

  39. I was 7 years-old when my mother had her stroke. I remember how heartbreaking it was to watch her struggle to walk again. I set up a crepe paper finish line in the hall for her to triumphantly break through. Each day I moved it just a little farther. It was all I knew to help because like your Mom she didn’t want me doing things for her. But it taught me a lot about love & inner strength. Thank you so very much for sharing.

    • Oh Joan, I’m so sorry that you had to walk this journey at such a young age. What a touching story with the crepe paper — i can just see it now. thank you for sharing that with me. so glad you stopped by. (and thanks for sharing my article on your site!) big hugs xox

  40. I may be getting this wrong, but it looks to me like you really do need to let go, Caralyn. I’ve had to do it. I hate giving advice. I’d rather just be a spoof of all things serious, but here I think I’ll change if only just this once and get serious. You and I may believe in different Gods, Caralyn, because I can tell you for a fact mine does not believe in this “at a detrimental price” for love. Love always edifies. It NEVER tears down, not even the giver. Love is a fruit of the Spirit. Read Galations 5:21-22. The fruits of the Spirit never change, and they are one–one and the same. True love, that is. I had to let go from teaching my 9 to 13 year-olds in private school when my morals were challenged. And I let go, even though it killed me inside to do so. I let go. Those kids were my life. My everything. But I chose to be nothing over giving up my morals. You may think you are on moral high ground by deciding this way you talk in this point, but according to my God, you are not. Now, maybe you’d like to meet my God someday. But maybe not. Doesn’t really matter. And I don’t care, honestly. It wasn’t til Moses saw a burning bush that never consumed that he cared, either. But I guarantee you, you and I believe in different Gods, and I believe mine is stronger than yours. I’m no Jesus, but I do have a name written that no man knows. And, while some would miss clothing, or food or oxygen, or a car or a house, if they didn’t have it, I would miss the Word of God above all things. I was sent as a spoof of the Jesus of Nazareth to wipe tears with comedy. But my garments are stained with the blood of the wicked, but also the righteous because they continue to defy my law. I was sent to destroy their enemies, but they chose to judge me, to attack me. I attack them in turn. And I never quit. And I never give up. Judge not that ye be not judged, for with that same judgment ye judge y shall be judged. Mercy is only for the merciful. Blessed are the MERCIFUL, for they shall obtain mercy. Harlots before hypocrites into the kingdom of heaven. To preach one thing and live another is hypocrisy. Woe to the liar, for he (or she) shall be thrust down to hell. Woe to the blind who will not see. Woe to the deaf who will not hear. Woe to the scorner, for she shall be consumed. We all face the consequences of what we do, even if it’s just to write a blog post to make fun of another blogger. If your life were in order, you wouldn’t be suffering like this–but obviously it isn’t.

  41. I’m really able to relate to this post–a few months ago my mom suffered a brain aneurysm and needed emergency surgery. My wife and I were pregnant with our first child, and among so many other thoughts that occupied my mind while she was undergoing a complex angiogram, I wondered if my mom would ever get to hold her grandchild–my son. I had taken her presence as for granted to some degree, and then months later, when she had recovered and miraculously displayed no sign of neurological deficit, she came to Bryn Mawr Hospital and held our son on the day he was born. She smiled and said, “To think that I almost didn’t get to meet him.” Her words were already burnt in my mind, and little to my surprise, she had evidently given them great thought, too. Thank you for your authentic writing and honest display of vulnerability!

    • Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m so sorry that you can relate so personally. Gosh, I’m sending you such a big hug. That’s really tough. I can so relate with the feeling that I had taken her for granted. Wow God is so good and I am so glad that everything is okay now and you have a healthy baby boy! Wow. Thanks for sharing this. Hugs and love xox

    • It really is incredible. Sometimes life’s challenges are the greatest teachers. God is good. And He’ll turn the adversity into goodness. Thanks for the encouragement. Hugs and love xox

  42. Thank you for sharing this. My mom has been diagnosed with breast cancer back in October, and your post relates a lot with how I’ve been feelings about her situation as well. We (my wife and I) want to help her out, but we don’t want to overstep our boundaries. We’ve also been keeping each other at an arm’s length because I have to look after my wife who’s pregnant and my dad has to look after my mom. It’s easy for emotions to run high and for things to get complicated.

    • Hi friend, I’m sending you such a big hug right now. I’m so sorry that you can relate so personally. Gosh, I’m definitely going to keep your mom and you and your growing family in my prayers. Yeah, it’s a delicate balance and yes – emotions can definitely run high during these challenging seasons. At the end of the day, love and respect is the core of what everyone is searching for. 🙂 sending big hugs xox

  43. Definitely feel you! My dad had something similar happen to him almost 2 years ago now and it’s been so hard to adjust to the “new” him. This was beautiful and I love your perspective! Thank you for writing it!

    • Thanks Stephanie for sharing this. Gosh, I’m so sore that you can relate so personally. I’ll definitely keep your dad and you and your family in my prayers. Sending big hugs to you friend xox

  44. Hi Darlin,

    You know, I just love your blog. You hold such meaningful discussions. When I was young, my great-grandmother was diagnosed with heart failure amongst other things. She went from being able to do everything for herself to needing help. Most of the women in my family are like this. We like to do the caring and don’t like to be helped or cared for in that sense. I was just thinking how worthless it made her feel that she couldn’t stand alone or do anything on her own. Especially to see her children have to do it for her. Even as a child I wished that she didn’t see it as a weakness. We all need help sometimes. Especially when you’ve always been strong for everyone else.

    I have to reblog this.


    • Thank you so much Kyanna. I appreciate you sharing your story. Thats such a powerful perspective – its true, we all need help sometimes. Thanks for the beautiful wisdom. And for sharing my blog on your site! Hugs and love xox

  45. Yes, let go because sometimes mum’s don’t say anything even though they want to, so as not to offend you. Pray to the Lord to show you when to let go and allow her to do things for herself because autonomy is what she’s striving for. Your mum will feel good about herself slowly achieving things she was unable to do so before, through trial and error and that most often happens when noone’s looking over her. God bless.

    • Yes, God hears us and when we pray He listens. Thank you again so much for this beautiful encouragement 🙂 you’re right, celebrating those little victories is so important for morale and just to celebrate how hard she’s working. Because she is working her tail off! I so admire her courage! Thanks again! Hugs and love xox

  46. That was beautiful. I am sorry to learn that your mom has had to struggle so much (and you with helping her), but glad that you are both growing closer together and to God in the process.

    • Thanks so much Kerry. Yeah, it’s been a bit of a tough go, but she is so strong and I admire her courage and perseverance so much. thanks for your kind words. big hugs xox

  47. […] know what I want to say, I just know that there is a need to say something. Today, I read a post by Beautybeyondbones and what she had to say was meant for me. I cannot presume too even […]

  48. I get really excited to read your posts because i know that there is something that always speaks to me. The message that you had in this was everything that i needed to hear and it gave me courage to share more about myself on my recent post. i had to link your post in it because i would love it if everyone could get the same message. Thank you for sharing and i pray that God continues to strengthen you and make you happy always.

    • oh my gosh that’s so kind of your to say! thank you so much for the prayers!! I’m so glad this resonated with you tonight. and i really appreciate you sharing this on your site! hugs xo

  49. Beautifully written. I can relate. My mom also had a stroke and she hasn’t been the same since. I am learning to let things slide as she can be irritable and short with me.
    I’m sure God wants me to learn m

    • An I’m so sorry to hear that you can so personally relate. Gosh, hang in there. Keeping you and your mom and your family in my thoughts and prayers. Hugs and love xox

  50. Looove this!!! Your transparency, heart, and amazing love expressed in each word is so beautiful! “A love that lets go is a love that recognizes the other’s full potential. ” this is a quote I’ll keep with me as a gentle reminder that sometimes we have to let the ones we love go their own way… do things the way they see fit. I pray that your mom heals soon. I can’t even imagine what you’re going through!

    • Aw thanks so much!!! Gosh what kind words. You’re right- we’ve got to let them do their own things. Easier said than done but vitally important. Hugs and love xox

  51. I love this, “Just because we’re enduring a trial doesn’t negate His love. If anything it just shows that He’s letting us grow. Allowing us to use our autonomy to our own potential destruction — or potential flourishing.” – Thank you!

  52. Yes! Exactly what a parent goes thru. You never want to stop doing for them, but you have to in order for them to grow.
    You’re doing so good. Keep going. Don’t stop!

  53. I think this is the longest it’s taken me to respond to an article of yours, but certainly not deliberately! I had, what I can only think is food poisoning, in Chicago Wednesday night. The final “purge” was Thursday morning. I spent the rest of the day in bed at the hotel, drifting in and out. I was able to drive home safely yesterday, thank God! I’m still bit wobbly as my body tries to get back in balance, but I’m so much better than Thursday!

    I listened to your podcast as I drove when I got the email yesterday, and I heard so many good things! My response is over at Patreon. Of course!

  54. ‘Its hard to let go we have this in common lately . Needing to do this myself and it’s hard but sometimes when you love someone you.help them more by letting them lfail trying for themselves forl their dignity their independence which is where I am at with my kids if I do to much their not able to grow and learn about life so gi’ve yourself a break she Wil let u know when she needs you .ll

  55. The Gospels record three times that Peter felt a bit like this. First was when Jesus rebuked him for discounting the mission of Messiah. That must have stung! Second when he stepped out of the boat and onto the water – “Why did you doubt?” Ouch. Third – his denials of our Lord. And when it was all over there was John 21:15-17.
    Blessings to you and your mother during this difficult time. -Mark

  56. I wish you love, continued wisdom and strength. I can’t imagine how hard this must be, but also rewarding at times. Last year I was in the care of my husband while he was recovering from cancer and going thru treatment so while that is different I know, it is still hard when roles are changed in unexpected ways. xox, love and healing thoughts to you and you mom.

    • Thank you so much MJ. I’m sorry you can relate on such a personal level. I hope your husband is doing better. Gosh, that’s tough. I will definitely keep you and him on my thoughts and prayers. Big hugs to you xo

  57. What a great reflection and beautiful post! I know the position you are in is very hard. My siblings and my dad have been taking care of my mom with Alzheimer’s and the beginning sounds very much like your struggle. We would just want to help and she would be angry and frustrated that she needed the help. Now the disease is too developed and that causes a different set of problems. It’s weird to be a grown child and dressing your mom or wiping her after using the toilet. But I have to remind myself she took care of me my whole childhood, she changed my diapers and put food in my mouth…it’s the least we can do to care for her now.

    • Thank you so much Serena, for sharing your story. Gosh, I’m so sorry that you can relate on such a personal level. I will definitely keep your mom and you and your family in my prayers. Gosh that is so tough. Hang in there. You’re a blessing to your mother. Hugs and love xox

  58. I went through the caring thing with my wife. Pancreatic Cancer causes blood clots which cause strokes. At first we followed the program given by the occupational therapist. Pat did gain a bit of her physical abilities back. Then came the silent strokes and she lost all her gains and her words. The last week I was feeding her, dressing her, washing her and changing diapers. She hated it; what independent feisty women would not hate it. Sort of a blessing it didn’t last long. Also I gave her what she most wanted – to die at home with me by her side. I feel for what you are going through with your mom.

    • Oh my gosh, I am so sorry for your loss. My heart just breaks for you that you had to walk that road. Gosh. But my goodness, what a beautiful testimony of your love for her. That brings a tear to my eye. Thank you for sharing this with me. Know that you are in my prayers. May your wife be at perfect peace in the arms of Jesus. Hugs and love xox

  59. You are a wonderful person and daughter! I hope we can meet someday! Oh, and by the way, you can drop the mic! You GET it, you understand and accept HIS love for you, for your mom for His creation. Stay in the race you’re going in the right direction! ❤️

    • Oh my gosh Terese, thank you so much! Aw that would be so amazing to grab a cup of coffee! Haha you’re funny – but seriously thank you. God is good and I’m just trusting in His goodness! Hugs and love xox

  60. That’s very beautiful. I love that your connection to god is so strong. That’s so big and strong of you to step back and let her be on her own journey. Love that.

  61. To me, one of the requirements of Faith is…LET GO. Let Go…and Trust them. Give them room…to fail…and succeed. But letting go also means that we give ourselves “room” …or “reason” to trust. You’ve captured an essence not only in the CONCEPT of Faith…but in the RELATIONSHIP of Faith. Relationships that contain Faith…with each other, with God, with ourselves. Real Love for others needs us to truly Trust another…without always requiring them to answer for our Doubts, our Insecurities, our Weaknesses…and without smothering them with ourselves as we try to answer for their Doubts, Insecurities, and Weaknesses. Let us give each other Room To Grow, Room to Fail, Room to Succeed…and Let Go…to Love them more fully.

    Let us also Let Go of God (as we draw nearer to Him)…in the sense that we allow Him to answer our prayers the way He wills it…not my will, but His be done…for, too often, we constrain Him to help us and answer us to our liking, not realizing that He knows how to help us much better than we do.

    Anyways…your growth is amazing, young lady. I commend you for your continued faith in God as you try to match your thoughts with His thoughts, your ways with His ways.

    • Gosh I love this so much. You’re right-let go and let God! Wow your words are so powerful and really resonated with me. Yes, we need to give one another that grace and room to be who God made them to be 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  62. You are learning a lot.. perfectly through your own experience and growth..
    I’m a therapist and theirs lots of ways to coin what you are doing and doing right
    Tough love
    Empathy, not sympathy
    Enabling not disabling
    And the list can go on..
    And yes I agree, God does do all the above and much more..
    Love and strength to you🙏

  63. You are amazing, you are special, you are beautiful, you are wonderful. You have helped her so much. She is wonderful too because she isn’t just “milking you” and guilting you to just stay and “save her”. You gave her so much and thankfully in this day, what can be done for someone after things like that goes a lot further than it used to. She will hopefully be able to take what you gave and run with it to continue to improve and function as best as her will is driving her to. You were the angel who started her back and your light has shown as bright as any sun she’s ever seen. You gave her your love and beauty and she is truly blest for it. God Bless you this Holy Week! xoxoxoxoxoxoxo

    • oh my gosh Migueltio, thank you. You are seriously so amazing. You’re right – my mom is such a special woman and I am just amazed by her strength and courage in all of this. Thanks for this awesome encouragement. and same to you too! i hope you have a beautiful Holy Week! hugs xox

      • Here is one of the early vids I ever made. 7 years ago. The chant is something I sing at my church on Good Friday each year. The video is of some of the things I put out in our house, and also some things I gathered from years ago when I went to Mexico during Holy Week.

      • Awesome, I can’t wait to check this out. Thanks for sharing it, friend 🙂 And wow! that must have been an incredible experience, being in Mexico for Holy Week. Talk about a bucket list item!! big hugs to you! off to watch the video!!

      • Yeah it was a # of years ago. I got to see SOME things. Not as much as I would like in terms of the processions and things. I was in Mexico City and the real famous processions take place in Taxco. BUT the one thing I would have liked to have seen is the famous “Passion Play” at Ixtapalapa, which is one of the many districts of Mexico City (which is the size of like 3 NYCs. I’ve read about it and seen the vids in recent years. That’s intense.

      • This is what I make for breakfast every year on Good Friday. The altar scene you see is something I set up in the house. Its all ablaze with candles and other things on Holy Thursday, then I strip it as shown, then I bring it all back and relight the candles on Holy Saturday night.

  64. I see you have a lot of comments here, so I hope you take the time to notice mine. You were a follower of my blog “Love with a Dark Heart in Chains.” As you may or may not have known I had a lot of drama associated with that blog and was forced to change everything and start anew. Thank you for being a loyal reader and if you are interested here is my new blog : https://unchainedshadow.com/ You can follow if you want. God bless and excellent post!

  65. Hi BBB,

    It is a wonderful mystery how God moves in our daily actions. I think you mean by letting go is also letting whatever comes, have it’s way. Somehow it turns into the narrative of your life; all part of the plan.



    On Thu, Apr 6, 2017 at 4:02 PM BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “I’ve spent a lot of time recently in my own > head. Today marks the three month mark since my mom’s stroke, and there > have been a lot of ups and a lot of downs. And I’m learning a lot. And > honestly, I’m learning a lot about God’s love for us. We’ve reach” >

    • Thanks Gary. oh my gosh i love that – letting go is also letting whatever comes. Isn’t *THAT* the truth!! all part of the plan. i need to remember that. thanks for this encouramgement. big hugs xox

  66. I feel.like my life these past several years has been like what your talking about with your mum but I think somehow God’s perspective is different to my understanding of it, if it wasn’t for your little Reebok plug at the bottom of your post I may not have even commented or thought more about what you wrote. I mentioned Reebok to a friend today it randomly came to me to ask him if he remembered it. So it was fresh and an unusual word to use as it’s not common to see that brand here anymore. Anyhow might be something I glean more from. Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Michael, for sharing this. I’m sorry you can so personally relate. Hang in there. And isn’t that funny how God can even work through a Reebok ad?!! Hugs and love xox

  67. You may find that the new flower looming through this time will be as awesome and wonderful than the one you knew as your mother before the stroke….or that the flower of this time has a unique scent that you’ll always remember

    Happy Easter sister. Keep working with Him through this time

    • Hey Jeff! Thank you so much. I think you’re right – I actually was just talking with her about this this morning – that’s she’s more herself than ever before and it’s a beautiful thing. I love that imagery – a flower of this time with a unique and memorable scent. Amen to that! Thanks for this encouragement. It means so much today. Hugs and love xox

  68. Your journey into more wisdom, love, and grace is a blessing to those reading your blog. It is filled with love, written with love. And you are right about your mother growing also. May God add his blessing to the good you do for each other.

    • Gosh, Oneta, that is so kind of you to say. thank you. and i really appreciate your prayers and kindness. it truly means the world. And yes, I’m so grateful for her growth! big hugs xoxo

  69. I appreciate your insight and sharing. My mom had a stroke almost 4 or so years ago. It happened on Christmas morning while she was at work. In the process of switching jobs, her insurance was in limbo. She was left to sit in the hospital for months before getting to rehab. To this day she still has paralysis in one of her arms.. She hasn’t worked since that day. For her to go from the most busy bodied independent woman I know to the woman she is now put’s GodR