The Road to Glory: Walking Mama Home Provides Lessons in Elder Care and Hope for Those Who Help
“You can’t do this by yourself. You need God,” Linda Winn’s friend told her. Her friend was right. She couldn’t care for her elderly mother without God’s help. “It’s like a walk in the wilderness,” she told The Stream. “You need God to see you through it.”
Caring for an Elderly Loved One
Linda is a retired educator with a master’s degree in teaching. She also has a background in health, physical education and psychology. She started writing The Road to Glory: Walking Mama Home, as a memoir, but decided to write it for everyone who is or who will be caring for an elderly loved one. “You know, as believers, we’re all on the road to glory and we need somebody to walk us through it, and we need to walk somebody else through it also — especially our loved ones — and God mandates that we do that.”
Linda quotes 1 Timothy 5:4, 8. There Paul says that a widow’s children and grandchildren should put their religion into practice first by taking care of their family. Those who don’t do that deny the faith and are worse than unbelievers.
She was not aware of the challenges before her when she started caring for her elderly mother. Caring for her mother was difficult. She felt guilty for putting her in a nursing facility, even though the staff was wonderful.
But she leaned on God and learned that He is faithful. “God is so faithful to those who lean on Him. And if you lean on Him, like I did every day for [the] 10 years I was overseeing the care of my mother, you will come through this with unshakable faith. That’s the main thing you learn.”
Linda cried out to God for help. “Keep the main thing the main thing. Ask God ‘What do I do now?’ … He knows it all. He knows what is happening. ‘Lord, what do I do now?’ I mean, humble yourself before Him because He knows it all, He’s in total control.”
Putting Others Before Yourself
Sometimes Linda’s mother would say something mean. But Linda knew that, just like her mother was responsible for her own behavior, Linda was responsible for her response. “Am I being so selfish that I cannot see my mother’s own misery? Only God can show you how to set yourself aside to be there completely for somebody else.”
Linda believes specific family members are called to care for their elderly loved ones. “When that one person accepts that call, God will reveal Himself to that person in ways that you never, ever imagined or would experience had you not accepted the call.”
Linda’s faith grew exponentially after she accepted the call, which came in the form of her dying father’s last wish. “Linda, you’re going to have to take care of your mother now.” Linda was always a daddy’s girl. “And Daddy’s girl heard Daddy’s last wish: Take care of Mama. You know I’m going to do it. You know I’m going to take care of my Daddy’s wife, my Mama.”
Walking With Him
In The Road to Glory, Linda details her experiences caring for and advocating for her mother at the nursing home. She writes about her mother’s stroke, the loss of dignity, and bad roommates.
At the end of each chapter in her book, Linda provides a section called “Lessons Learned.” Here she gives tips and a guide to help caregivers in their own journey. Some are practical tips, like keeping elders hydrated or comfortable, others are Bible verses to learn from. Either way, she encourages caregivers to trust God and ask Him what to do next.
Linda hopes readers of her book will decide to walk with their elderly loved ones on their journey to glory. To see that God is faithful and that will lead them through the process “every step of the way,” she says. “The road to glory is a road that’s littered with perils but sprinkled with pearls of God’s wisdom, mercy and grace. And you can only discover that if you walk with Him.”