How Different Would Life Look if Everyone Did Their Part

Sometimes life is heavy. And though I cherish time with my Mama, I wonder if I’m really doing what God has called me to do.

I was reading today in Acts 13:2 and God clearly called out Barnabas and Saul and told the church to separate them to Him and send them off on mission work.

And sometimes I envy that a bit. Because my mission doesn’t feel very adventurous and I’m just trying to figure out what ways to serve in my church and how to find time to bring a meal to a new mom as I juggle helping care for my mother with Alzheimer’s and my mother-in-law with dementia.

And it’s not very glamorous. Or exciting. And often it is just plain hard work.

I was praying about it the other day and I randomly opened my Bible and it “happened” to open to I Timothy 5. And I read, “But if any widow has children or grandchildren, let them first learn to show piety at home and to repay their parents; for this is good and acceptable to God.”

And then in verse eight, of the same chapter, I read, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

Wow! These are strong words! From God’s Word.

God IS calling me to care for my mother and mother-in-law. This is a responsibility He has given me, and really all believers.

It may look different for everyone. Some people live far from family. But that doesn’t excuse Christ-followers from making provision for parents and grandparents who need help.

It is our God-given job. And everyone can do their part, even if those parts look quite different from one another.

And it makes me wonder.

I wonder how loved and cherished aging parents would feel if each of their children and grandchildren did everything they could to meet the needs of their elders.

I wonder how many phone calls and meals would be shared. I wonder how many spirits would be lifted with cards, flowers, letters and gifts. I wonder how many songs would be sung together and ring cheer into hearts.

I wonder how clean houses would be and how lovely yards and gardens would be. I wonder how many errands would be cheerfully run and how many repairs would be promptly finished.

I wonder how many stories of the old days would be shared. And how many home-cooked goodies would be relished. I wonder how many puzzles and games would be enjoyed together and how much laughter would fill the rooms.

I wonder how many prayers would be lifted up together to our Lord. And how many wrinkled hands would be held tenderly by younger hands.

I wonder how excellent personal cares would be, and how comfortable and well fed every bed or wheel-chair-bound person would be.

I wonder how many loving hugs would bring tears. And how many conversations would build up faith and courage.

I wonder how many blessings would be poured down from Heaven.

If everyone did their part.

Because God is watching. And He sees the sacrificial love given by some.

And He sees the neglect and loneliness and unmet needs that wouldn’t have to be there. If everyone did their part.

Sometimes I struggle with my own attitudes and feel like it’s all too much. But this is the mission in my life right now. And I know I don’t do all I could do. And I pray that the Holy Spirit will direct me and help me so that I’ll make better use of my time for His purposes, in this season of precious ministry.

Because life isn’t all about personal pleasure or comfort, though God often blesses us with both. Life is about loving God and others. And that is where the real joy and fulfillment is anyway.

It reminds me of a quote from Mother Theresa…

“Stay where you are. Find your own Calcutta. Find the sick, the suffering and the lonely right where you are—in your own homes and in your own families, in your workplaces and in your schools…You can find Calcutta all over the world if you have eyes to see…”

Sometimes life is heavy. But I know I’m where I’m supposed to be. And I’m thankful for the grace and strength and blessings He gives for this mission.





Mama’s Lilacs

Whenever I smell lilacs I think of Mama. Mom and Dad planted a  whole big border of them in the back yard when I was growing up, and they are still flourishing  there today. Mom used to pick big bunches of them and fill vases with their beauty and the house with their scent.

When we were in grade school Mom would send bouquets of them with me for my teachers, the stems wrapped in wet paper towel and tin foil.

And I still remember, the year I miscarried a much wanted baby. Mom brought over a bouquet of lilacs with some crab apple blossoms mixed in. And the scent and simple arrangement brought a gentle comfort to my heart.

Now I walk right through a gap we cut in the lilac hedges, as I use my backyard gate, and walk into Mama’s yard. And when the lilacs are blooming I always stop and smell them and revel in their abundance and aroma. Because they are short lived. And their beauty is fleeting.

I cut branches from Mama’s bushes, and from our own lilacs that we grew from runner shoots of Mom and Dad’s bushes. And I fill vases in my house. And I break off a few stems for Mama.

I put them in a vase and set them close to her. But she doesn’t look at them. I hold them up in front of her, close to her face, and say, “Mama, do you want to smell the lilacs?” But she just looks confused, or tries to bite them.

So I leave the vase on her side table. And hope that the sweet smell brings back memories of sunnier days. And of smiles. I hope they bring a gentle comfort to her heart.

And before I leave, I stop and bend close to Mama. And I take in the beauty of her softly wrinkled face. I stroke her silver hair. I hold her hand. I kiss her forehead and say, ” It’s me, Mom. I’m Cheryl. I love you, Mama.”

And I walk back home, through the gap in the lilac hedges, that Mama planted and loved.