When I think of all the people God has put in our lives to teach us, to encourage us, to host us, to love on us, my heart overflows with gratitude. God has given us His Word as our rule to know how we must live and to also know what we are to believe. And in His kindness, He has also given us many examples of brothers and sisters that live in faithful obedience to Him so that we might imitate, and I am deeply grateful for that.
Laurie has been an example to me. She is a faithful friend who bears her crosses without ever complaining. Her mouth is full with words of gratitude, words that are sweet because they are impregnated with the sweetness of Christ’s Words.
As we read her words, I pray that God will use them to encourage us to persevere in faithful obedience through the trials God has ordained for each one of us.
Faithful obedience is not always easy, but by God’s grace, it is always possible. Let’s keep looking up!
Last autumn my husband and I brought my elderly mother to live with us. She is eighty nine. She cannot speak. She is incontinent. Her dementia is so far advanced that she no longer recognizes me. But as hard as this is for both of us, more than anything else in my life, the Lord has used it to show me His faithfulness and His grace: His undeserved favor toward those He loves.
The decision to move my mother was not made lightly. We sought counsel and prayed a great deal. We lifted up our concerns, our “what ifs”, our fears. We were honest with God, and while He did not always provide the specifics, He did answer. Gently but clearly, both from circumstance and from scripture. He called us to be faithfully obedient. To live out what we believed. To trust Him. My mother was to come home.
This kind of obedience is not difficult. Knowing exactly what God wants you to do is a great blessing. It’s afterward that’s sometimes a bit harder. Especially when things don’t go quite as expected. Or even close to expected. When doubts creep in it’s time to cling to God’s promises, to remember that He has promised He will never leave nor forsake us. He has promised to make all things work together for good even if we can’t see it. We are to walk by faith.
And God is faithful. I have come to realize that what the last seven months have been is not so much my faithfulness as His, and the faithfulness of other saints whom He has used to bless me.
My faithful prayer group lifts me up before the throne whether I make the meeting or not. They are full of wisdom and joy and laughter as they bear this burden along with me. Several of them have come to sit with her, to talk to her, to read the Bible to her.
My faithful daughter comes once or twice a week to care for mom. She is wiser than I am and encourages me greatly. She brings her three-year old son whose presence always makes my mother smile. Mom’s old bent hand slowly reaches to pat his head. He giggles. God is gracious.
Our faithful physician comes to our home to see her. He treats her with the utmost dignity. He is never rushed, and his advice and support have been invaluable. He recently ordered Hospice care, and a lovely Christian nurse showed up at my door to help me. More grace.
My mother can’t be left alone and the Lord has faithfully provided us with women from our local Christian college and churches to care for her on a regular basis. I am constantly amazed and blessed by their love for Christ and kindness to my mother. One of them brought a book about heaven. Sometimes I read it to her and am reminded of the glory she will soon see. The glory I will one day see. Grace upon grace.
Not that caring for an elderly parent isn’t also a trial. It is hugely time-consuming, it is sometimes unpleasant, and there is the ever present temptation to fear, to feel trapped. It’s then that we need to remind ourselves always to return to His word, to believe His promises. And again, God is gracious. Many of us in this community are reading the Bible together. Our pastor is fond of reminding us that scripture is food. Our Lord is faithful: I am well-fed. He has equipped me for this work.
In trials, I have periodically asked God to show me the thin places, the places where eternity feels close, where the presence of Jesus is astonishingly real. And He is always faithful to answer. Often it’s the words in a sermon that take me there. Or books by saints long in glory. Recently it happened while putting mom to bed. I always walk backward in front of her, holding her hands. Her gait is unsteady, one foot drags behind. Every night she stops in the doorway to her bedroom and peers inside, unsure if she should continue, unable to comprehend what is going on.
One night, looking at my mother, I had a clear picture of myself: stumbling, sometimes fearful, often confused, yet faithfully led by Jesus all the days of my life.
And isn’t it true for each of us?
Our Lord is faithful, He blesses his loved ones with grace.
You can find the list of posts in this series here .