Taking Mom Home for Christmas

And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home. John 19:27 NLT

In long term care facilities around the United States, there are at least a million moms and if one of them is yours, you are facing the same scene as John was that day. Mary was no longer young, no longer able to provide for herself. So, as he suffered in His last hour on earth, Jesus turned to John and asked for him to take care of His mother. Today, maybe the best we can do is place our mom in a long-term care facility. In some cases, these mothers no longer have anyone left to care for them. This morning I visited a memory care facility to sing Christmas carols. Most of the 20 or so folks, enjoyed singing a little while we went through the familiar songs. But there was one lady, who sat slumped over in her chair almost right in front of me. On her left leg was a large square bandage with a tinge of red around the edges and though I moved close to her to try and draw her into the music, during our half hour of singing, she never looked up. I tried focusing on the other people in the room, but then I asked myself, “What if this were my mom? John took Mary home to care for her – but Lord, I can’t take this lady home. Please show me what I can do to keep on loving her as she deserves.”

You see, what matters most isn’t about what we can’t do, it’s about the little things we still can. When I was small, my mother would sew together popcorn and cranberries for garlands and sing me Christmas carols. She made cookies and helped me write a letter to Santa. But when she was in the place where this dear lady was this morning, she couldn’t do anything at all. So, I just sat by her side, held her hand and prayed and kissed her. After I had gone home, she slipped into eternity. With my dad, I brought my guitar and sang his favorite hymns until he slipped into the presence of Jesus. We never know how long we have our parents, but let me tell you that today, I have a hundred moms and dads. I have the joy of singing and praying with them. This month we get to share a little Christmas each week. Would you consider getting involved in some outreach this month? Between the shopping, the parties, and decorating the house, take a little time to track down some folks to visit in your community. Consider bringing cards, sing a few songs or maybe buy small gifts. Most facilities have giving trees to help you know what is needed. Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t take these special people home for Christmas, but what we can do is the little things that will bring a little home to their hearts this Christmas, in Jesus’ name!

Thanksgiving at the Nursing Home

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Oh yes, Thanksgiving is creeping up on us! I have read a lot of great posts about giving thanks, but people at the Nursing Homes which I visit take on a different viewpoint of the holiday. Very few will get to spend it with their family at a table filled with food. Most will get a few slices of turkey with mashed potatoes and gravy in the dining hall. Their thankfulness isn’t punctuated by football games, and they aren’t making plans to do Black Friday shopping. Instead, most of the thankfulness up and down the halls in long term care is about a table that they will sit at one day with Jesus Christ. They come to our hymn singing times and either join in if they still can or just listen as the Lord lifts up their hearts to Him. Yes, we should be thankful for what we have received, but what lies ahead is so much greater and will last forever. Why not take a moment to close yourself in with God and picture His answer to your prayers before you receive them? Why not give thanks right now for what lies ahead, and then receive His peace which is greater than anything you can understand that can guard your heart and mind in Jesus?

Loving Amid Chaos

Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. 
Romans 12:15 ESV

Everyone I have met thinks that memory care ministry is a great thing to do, but very few are willing to stay involved for long. They enthusiastically come for a few sessions, and just about the time that the residents start to get to know them they give up. Am I saying that these folks are bad people? Absolutely not! … To read the rest of the story go to Walking With Lambs