Tag Archives: parents

Lap Sitting

Yesterday was my mother’s 89th birthday.  She has been a resident in a memory care unit at the Woodbury Health Care Center for the past three years. We celebrated with cake, flowers and great-grandchildren. Moms 89 bday

Like many adult children with aging parents, I struggle how to best honor and love my mother at this stage of her life. Due to her many falls and dementia, my wife and I cannot take care of her at home.  Earlier in her life, when her dementia was just beginning, my siblings and I tried to talk with her about what living arrangements she would want as the disease progressed.  Like many in her generation, she did not want to discuss those issues, so my siblings and I did our best to find places that could care for her in a loving, humane way.

Now the dementia has progressed to the point where she no longer knows my name or relationship to her.  She cannot hold a conversation.  But she still smiles when I approach her and call her name.  She likes to have her hands rubbed and her arm stroked. She will occasionally look at pictures of her family. We can sing Happy Birthday together. She enjoys cake and ice cream.

Mom and GracePerhaps the greatest joy for her yesterday was holding her newest great-grandchild, Grace.  Mom did not fully comprehend who Grace was.  She could not say her name.  Yet I felt God’s grace surrounding her and us as she held her great-granddaughter.  Love flowed from each.

As I reflect on the moment, I take great hope in the knowledge that God is holding my mom in his lap.  And God is holding me and you as well.  We may not fully realize who we are as children of God, but God fully knows and cares.  God loves holds us even when we forget God’s name.  Someday God will call my mom (and me and you) home and only then will we fully know whose we are.

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love. I Corinthians 13:12-13

Lord Jesus, hold me as your own.

Teach Your Children Well

Yesterday’s post reminded me of the importance of teaching our children well.  They are watching everything we do, even at church.

A family was riding home from church one afternoon and the father was complaining about the pastor going past the noon hour and the fact that he has missed the first inning of his favorite team.  The daughter was distraught with the fact that her boyfriend sat in a row with another young lady and the mom was commenting on what she thought was the poor quality of some members of the worship band.  After a couple of moments of silence the little six year old brother commented from the corner in the back seat “Well, I thought it was a pretty good show for a buck”.

Son Jonathan and I hiking

Parents remain the primary teachers for our children.  What I value as a dad has certainly influenced my children.  I know that my son learned to enjoy camping, hiking and backpacking primarily because he and I would spend a week camping every summer during his childhood.  It was something my father passed on to me and I have shared with my son.   I also know that my children highly value their education because my wife stressed its importance from an early age.  She was constantly seeking ways to enhance their learning beyond the classroom, helping each child reach his or her full potential.

The same is true for spiritual formation, from prayer to Bible reading, from stewardship of finances to volunteering.  As parents we are the primary models of what it means to follow Jesus Christ.  Our words and actions are being watched each Sunday morning as well as the rest of the week.  Are we being models that reflect God’s grace and power?

Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.  Recite these words to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away. Deut. 6: 4-7

O God, giver of all life, provide wisdom and encouragement to all mothers and fathers. Make them teachers and examples of righteousness for their children.  Let their light shine brightly so that their children can discover the path to you, our Lord and Savior