“Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.” I Thessalonians 1: 1-4 (KJV)
Now that I’ve arrived in California, I am able to assist with the care of my mother. She had declined dramatically in the five weeks since I had last seen her and now is little more than an invalid. I do what I can for her, calling on everything I learned when I worked in home health as a nurse’s aide and from my First Aid certification. Yet it seems so little.
She sleeps fitfully between her feedings, administered through a tube implanted in her stomach. At night, she awakens often, calling for help through the monitor we’ve set up in her room with a receiver in mine. Sometimes, it is me she calls. Often, it is God. She carries on a conversation with Him, asking for relief from the recurring leg cramps we don’t seem to be able to help.
In my own prayers, I ask for strength to be able to provide what she needs; patience to respond in love when she asks the same question for the umpteenth time; gentleness in my touch as I seek to minister to her; and comfort for her. All of those things sound terribly noble, don’t they?
Perhaps you won’t think so highly of my prayers when I tell you the rest. I very selfishly pray to have my mother back. Not this frail, suffering woman who tears my heart out with each moan, but the strong, hardworking mother I knew before this decline.
In my heart, I know she is probably quite close to going home. So each time I approach her bed, I tell her I love her and kiss her head because I don’t know how many more chances I’ll get. I know when she leaves, it won’t be forever. I’ll see her again one day in glory. But, oh, how I long to delay the parting!
Paul wasn’t specifically talking about my mother in his letter to the church at Thessalonica. Yet it describes her so well. She has worked her entire life in faith and love. What I know of living in grace and counting on God’s peace, I learned at her hand. And I do wish her grace and peace as she makes this final journey. I only hope I can live up to her example.
Is there someone who needs to hear how much you love them? How much they mean to you? Is there someone you love but aren’t sure of their spiritual situation? Don’t wait – tell them the things they need to hear before time has slipped away. Pray for the confidence and wisdom to do it today.
© 2008 Mary Beth Magee