This was going to be my status statement on my facebook page today, but then I thought perhaps it might need too many explanations, so I decided to move it over to my blog instead. For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, here goes...
A couple of weeks before Christmas my 87 year old mother in law came to live with us. Now, don't get me wrong...I dearly love my mother in law...she is a beautiful and wonderful person... and we have always had a great relationship...one that has spanned over 41 years! We have been through a lot of trials and joys together. She has been a strong support for our family during times of illness and trauma. She was there for me following my two major surgeries...caring for my personal needs as well as the needs of my home and family when I was unable to get up on my own. She also came to stay with us many years ago when our son Matthew was undergoing surgery for a brain tumor, and I don't know what I would have done without her help during those very difficult and uncertain days. She has helped us pack and move more times than I care to remember...and was there helping with the unpacking and resettling as well. When our children were very small she and my father in law came almost every Sunday afternoon with a car load of groceries to help us through some difficult times. When my husband felt the call to prepare for the ministry, and our plans got turned upside down because our 18 month old son was hit by a car and we had to make some quick decisions about employment and housing, it was my in-laws' support that carried us through the remainder of that very difficult school year so that we didn't have to drop out of school prematurely.
The list could go on an on...and actually this has been a very good exercise for me to pause and remember just how much genuine unselfish love this dear lady has showered on our family throughout the years. It actually is helping me to put things in perspective...
Yes, we are experiencing some major adjustments with these changes that are happening in our home presently...but how could I allow it to be any other way? How could I not open my home to this dear one who has sacrificed so much for me and mine throughout the years? That's what family is all about...when things get difficult for one or the other...we do whatever we need to do to help the one in need.
Jesus said in Matthew 25:34-36, "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.'"
And He concludes this portion in verse 40 with His response to the "sheep" who wondered when they had done all of those things with the following words, "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'"
My mother in law truly exemplifies the "sheep" in the above passage...she has literally fulfilled all of the examples given in verses 35-36 in caring for our family so completely throughout the years. I have no doubt that God, the Great King, will one day say to her, "Vivian, come you blessed of My Father and inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." And, knowing my dear humble mother in law, she will respond with awe and amazement, "Lord, when did I do any of those things you mentioned?" and He will tell her, "When you so lovingly cared for your children and grandchildren, and for your own husband and mother and father and sisters (and her own mother and father in law as well)...when you always put others ahead of yourself...and when you loved your daughter-in-law like your very own daughter...even when she was not always as grateful as she should have been and was too proud and selfish to understand how much you truly cared... Yes, Vivian, assuredly I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me."
Yes, our family is experiencing a new kind of normal these days...we have added the laughter and sweetness of my mother in law to our home. And even though she is going through some major adjustments in her own mind and heart and body, she continues to try to do her very best to care for the rest of us at the same time. We are blessed by her presence, for however long God allows her to stay...and we know that He will give us the grace and wisdom we need each day.
Thank you, Father, for this lesson today. It has helped me to recognize exactly what You intended all along. Amen.
|This was our son Benton and my mother in law on "Nanny Steiner's" 87th birthday in July last year. She loved hearing us sing |
"Happy Birthday" to her! Such a great lady!!!