Sunday, September 08, 2013

Weekly Word for September 8, 2013

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, . . . (love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;
(1 Corinthians 13: 4, 7 and 8)

Nothing about the day went as I had planned it. It started with a jolt, as I felt my big cat walking on top of me, her claws scraping my skin as she tried to wake me up. “Why hadn’t I heard the alarm?” I wondered as I struggled to sit up in bed. I looked over at the clock next to Ted, it was already 6:30am! “Did you set the alarm last night?” I asked him as I gathered up our water glasses and put on my bathrobe. “Uh huh” he murmured as he rolled over in the bed. With two cats following, I headed down to the kitchen. “I guess you two are starving” I said as I put the water glasses into the sink. The girls just hovered around my legs, meowing every now and then. I fed my kitties and gave a few carrots to my guinea pig, and then I made our coffees. I brought the two mugs upstairs to our bedroom and turned on the news. I knew the morning was going to be rushed, but for a few minutes I wanted to just sit with my coffee, and quietly try to finish waking up.

(love) bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,

By 7am I was up and getting dressed. My hair looked like I had fallen asleep with it wet. (which I had) Nothing that I did with it was going to make it look pretty. So I put a headband on and called it “done”. As I picked up the clothes from the floor, I looked over at Ted still sitting in the bed, “you need to get up soon” I said. He just nodded and continued watching the television. Shaking my head, I headed downstairs. Soon I was getting breakfast started, and beginning to put together Ted’s lunch. I also needed to get the laundry up from downstairs as Ted needed clean clothes, and I had a few clothes for mom in the dryer.

Time just seems to slip away on mornings like this one. Before I knew it, it was 8am and I still needed to get so many things done before I left to visit with mom. I had packed up two plastic bags, one with mom’s new clothes - and the other with an Avon order. I also had a few tomatoes and cucumbers to take along as well. Finally I had Ted’s lunch all packed up, and his water jug filled and ready to go. Ted had showered and dressed, and before I knew it - it was time to pray and eat.

As we started to get ready to leave, Ted fixed the coffees that we would take with us. We both started bringing things out to our vehicles, and before I knew it, it was time to say goodbye. Standing in the doorway, I couldn’t help but wonder if I had forgotten something. But nothing came to mind as my husband pulled me in his arms and kissed me. I have to admit, I love this part of our mornings. It reminds each of us of how much we love the other. And it gives us something to remember - and to look forward to - when we come home. Starting up my car, I looked over at the seat that was full of bags that I had packed up. As I drove down the street, I wondered what kind of day I would have.

Love is patient, love is kind . . . (it) does not rejoice in unrighteousness,
but rejoices with the truth; . . . (1 Corinthians 4 and 6)

As I drove down the road, I waved at Ted as he turned left and headed toward his first job. Reaching into my pocketbook, I searched for my Bluetooth and my phone. I looked down, but couldn’t see my phone anywhere in my purse! “How could I have left it behind“, I wondered as I drove toward the highway. At that moment, I thought about turning around, but for some reason, I didn’t. “Ok Lord, I guess it is just you and me this morning” I said as I headed to see my mom.

For the first 15 or 20 minutes of the drive, I have to admit that I felt lost without my phone. “What if someone needs to call me?” “What if something happens to the kids or grandkids?” I fretted. But after a while, I found myself paying more attention to the road, and the trees and the sky around me. It was a beautiful day out! The sky was so blue, and there were only wisps of clouds here and there as I looked up. It would be a beautiful day to take mom for a walk.

 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully - just as I also have been fully known.
(1 Corinthians 13: 12)

As I parked the car and gathered my bags together, I wondered how mom would be this day. She had been slowly getting worse, the Alzheimer’s was taking away her ability to think or even understand the things that were going on around her. Thinking about these things made me a little sad, but it was a beautiful day out, and I hoped and prayed that it would be a good visit with mom.

When I got off the elevator, I pushed the lock button and opened the door to mom’s floor. Inside I said “hi” to the nurses, dropping off one of the bags at the front desk. Then I headed down the hall to mom’s room. The aide stopped me to say that mom was downstairs at church service. “OK, I will just put these clothes away and head down to join her”. The aide came into the room and helped me put away mom’s clothes. Then she asked me about the mess on mom’s bed. I helped her pick up the pictures and magazines, and all sorts of trinkets that mom had been looking at before she headed to church. As I picked them up, I realized that these were her “treasures” now, and she loved to look at each one. When mom’s room was all picked up, I headed down to the first floor where the church service was being held. As I walked down the hall, I saw a pretty white haired lady standing in the middle of the group. She motioned for me to come into the room, and so I did. I walked in and said “hi” to everyone, and then I asked the ladies who were overseeing the group if I could sit next to my mom. “Sure” the pretty white haired lady told me with a smile. “It might help” she whispered as we both walked over to my mom. She was sleeping in the chair, and it took a minute or so before she noticed that I was standing in front of her. The ladies had set up two chairs right near the front, and so I helped mom up from her chair and we both sat down next to the little table where they had a bible and the cross set up. The lady handed me the papers for the service, and I put my arm around my mom and sat back to listen.

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly’ it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; Bears all things believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails;

These were the words in front of me on the paper. They were the words that she asked us to read. As I held mom’s hand, we read along with the rest of the group. Mom worked very hard to read along, and it surprised me that she actually got most of the words right. Looking around us, some could read, and others were not able to. But it didn’t seem to matter. There was a sweetness to what the ladies were teaching each one of these people. As we finished reading the bible verses, the woman looked over at me and then toward the rest of the group. “We have been learning about becoming like children, and that God loves each of us very much” she said looking back at me. She then asked us to sing a song. As she did, she looked at my mom and said: “Alice, this is your favorite song.” Mom just looked at her and didn’t say anything. I wasn’t so sure that mom was having a good day, or that she was even able to listen. But the woman put the music on, and soon we were singing. It was an old hymn that I remember from when I was a little girl, and I was so surprised when mom started to sing. She has such a beautiful voice, and as I sang along with my mom, I found myself trying hard not to cry. The song we sang was called “In The Garden” by Austin Miles. The words are about entering the garden alone, and then a voice is heard - it is the Son of God. And then the verse goes: “And He walks with me, and He talks with me, And He tells me I am His own, And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.”

. . . For love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God - and knows God.
( 1 John: 4: 7)

When the song was over, the woman told a little story and then asked us to pray another prayer. When that was done, it was time for “Communion”. As the two women got prepared, one of the ladies put on some music that she told us we could sit back and just listen to the beautiful song. When the music started, I found myself sitting back and listening to the song “Our Father”. It seemed to wash over me, taking all the worry and cares I had been feeling that day. When the woman came over to me, she asked if I would like to share in Communion. “Can I?” I asked. And she just nodded and took a piece of bread and gave it to me. As I closed my eyes and started to pray, I realized I was hearing some of the men and women around me singing. With my eyes closed, I started to sing with them - “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name . . .” I could hear my mom’s voice singing next to me. When I opened my eyes, I realized her eyes were closed and she was singing from memory the words to a prayer that we all had learned so many years ago. In that moment, I realized that my mom was truly that “child” who God loves so very much. Her heart belongs to Him. And even though she has forgotten so much of her life, her children and grandchildren, and even where she is living - she knows God - - - and He knows her!

And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (1 John 4: 16)

As mom and I left the church service that morning, I couldn’t help but give a hug to both of the ladies who were ministering that day. Their teaching is straight from their hearts. They teach these men and women, who are weak in body and mind, that they are loved by God. They are getting them ready - for when they truly “go home”.

God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

As I write this little story, I realize that there are so many people on this earth who are in pain, grieving, and suffering. For them, and for you, I offer this hope. It is the hope that these ladies are teaching to my mom, as well as the men and women who live in the nursing home with her. It is that - no matter what we are going through in our lives, God is waiting for us! He is asking us to let Him into our hearts. When we do, He lives within us - here on earth - and into our forever . . .

 But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

God bless you and keep you, until we meet back here again.

In His Amazing Love,
Debbie and Ted Ayers