Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. In all your ways acknowledge HIM and He will make your paths straight.
— Proverbs 5:3
— Proverbs 5:3
As my mom’s dementia progressed, she lost interest in activities and relating with people. I would cherish the times I could get a smile from her during my visits. Having a good connection with her, affirmed by that smile would make my day. We could still connect and have a relationship even as her dementia got worse. I dreaded the day that she might not recognize me or be able to give me that smile.
Then I think about God and my relationship with Him. I know Jesus died for my sins. I know my mom believed Jesus died for her sins. That is a faith we both have. My mom’s smile confirmed the relationship she had with me. Does Jesus want the same in my relationship with Him? Does my smile in response to Jesus mean as much to Jesus as my mom’s smile meant to me? When I am burdened by the stress of caregiving, am I too troubled to give Jesus that smile?
When aids would come to help my mom, they would not get the smile that I received. It wasn’t just anyone that got that smile. Her special smile was just for me. That smile was for one who was her child.
We have parents of children in our Christian Caregiver Support Group. Would the smile of their child mean as much to them as my mom’s smile meant to me? The truth is that it probably means even more.
That special smile is a sign of a close and loving relationship.
Birth certificates can be the evidence that defines a relationship. A baptism certificate or confirmation certificate can be evidence of belonging to a Christian church or denomination. But is it enough evidence of a relationship with Jesus to bring a smile to our face? Can a paper certificate or a picture of our baptism bring a smile to our loved one? No, that special smile comes from more than a certificate. That smile is a sign of emotional, relational and verbal connection.
Did you ever think that just as I loved to see the smile on my moms face that Jesus loves to see that emotional, relational and verbal connection on our face?
Paul, in the book of Philippians, emphasizes strongly his encouragement for us to rejoice in the Lord. He repeats the word ‘rejoice’ twice. Paul knows that life can be hard as he reminds us not to be anxious about anything. Paul was an experienced sufferer. Jesus brought joy to Paul. It is a relationship that Paul says goes beyond all understanding. Paul wrote these words in Philipians 4, "Be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly....as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father throught him."
We can bring joy to Jesus. Jesus said when one lost sheep is found there is rejoicing in heaven, Luke 15. Prayer and worship are like sweet smelling incense, Ps 141:2
My mom had a disease that made it harder and harder for her to relate. But when we connected, it was great and made my day. I hope that you are to able to connect with Jesus, fix your eyes on Him. Remember, Jesus is always standing at your door ready to be invited into your situation. He smiles when you pray (even when you are angry with God). Open the door and be mindful of Him. Let him provide a new perspective and strength. Perhaps then your cup will overflow and you will have something extra to share with your loved one because a renewed joy will fill your heart. Maybe you will have a smile and grace to share with your loved one even when it cannot be returned. May the joy of the Lord be your strength.
Sue Brettmann RN has been devoted to Caregiving both in her career as an RN, Parish Nurse and caring for her aging parents through the last 40 plus years. She has experience in trauma, home care and hospice. Her strong faith walk and relationship with Christ has always been a part of her care and she is committed to helping others see the gift of Christ in their personal journey's.