Dear friends, the ‘BE’ in the ‘BE Blessings’ ministry is for Bethany, but today it is for her BEloved grandmother Barbara…
“Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10a
Writing the ‘BE Blogs’ over recent years come has come from a growing conviction that anything good I desire to DO must flow out of who I am designed to BE.
These lessons run long and deep, and I am nothing but a beginner on the journey of BEcoming. But I would love to share with you what I am in the midst of learning right now. At this moment in time, I am greatly challenged to the core of my BEing by my dear mother-in-law…
It is nothing she has said and nothing she has done. No wise word or inspirational action has driven home to me the lesson I am learning right now. Yet, what I perceive is powerfully displayed.
My husband’s mum can say nothing. She can do nothing. Her thoughts are empty and her memory is erased. She is slowly dying from that dreaded Alzheimer’s Disease. Seven torturous years so far, with more suffering most assuredly to come.
Mum was a doer! Famous for her delicious cooking, she was an excellent homemaker and beautiful wife and mother. She was also a professional dressmaker and my wedding dress was just one of her amazing creations. We used to joke that you could wear her dresses inside out as she always double-lined them to perfection for the bride’s comfort.
We loved her then for all she did for us, even if we often took her for granted. She was just always there – like many mothers are for their children. Her selfless servant heart was always so faithful and joyfully gave to others with boundless energy. Indeed, Mum was right up there in the top ranks of incredible mothers!
I grieve for all she has lost in this trial. I grieve for her, for her faithful husband, her children, and for her grandchildren. We all greatly miss her friendship, guidance and support. But it has struck me afresh lately that we love her still – as helpless and ‘useless’ as she currently is. Why is that? Is it just the memory of all her kindness over the years that feeds our love? That may be part of it, but at the essence of our love is this:
We love her simply because of who she IS.
She is our Mum. She is our children’s Nan. She is still a beloved wife and friend, although she is incapable of doing anything for us and for herself anymore. She is a child of God above all else and her intrinsic value cannot be diminished by her inability to DO anything.
As I was sitting with her recently, trying to help her eat something and not getting too far, it struck me that Mum just ‘IS’… and that’s all. She is a human BEing, like you and like me. The only difference is that we might be able to DO a handful of things, with no promise that we will be able to DO them tomorrow.
The call to ‘BE’ has reduced to the very basics for her now. She breathes. Her heart beats. There is no response and yes it is heartbreaking and incredibly challenging. But the amazing fact is that she is loved – no more or less than ever before – no doubt about it!
Do I know this same love in the centre of my being? I am convinced that I am loved just by BEing who God made me to BE? I am His daughter, His BEloved daughter! Can I be content with nothing more and nothing less?
I want to know and live this truth more and more as I grow older. I hope dear Mum knows it deep within her soul too – I think she does. We tell her when we visit how loved she is. How grateful we are for her. How we long for her next breath to be filled with Heaven. For her next smile to break forth when her wait is over and she finally sees Jesus, her delight! She’s got a wonderful, infectious laugh and I can’t wait to hear it ring out across eternity – what a day that will be!
Yes Mum, you just have to BE right now – and when all is said and done, so do I. BEloved Mum, it is enough – enough for us both! Thank you for teaching me this soul searching, transformative lesson. May I live the truth of it today and in all of my tomorrows. As we care for you, in solidarity that one day our time will come too, may it be with the tenderness of Christ and with hearts filled with hope in Him!
Quotes to Inspire:
In his last years on earth, Canadian spiritual thinker and writer, Henri Nouwen lived with and gained great insight from his friends in the L’Arche Daybreak Community (a place of care for those living with intellectual disabilities). Henri wrote a tribute to his friend, Moe, who lived with Down’s Syndrome for decades before dying from Alzheimer’s Disease. For years Moe always asked Henri to sing him ‘Amazing Grace’…
“In Daybreak, many of us cannot do what most people can. Some of us cannot walk, some cannot speak, some cannot feed themselves, some cannot read, some cannot count, come cannot dress themselves, and a few can do none of those things. No one is waiting for a cure. We only know that things will get harder as we get older and that the difference between people with a handicap and people without a handicap will become ever smaller. What are we ultimately growing toward? Are we simply becoming less and less capable people, returning our bodies to the dust from which they came, or are we growing into the living reminders of the ‘Amazing Grace’ that Moe always wanted to sing about? We must choose between these two radically different viewpoints. The choice to see our own and other people’s decreasing abilities as gateway for God’s increasing grace is a choice of faith. It is a choice based on the conviction that on the cross of Jesus we do see, not only failure, but victory as well, not only destruction, but new life as well, not only nakedness, but glory as well.” (Henri Nouwen, Our Greatest Gift, pp. 69-70.)
“Abide in Me (BE IN ME) for without Me, you can DO absolutely nothing!”
(Jesus Christ, John 15:5, emphasis mine.)
“All I AM and ever hope to BE is because You love faithfully!”
(Laura Story, Faithful God.)