Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Love them Anyway

I had the opportunity this afternoon to listen to a man who has lived with dementia for ten years and spends his time traveling around telling his story and encouraging people who are dealing with dementia and alzheimer's, either those who have it, or those who care for people who have it. I want to share a little bit of what he said because while he was talking about living with dementia, he said something that is so profound I can't help but not share it.

He was talking about later in the process of dementia when your loved one may get to the point of not even knowing who you are when you come to see them. Or maybe they get depressed or stop talking as much as they used to and aren't as responsive as they used to be. Sometimes when these things start happening, family members may be tempted to start pulling away from their loved one. For many reasons, but he said something that I will not forget anytime soon. He said, "if your husband can't remember your name, does that make them any less loveable?" It shouldn't.

Love, he said, was about giving, not getting. If you woke up every morning to a husband who didn't know who you were and didn't say much to you, would you love them any less? Some people may answer yes, but if you married someone because they knew your name, you settled too fast! Loving someone isn't about what the other person can give you, it is about what you can give them.

This was a humbling statement for me. Even without dealing with dementia, life in general serves up these moments where someone may not be as loveable as they were at another time in life, but if we truly love them, that doesn't matter.

Love isn't about how loveable the person you love is, it is about how willing you are to put yourself aside and love them anyway.

God loved us enough to send His only Son to die for us so that we could spend the rest of our lives with Him. I know there are times in my life where I am certainly unlovable. But I am so thankful for the love of God. He loved us when we yet were sinners. God is in the business of loving the unlovable and turning them into lovable people. We need to accept the love God has shown us and take it a step further to be the hands and feet of Jesus and love those who are unlovable. Show love and kindness to those who don't seem to deserve it.

So many times we dismiss people because they do things to us that make it hard to love them. Love them anyway! Blessings will come for you and them in the process.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

One Step at a Time!

Jonathan was such a great baby. He was usually happy and laughing and I never had many reasons to worry too much about him. He always seemed to make me feel like everything was fine. Have a bad day, come home to his smiles and laughs and it all dissappeared. Even when he was not feeling well, he still was pretty happy.

The whole first year of his life the one problem we seemed to have was ear infections. He constantly had an ear infection. We would get rid of one and a month later, we would have another one. We finally saw a doctor who refered us for him to get tubes in his ears.

The other thing that was beginning to weigh on my mind about this time was that he really wasn't walking. Now, I still wasn't too worried about it. He would crawl and stand, he just wasn't actually walking. I don't know what age you would actually worry about that, but being a first time mom, I worried a little about it.

Back to the ear infections. We took him in to get tubes put in his ears. It isn't a long or complicated proceedure but it does require them to be put to sleep. Obviously that was a little stressful just because he had not ever been put to sleep before. We went back with him until they were ready for him. They took him back, we walked around to the recovery area, and it was literally about two minutes and he was back in recovery. It took him five minutes or so to wake up and we were heading home. (One of the craziest experiences ever I think!)

He was cranky afterwards, but we took him home and laid him down for a nap. He took about a two hour nap and then woke up ready to play and as happy as he always was. I took him into the living room and put him down in the floor. The next thing I knew, he was pulling up on the end table. He had done that before so that wasn't a big deal. But then, he let go and just took off walking like he had been walking for months. I couldn't believe it. I guess the pressure and stuff in his ears had him off balance and wouldn't allow him to actually walk. He could stand but he couldn't take those steps.

The Lord reminded me of this story today. I think sometimes we are like Jonathan was. The pressures of life get us off balance and we have a hard time taking the steps we need to in order to move forward. Once something happens to change the pressure, we can start moving again.

This doesn't mean that the pressure will be removed. Maybe it will just be rebalanced or maybe we will just turn to the Lord and let Him hold the pressure up for us. Either way, when the pressure is shifted, we can start moving again. Until the pressure is shifted, as long as we get up and STAND, we will be ready to take off when the pressure shifts. Jonathan first steps were not a few slow steps and then falling back down. He was ready to walk because he had been taking small steps while holding onto the furniture and he had been STANDING when he couldn't walk. His strength was being built in the process.

Sometimes we don't see that the processes of life are building our strength. They are not there to tear us down. They are there to build our strength and prepare us for the next phase of life. So if you are going through a process and feeling pressure, turn to the Lord and let Him hold you up and prepare you for what's coming next.

Ephesians 6:10-13
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to STAND.