All the staff at the rehab center loved her - even though she could not carry on an intelligent conversation with them or care for herself. Though her face was sunken, pale and wrinkled, the speech therapist insisted she must have been a beauty queen at one time because of the shape of her face and the youth it still held at 77 years of age.
Other staff members agreed, her gentle nature touched a chord in them. Her smile could light up a room, though in her advanced stage of Alzheimer's, it was a rare occurrence now.
As they shared their feelings for my mother, I stood amazed. Grief over her wasted condition had clouded my eyes to God's ability to shine through the life of one of His children, even though she was nearing her final breath.
He spoke to my heart as I listened to the staff's comments - "I will bring glory to Myself - even through this terrible devastating disease because I am God."
Alzheimer's - the disease that steals a person's memory, life and dignity by inches - even this terrible disease cannot prevent God's Spirit from shining through the life of His child.
To me, it was a powerful reminder that we are all ministers for Him - no matter what our physical, mental or emotional condition. His Spirit will always shine through our lives and touch others if we develop an attitude of openness and servanthood for Him.
My mother knew that. Growing up in the Mennonite heritage, she knew what it meant to care for and serve others. Though she worked full time to help Dad provide for my brother and I, she made sure we were well cared for and loved. Later, she faithfully cared for others in nursing homes, through their singing and volunteer ministry. She has never ceased to minister for Him in one way or another. And she instilled the same philosophy of servanthood in my heart as well.
For those who say, "I am too old, what can I do to serve the Lord?" I have an answer now.
He doesn't measure our worth or our service by what we can DO for Him. He measures it in who we ARE for Him. As long as we allow Him to shine through us in everything we do or in every stage of our lives, He will continue to use us for His honor and glory. All we have to do is BE the person He created us to be.
Thank you Jesus - Amen!