Making the Most of Every Opportunity

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Sometimes you just need to sit still and hold your loved one’s hand and sing every song you can think of. That’s what I did today.

There was still cleaning I needed to do, but Dad was putting his groceries away and doing some other chores and Mom was getting agitated and feeling alone. So I hung up the phone where I was waiting on hold to confirm an appointment. And I thought about those little sayings that people tell the young mommies, like—the dust isn’t going anywhere, but the childhood is. And I thought… that’s true for our time with the elderly, too.

Looking back at our journey so far with Alzheimer’s, I wish I’d gone out on more mom-daughter dates while Mom could still get in and out of the car fairly easily and was okay not having Dad right there all the time. Because now that door is closed.

And I wish I’d called her more often, while she still knew how to talk on the phone. Because now she doesn’t know what a phone is or how to hold it or how to talk in it. That door is closed.

But I am thankful I made scrapbooks with Mom when I first saw her memory changing.  Her long-term memory was still excellent then. I’m so grateful we went through old family photos together and talked about her childhood. We got it in before that door closed.

So, looking to the future, I wonder what I will be thankful for, or regret, when the next door closes.  God reminds us, through Paul, “Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.”  (Ephesians 5:16-17,NLT)

And I think, someday my momma won’t be able to sit next to me gently petting my arm and saying with surprise and laughter, “Oh, my goodness!” as I tell her stories of her own life.

And someday she may not be able to tap her fingers to the songs I sing and fill in some lyrics here and there and smile brightly at me. Someday she may not listen to me read the Bible and say, “I like that.”

Someday she may get no comfort from me sitting next to her while Dad is busy. But today she does.

And so I pray that I’ll be sensitive to God’s leading and promptings. And I pray that God will help me make the most of every opportunity and that I’ll understand what He wants me to do.

And today I will sit and hold Momma’s hand and sing every song I can think of. With a grateful heart.

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I wrote the above section in 2014. Now my dear momma is with Jesus. And looking back I’m so grateful for the opportunities I did seize and for the tender memories of that time. And as I read this post again, I’m challenged to look at the opportunities around me now and to pray about how I should best invest my time today.

Now I have young grandchildren to shower with love and make memories with. Now I have widowed neighbors still grieving their losses and other hurting people I can reach out to. Now I have adult children to pray for and encourage and a sweet husband to cherish. Now I have friends with health challenges. And I have health challenges, too. How can I best use the time God has given me in these circumstances? How can I best use the gifts and blessings He’s given me now for His glory?

It’s a question to bring to God prayerfully. And He promises to give wisdom to those who ask. Circumstances keep changing, but we always have our loving Father watching over us, our Savior Jesus walking with us, and the Holy Spirit teaching and guiding us. Let’s seek our triune God wholeheartedly as we journey into this new year and discover all He has planned for us! And then let’s make the most of every opportunity!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

7 comments

  1. I love your post, they always minister to me and give me pause for thought. I also learn many lesson and things to be so thankful for. Today it is for you and your writings and memories!

  2. There are so many things looking back that I would have done differently while caring for my mom. However, there is one thing I have no regrets about: I quit teaching when I realized my time with the mom I had always known was not going to be near as long as I had always envisioned. Mom’s dementia became quite evident to me at the time my grown children began their own families. I began to contemplate that my ageing parents would not be here much longer and that my grandchildren seemed to be growing up faster than my own children had. I had postponed having a career until my children were older and thought I had a plan for how the rest of my life would go. God had a different plan. God placed it on my heart that I needed to embrace HIS plan at this particular season in my life. It was then that I quit teaching and stepped onto a stage and into a role that was a strange mix of joyful days with my grandchildren and hard, sad days with my parents. In the midst of that season, my dear brother died suddenly and unexpectedly. The grief was overwhelming for me. What a blessing it was to spend time caring for my laughing, energetic grandkids after I had spent days in the hospital with one or both of my parents while feeling the heaviness of the loss of my brother. I am so thankful God used Ecclesiastes to speak to me : “There is a time and a season for everything.” Thank you, Cheryl, for your posts. They help me to remember a season in which God taught me so much about clinging to Him and His word during a difficult season of my life.

    1. Wow, Ivy! What a beautiful testimony and example! Thank you for sharing your story. I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother when you were caring for your parents and all the challenges that entails. I admire your decision to quit teaching to have more time for your family. And I totally understand the blessings and joy of grandchildren even in times of grieving. God knows we need that comfort. He is good and teaches us so much in our different seasons of life. May He continue to bless you and cover you in His grace.

  3. I don’t know how ‘beautiful” the testimony or example is because I went into the caregiver role kicking and screaming inwardly and questioning the Lord for allowing such a tragic illness to come upon my sweet parents who had dedicated their lives in service to others. The sudden death of my big brother who was my “hero”in many ways was beyond what I thought I would be able to endure. The Lord had so many things to teach me about the sufficiency of His grace no matter what life holds. I know ,without a doubt, that He was there right beside me being “near to the broken hearted.” I could not get out of bed in the morning nor sleep through the night wihout prayer and reading my Bible. This is how it should be always, no matter what our circumstances . I needed to be taught that lesson, which is the lesson of relying fully upon Him always in all things. I love one of my mom’s favorite songs, “God Leads His Dear Children Along.” God bless you always, Cheryl.

    1. Ivy, I understand questioning the Lord. I did, too. It’s so hard to understand. And I appreciate your frankness about your “kicking and screaming” feelings. I had some of that, too. And again, I’m so sorry about the love of your brother. So heartbreaking! Thank you for your testimony of seeking God through it all. I don’t know how people can get through it all without the grace and comfort He gives. And He taught me so much through it all, too. Thank you for sharing the song. I looked it up and listened to it, because I wasn’t familiar with it. It is a sweet comfort. May He continue to lead and comfort and bless you, Ivy.

      1. I’m praying for you, my sister in Christ. I know the Lord sees you and He is able to do above and beyond whatver we think or ask.

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