This week I had a deep experience with Jesus when I went to Tennessee to help with my elderly parents after my mother fell and broke her leg. She is 90 years old and Daddy is 94. There are not many people my age with both parents still living and healthy, and facing losing them was quickly becoming a possibility. They are both sharp and fairly healthy and have been living alone with just a little help. By the time I got up there she was in rehab and working hard to learn her new skills using only one leg until the other one heals. She has a good attitude and is determined to go home. That was good news, but I arrived with a guarded heart that was prone to remember past struggles I’d had with her instead of seeing through Heaven’s eyes.
Right after the accident, I struggled for a few days not knowing what my role would be with helping them because I live four hours away. I decided that I would go up after my other sister from Texas left to go home. I was somewhat resistant to be gone very long because of my life here at home, the drive, just plain being a homebody, and those difficult issues we all have with being with family too long. So I left with my heart slightly closed, more or less going out of obedience to the Lord.
Upon arriving, I went to the rehab center and saw Mother. My heart was broken to see her so helpless. But fear about the past struggles kept a piece of my heart still closed. I was relieved to see that Daddy was able to do more for himself than we all thought he could. Other family who live there had set up a schedule for different people to stay with him at night and keep the household going and drive him around. As the days passed, I could see that Mother is in a good facility and that they would be taken care of until we see how she is when she comes home.
On the last night I was to be there, God began to work on the rest of my slightly closed heart. I had a connection with Daddy like none I had ever had as an adult. He opened his heart to me and I was barely able to hold it together until I could get to my room and cry. He was so vulnerable and kind and sweet and scared. As I prayed and pondered the whole situation, I realized how tender hearted I am and that keeping my heart closed was not like me, not like the heart that Jesus gave me. The crack widened. The next morning as I was about to leave the rehab center to come home, I could no longer keep back the tears. I saw my mother through Heaven’s eyes and my heart was again flooded with His true love for her in spite of anything she had done in the past or might do in the future. I wanted my last years with her to be open and full of unconditional love. I didn’t want to leave. I went to my car and called Jodi so I could get calm enough to drive. It was time to go home, but I knew it would be easier to come back the next time.
God is the one who worked this out in me. It just kind of happened. Listening to a CD for four hours on my drive up there was partly what He used to work it through. Click here to see CD. Seeing others through God’s eyes changes how we see them—and it changes us. It does not diminish that they have done wrong things or that they have hurt us, but seeing someone as God sees them opens the possibility for His love to pour through us. When His love pours through us, not only do they benefit, but we benefit, too–from being the conduit.
After I was home and had some time to process everything, I saw Jesus kneeling before me—so loving, so proud, so glad to be with me; so glad I wanted to live from the heart that He gave me—a loving, nurturing, bonding, tenderhearted heart like His. His presence was more real than the chair I was sitting on.
NOTE: If you have been badly abused by someone, I am not saying you need to be in a relationship with them. I am talking here about the regular difficulties that we have with others who hurt us and can be difficult to be with sometimes. Always listen to Jesus about those to whom you might open your heart.