I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you. Isaiah 46:4 NLT
As we were singing “How great Thou art!” at the nursing home last week; it occurred to me that some of my friends could no longer remember where they were or how they had come to live there. A few had forgotten their children’s names and one or two, even their own. But as we sang that familiar chorus; most had no trouble at all remembering the words as our voices lifted up in praise.
That experience made me remember that what matters most is not how smart we are, how much money we have in the bank or where we live; but in how much we trust in God. He has given a promise to carry us not only during the decades of our youth and strength but on through white hair and failing eyesight. His love for us is an eternal and unchanging commitment. Even if everyone else forgets, He will still take care of us. He has promised to carry us for a lifetime: and His promise is forever!
For those who have been touched by the advance of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia this heartwarming and startlingly practical idea will be a blessing. May God bless you as you continue to do your best to give dignity and loving respect to those who are living in a world we can no longer fully understand.
It’s been quite a while since I released anything new on Nursing Home Ministry. This book New Beginnings in Care Ministry gives a wider view of Long Term Care ministry than what I have written in the past. If your life has been touched by long term care, through a family member, your job or as a volunteer I pray that this short collection of stories and insights will be a blessing. This is available in both softcover and E-book formats through Amazon.
The change in name of this web-site does not mean we are going to stop sharing about nursing home ministry but rather that there will now be included different types of similar outreach to. Right now the entire traditional nursing home as an institution is undergoing change at an amazing pace. Each year new places are opening offering specialized facilities such as assisted living; memory care along with skilled nursing. While some assisted living communities are beginning to resemble 5 star resorts while others are far more plain and cater to those with mental and physical disabilities.
What these changes mean for those of us who are volunteering is that we need to adapt and prepare for the new and more complex world of long term care. Someone once told me that during times of change it is important to know that what is happening is not what is going on. What we need to do is to see what is really going on!
Decades ago the emergence of large skilled nursing institutions at first created barriers between the church and the people behind those walls which often left residents feeling isolated and alone. But when we changed our approach to reaching our neighbors behind inside those places we discovered that inside those facilities were new and unique opportunities to serve.
New Beginnings is an effort to shed light on the latest developments in long term care along with ways to continue sharing the love of God in those new settings. Today I’ll simply begin with the term “Nursing home ministry” and offer a suggestion that we instead begin to call our various outreaches “Care ministry”.
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. John 13:14 ESV
Our work is “Care Ministry” because no matter where we serve or what title we hold our purpose as God’s servants is to show His love (care) by washing feet. Foot washing means meeting ordinary needs for the extraordinary reason of the love of Jesus Christ. When we meet the needs of others it won’t really matter where we meet them. Whether that location looks like a resort or a last resort; the people who live there need to know that God still remembers and cares about them. He is just as concerned with the rich as the poor. God is equally burdened for the intelligent as for the mentally challenged. Not a single sparrow escapes his attention. When we show we care in a thousand different ways we are in fact serving in “Care Ministry”.
If you have stories of your own as a volunteer in any area of care ministry I invite you over the next weeks and months to share your own stories here. If we would connect with one another; together we can all learn how to better wash the feet of people in our own city, town or village.