Sunday, November 13, 2016

Not Only Survive, but Thrive

One of my current blessings: my daily trip to the nursing home offers beauty that nurtures my spirit. This has been an autumn of unusual, gold and green color, especially in the late afternoon when  I'm driving home after a visit with Mom.     
My high school home economics teacher taught us that whole cow's milk is such a complete food that one can live on milk, and milk alone.  "We can not only survive, but thrive on this food that offers everything our bodies need," she said. Although modern knowledge of nutrition would argue with her assertion, the phrase, "...not only survive, but thrive..." has stuck in my head over the years.

This morning, after my visit to the nursing home, I thought of how God's provision to us during adversity could be likened to what we once believed about the merits of milk; during hard times we can not only survive, but thrive because of His love.  Scripture says it like this: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done..."  (Genesis 50:19). This is from the account of Joseph, who suffered greatly at his brothers' hands, but was used by God to save his people from famine.

There is comfort to be found if we will look for God's hand even in things that break our hearts. It isn't that circumstances are magically made easy by this practice; I have encountered real difficulties during Mom's transition to nursing home care. However, I've also been provided the strength I need to meet those challenges along with some unanticipated blessings. For example, I've lost a good measure of my fear of nursing homes as I've spent time in the one that provides care for my Mom, and I've made some friends of several of the elderly patients I've met there.  I didn't know how much I missed being the youngest person in a room!  Their sweet smiles, kind gestures, and even their aged, gravelly voices have ministered to my heart in ways I didn't know I needed.

Now, I don't believe God has caused the hardship of Mom's Alzheimer's just to bring about these blessings.  But I have learned that if we look for His provision in the middle of difficult times, we will find what we need not only to survive, but to thrive.


  1. I have spent time in nursing homes over the past 20 years with several loved ones. There are so many opportunities to reach out and love others in that situation...even with a smile or just a touch. I'm so thankful to hear you are finding God's grace to be sufficient in this hard, difficult time.

    1. I appreciate your empathy, Georgene. I'm struggling, but I'm also very aware of the Lord's sustaining presence; blessed be His Name! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.