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 A Time For Spiritual Renewal

   Every evening, my Heavenly Father gives me a blessed and holy opportunity. This happens every night of my life without fail. Especially after a day of unusual emotional fatigue, I am so grateful for this time. I am sent to the feet of Christ Jesus, to minister to Him, worship and glorify Him, and be blessed by Him every single evening.

    God knows I expect more out of myself, than I am able to achieve. He knows how hard I try, how many times I fail, and how keenly I regret my failures. In His amazing love, every evening He gives me a time to revitalize my weary soul;. rekindle my belief that tomorrow I will, with Christ's help, do better. It is a time to refortify my emotional strength, restore new hope, revive sagging spirits, renew fading joy, and rejuvenate my thinking.

   This time is given me, through the lives of my three adult children with profound mental retardation. You see, two of these children are absolutely helpless, even to eat by mouth, and must be fed by tube. During the day, as I feed them, I talk to them, pat and stroke them, and tell them they are good, and how much I love them. When one is fretful for no reason I can discern, I lay my hands on that beloved child, and ask our Heavenly Father out loud to comfort and soothe. They never fret very long.

   The evening feeding is a time I use to tell them that Jesus loves them. A time to intimately praise my Heavenly Father, at their bedsides. And, in my praising Him, He blesses and comforts me, the same way that anyone, whose attention is directed toward Jesus, is blessed.

   Every evening after they are tucked in bed for the night, as I give the last tube-feedings of the day, I sing children's hymns of Jesus' love to these three of my children who cannot speak, and likely do not understand a single word of the songs. I sing because I believe that God can and does touch their spirits. He doesn't need me, to draw near to them, but it is a time of spiritual fellowship anyway. He makes Himself known to them purely out of love for them. He blesses them with His presence, out of His great love for them. These of my children will remain babies in their minds every moment of their lives here on earth, but this earth is not the important thing for them. Eternity is. Their minds and bodies here, are certainly lacking, but their spirits are undamaged and perfect. In Heaven, they will be whole and complete, just as I will be.

"I love You Lord, and I lift my voice
to worship You - oh my soul, rejoice!
Take joy, my King, in what You hear
let me be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear."

"Jesus loves me, this I know;
for the Bible tells me so!"

"Jesus, I adore You; lay my life before You, how I love You!"

"Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world..."

"Thank You Lord, for saving my soul
thank You Lord, for making me whole
thank You Lord, for giving to me
Thy great salvation so rich and free!"

"Jesus, Tender Shepherd hear me, bless Thy little lamb tonight,
through the darkness be Thou near me, keep me safe 'till morning light."

   These of my children, are indeed, Christ's little lambs. Vulnerable, and completely at the mercy of others, it is a blessing to mother them. In their very helplessness, I am given enormous inner rewards. I know that God is very close to them, and, in being honored to be their mother, God is very close to me, as I care for them. His presence is almost palpable to me, as I caress them, assist them, and show my love for them.

   There are days when someone in my world was especially irritating, and I was not as patient as I wish I had been. Those nights, when I think in penitence of the mistakes I have made during the day, I look to Jesus, and often sing in an impromptu way, my thanks to Him for His forgiveness, my appreciation of Him, and my adoration of Him.

   As I sing, the eyes of my children watch me. Two pairs of brown eyes, and one pair of blue. I remember the sweet eyes of those in my special nursery who did not live to grow up. Those fragile children I adopted and loved, who have gone on before me, to the presence of God. I have always loved my children's eyes.

   These three did live to become adults. One is nearly forty. Sometimes they watch me intently, other times their eyes wander away. But they listen, and they know I am singing to them. Do they know I am also singing to Jesus? No, probably not. Do they sense the devotion in my voice? Yes, I believe that Christ gives them that gift. Night feeding time is like our very short church service, and their bedroom is our humble chapel.

   "Oh, Holy Father, I thank You so much for forgiving my sins, and for loving me deeply in spite of my flawed perceptions, foolish mistakes, and imperfect decisions. For loving me even when I have spoken impatient or angry words that hurt others. What enormous pain I have caused myself this way.

   How can it be, that I, whose most intense desire is to please You, can fail so miserably? I am such a disappointment to myself. Oh, how I thank You for forgiving me each time, so that I can begin again!

   I do not know how You could treasure a person as lowly and imperfect as I am. But I am absolutely certain that You do. I am Your daughter, beloved by You.

   How I praise You and thank You for Your infinite patience, Your most tender grace, and Your endless mercy for me . Thank You for Your love for me in the face of all of my stumbling, falling and failures. In Jesus' precious name, Amen."

    * Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Matthew 5:7

2005 Rosemary Gwaltney