Monday, February 4, 2013

A Ministry of Smiles

     Many years ago while my mother was living in a nursing home, I had the privilege of meeting a lady who has left a mark on my heart.  Her name was Mrs. Whitney.  She had what I call the "Ministry of Smiles" because every time I came to check on my mother this dear lady would offer a kind word and a smile.
     When I first met Mrs. Whitney, my mother's Alzheimer's had progressed to the point that she could no longer feed herself or speak.  Most of her days were spent in bed, and the 45 minute trip to see her while I was homeschooling our four children was difficult to make, but we usually came once a week to spend time with her.
      Upon entering the room, Mrs. Whitney smiled and introduced herself as my mother's new roommate.  From the moment I met her, I knew she was a wonderful Christian lady.  She quickly memorized the names of our children so she could recite them each time we came.  She also told me how she prayed for my mother each day and talked to her all the time even though she knew she could not respond. In addition, she read the Bible to her each and every day.  While my mother's body was weak, she had plenty of spiritual food to feed her soul.   What a blessing to my heart and a relief to know that God had provided an angel to watch over my mother!
       I found out later that Mrs. Whitney was an eighty year old widow.  She had suffered a stroke which took the use of her left leg and arm.  Her husband was a pastor for many years and they faithfully served the Lord together for 53 years until his death.  Despite her disability which confined her to a wheel chair and nursing home, she never missed the opportunity to praise God in spite of her circumstances nor did she miss a chance to smile.  She would always tell me that God was so good to her...more than she ever deserved.  What a testimony!
      Mrs. Whitney humbled me in heart and showed me that no matter what your age or disability we can still have an effective ministry for Christ.  She is an example of Matthew 5:13-16:  "You are the salt  of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor how shall it be seasoned?  It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.  You are the light of the world.  A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."  Mrs. Whitney was that salt and that light in the nursing home.
     I do not know what became of her after my mother passed away, but she left an indelible mark on my heart.  She is a shining example of the "Ministry of Smiles".  We all have a ministry God has called us to.  Not everyone is called to sing in a choir, preach a sermon, teach a Sunday school class, but we can all be good neighbors, steadfast friends, and offer a shoulder to cry on.  Each one of these is a ministry given by Christ for us to fulfill.  We are to be salt and light just like Mrs. Whitney.  Lets put on our Gospel shoes today and be about our Lord's business to bring someone the joy of the Lord in this dark world of ours.  You never know whom you will bless!  Selah!

Have you had a Mrs. Whitney in your life?  Someone who has blessed you?  I welcome your sharing here as it will encourage others.

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