Parenting and Honoring My Parents
by Kathy Howard
Due to Mom’s worsening dementia, she could not stay alone while my father was hospitalized. Each day we drove to the hospital to spend the bulk of the day with Dad and then I took her home for the night.
During the drive one morning, I saw Mom rummaging in her purse in my peripheral vision. At a stoplight, I glanced over in time to see her touch a mascara wand to her lips.
“What ‘cha doin’ Mom?” I asked casually.
“I need a little color on my lips,” was her reply.
Seriously, what do you do with this? I could let her walk into the hospital with black lips, setting her up for possible embarrassment. I could stop her with a quick rebuke. Or I could ask God to help me do the right thing, the right way. I quickly asked God for wisdom and words.
“Mom, I’ve got some lipstick in my purse that would look great on you. Want to try it?”
Mom dropped the mascara in her purse and used my lipstick. Her feelings were spared and she was satisfied. I’d like to tell you every encounter is similar, but sadly it’s not. Too often I react from my own resources instead of God’s.
As our parents age, as illness takes it toll, they require increasingly more help. As the parent becomes more like a child, the child must take on the parenting role.
God’s Word teaches that honoring and caring for our parents is our God-given responsibility and pleases Him (1 Timothy 5:4). But is it possible to both care for and honor our parents?
We can do what’s best for our parents with kindness and respect. But we must first make sure our heart is right with God.
More than once I’ve caught myself trying to do the right thing in the wrong way. My impatience and selfishness fostered harsh words. I’ve learned that the end result isn’t all that matters. The words and actions we use to get there should comfort, encourage and strengthen our parents.
Honoring our parents while caring for them is not child’s play. But God stands by to supply everything we need to do the right thing, the right way.
A former “cultural Christian,” Bible teacher Kathy Howard now lives an unshakeable faith for life and encourages other women to also embrace real, authentic faith. Kathy is author of 8 books, including 30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents (May 2018). Get free discipleship helps on her website, KathyHoward.org. Connect with Kathy on Facebook and Instagram.