I’m living smack in the middle of a generational sandwich. If you haven’t heard the term before, “sandwich generation” refers to adult children taking care of both an elderly parent (or parents) and their own children. My husband and I take care of my elderly mom, along with our children, ages 15, 14, 10, 9, 6, and 3.
It’s a lot.
To make things more complicated, my mom and I didn’t have a relationship until a year ago. She was abusive to me growing up and then didn’t speak to me for 17 years after I got married. We only reconnected last summer after my mom’s neighbor reached out and let me know my mom needed help following a health issue.
This past week, I had a really bad attitude about having to care for my mom. I needed to spend the night at her house to keep an eye on her, which is something I don’t love doing. I’d much rather be tucked in my own warm bed, under the same roof as my husband and children. If I’m being honest, I’m a little resentful about caring for her when she has hurt me so much. I’ve forgiven her, but that doesn’t make caring for her any easier.
Then a thought hit me that could only have come from God: “Instead of doing this for her, what if you did it for Me?”
This simple shift in perspective changed everything for me.
Paul tells us in Ephesians that we should serve with a good attitude as unto the Lord, not to man (or in my case, mom). How can I have a bad attitude about doing this small thing for my mom when God has done so much for me? Instead of feeling like I was serving someone who, in my earthly opinion, doesn’t deserve it, I could serve joyfully because my gift was to God.
So with this change in attitude, I stayed with my mom overnight. While I wasn’t overjoyed about it, I was content. I was able to show her the love and care that she needed. And isn’t that what being a Christian is all about? Finding strength in God’s love for us and loving others when it’s hard.