Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.—EXODUS 20:12 (NIV)
One summer our family headed to Seattle to help move my mother-in-law, Stevie, into an assisted living facility. She had reached the point in her battle with Alzheimer’s where she could no longer live alone.
It was a big surprise to us all when the facility said they wouldn’t take her; they believed she was a flight risk since she’d voiced that she didn’t want to live there.
My husband, David, and I were discussing options when I remembered a verse from Exodus that had continued to pop into my head over the previous few months: Honor your father and your mother.
“I think she’s supposed to live with us,” I said.
“Are you sure?” David asked.
“Yes.” And so Stevie moved in.
There were many challenges to having my mother-in-law around as I tried to homeschool our four children. I never
thought that part of their schooling would involve a grandparent with Alzheimer’s. They answered her repeated questions with the same level of respect as they did the first time she asked. They continued to honor their grandmother despite her disease.
I watched as they lived out the Bible verse I’d recalled. We all learned lessons about life I couldn’t teach from a textbook. I learned honor isn’t something that’s earned, but freely given.