We recently had the privilege of speaking with Mavis, a wonderful woman of Christ who is humbly obedient to the call of the Lord, and one of our Church Champions. Working with the elderly in care homes and hospitals, Mavis shares God’s love with some of society’s most vulnerable people and we wanted to share some of the stories with you. We hope they encourage and uplift you today.
Mavis told us a story about working in a hospital setting with dementia patients. During her time there, she led music sessions for the residents. At one of the sessions, she walked in to see a woman sitting with her head resting on the table. She was dribbling and considered ‘non-verbal’ by the staff because she hadn’t spoken in a very long time.
But God didn’t see brokenness. He saw His child who He loved. So, when Mavis handed out the hymn sheets and everyone began singing the hymn ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, God did the impossible, He renewed this woman in front of their eyes.
She lifted her head from the table and started to sing. She sang every single verse, word for word, without looking at the hymn sheet once as everyone looked on in amazement.
What a wonderful encouragement that even when we think someone is unreachable, even when we think they are unresponsive or they don’t understand, God can still work. As it says in Matthew 19:26, “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
God saw beyond the frailty of this woman, beyond her physical and mental decline, to the child He loves. We can be so encouraged in this that whatever stage of Alzheimer’s or dementia somebody is in; God can still reach them. It shows the heart of God, how He looks beyond the restrictions of our bodies, and works Spirit to spirit.
Mavis shared another story about getting reacquainted with a 92-year-old lady in a care home. It had been over 20 years since Mavis had seen this woman, but God wanted to connect with her and so He made a way for that to happen. Through Mavis and her simple obedience to His call, God was able to speak to this woman and meet her again after so long.
When Mavis arrived, the manager of the care home told her and her husband how this lady hadn’t come out of her room since she had arrived. When Mavis and her husband went into the room to talk to her, the woman shared her sorrows.
She said, “I haven’t stepped outside of my room because God has abandoned me here. He has thrown me into this care home. Nobody comes to see me. God should not have allowed me to come here.”
How relatable that is for so many of us. There are many times when we might feel abandoned by God, let down, or disappointed. But He does not shy away from our broken hearts. Instead, like Mavis and her husband, He draws near and wraps us up in His love.
Mavis invited this woman to a craft and communion group on Wednesday afternoon. After some persuading, she agreed to go but she refused to sit at a table with everyone else. So, Mavis’s husband offered to sit with her on their own table. And so, they sat together, one-on-one, and reconnected.
Soon, she became very poorly and the next time they visited her she was in the hospital. Mavis was with her the night before she died. During her visit, Mavis asked “so, are you still feeling the way you were?”
The lady shared how she had been listening to the wrong voices. And when Mavis’s husband took the time to sit with her in the corner, she felt like the Lord was sitting with her again, just like He used to be. She told Mavis that she and God were friends again. She said, “we have been friends for a few weeks, and I am ready to go home now.” She passed away that night.
With God, it is never too late. Even in the very final moments of life, God redeems and bring people into eternity with Him. Mavis shared how she does not know what an ‘ordinary’ situation looks like in this ministry. God works in marvellous ways and it is a privilege to share the love of Jesus Christ with other people. Ephesians 3:20 says, “now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.”
As Mavis so beautifully put it, “if I am not walking the gospel, if my life is not speaking the love of the Lord, then what is it about?” We should be transformed by God’s love for us. The more we lean into and learn about God, the more we will be transformed by Him. We must learn how to value the older generation in the same way God values them.
Each person we meet is an individual who is dearly loved by our heavenly Father. God sees beyond frailty, physical restrictions, Alzheimer’s and dementia, and sees the child He created. His love for us does not change or diminish over time, it does not alter based on our appearance or mental states. No, it is always constant, never changing, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
What a beautiful reminder. God loves you. Period. Nothing can keep God from loving you, not old age or sickness or mental decline. God works Spirit to spirit and with Him, nothing is impossible. “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27