Sandwich generation. This is what they refer to the people who are parenting their children at the same time they are “parenting” their parents.

I need to be clear here…I am not at the point where I am parenting my parents full time, or even most of the time, but there have been brief moments in time where I have experienced a nibble on this whole sandwich generation thing.

And boy oh boy. What’s that expression about what goes around comes around??? In those brief moments I’ve had, I wondered if I was as stubborn and all knowing as my parents were being in those moments. To be honest, I’m a-thousand-percent sure I was!

God Himself made this one of the ten commandments. To me, this shows that He knew this would not be easy for our human nature to do on it’s own.

“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you.”
Exodus 20:12

But, this is not just mentioned in the Old Testament, you can find it in the New Testament also:

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.”
Ephesians 6:1-3

It’s been the brief “sandwich generation” moments that I’ve had that have opened my eyes to all the “Honor Your Parents” examples that are happening around me. Moments that I am tucking away to pull out in those times when parenting your parents is hard.

There’s been 3 recent examples that stick out in my head:

1. There’s a lady I know who has a wonderful set of parents that were so full of life. However, as life on this earth does, their bodies changed. He suffered a stroke, so her mom became a care taker. That is, until her mom started to show signs of dementia. Now, this sweet lady is the caretaker. And I’ve never heard her complain. My sweetheart and I have promised to not use qualifier words such as “always” and “never”, but it’s true in this case. I truly have not heard her lips utter one word of complaint.
She’s honoring her father and mother. And I’m watching.

2. In church this past Sunday, while the sermon was being preached, I saw a real-life sermon a few rows in front of me. I wanted so badly to pull up the camera on my cell phone and snap a pic, so I could share it with you all, but alas, I didn’t, so my words will have to do. There’s a lady that brings her elderly mother to church each Sunday. Her mama does her best to stand up to sing each time we stand for praise and worship songs, and if she has a hard time getting all the way up, her daughter is there to help. But that’s not what I noticed…I noticed the smallest of gestures that struck such a deep cord in my being. Since the daughter was sitting on the mom’s left, and since the preacher was on the mom’s right, the mom’s hair was in the line of sight from the daughter to the preacher, and the daughter reached up to “fix” her mama’s hair. A small little bald spot had peeked it’s way through the short curls, and the daughter was separating out one of those short, white curls to cover it up.
She was honoring her mother. And I was watching.

3. There’s yet another lady in our church who takes care of her elderly parents full time. I don’t recall a time when I’ve seen this lady NOT wearing a smile. On Sunday after church, I asked what their lunch plans were and if they were going out. She replied, “Oh yes! I cook for my parents three times a day, but not on Sunday lunch. On Sunday lunch, we go out.”
Three times a day! I don’t even cook for my family three times a day!
She’s honoring her father and mother. And I’m watching.

It’s so awesome that when you and I surround ourselves with a body of believers, that we can “see” “sermons” all around us. Does this mean that everyone in the church is perfect, and follow all the ten commandments at all times? Heavens no! But, it does mean that I can learn from like-minded people who go before me. And for this, I am so grateful.

Father, THANK YOU so much for providing real-life examples of what “honoring your father and mother” look like. Please be with each of these sisters-in-Christ that I mentioned. Bless them. Keep them. Strengthen them as they are in this season of life. Lord, you know that there are so many others that you’ve shown me, who are living out this command as well. Please bless them too. Thank you for sending Jesus, who served others around Him, to be an example for me as well. God, You are the ULTIMATE parent, and You tell us that as we do unto others, we do unto You. In those hard moments of service, to our parents, to our children, to others around us, please remind us that we are ultimately doing it for You. In Jesus Holy name I pray, Amen.