Jana began to notice that her mother-in-law, Betty, seemed despondent. Jana loved Betty, and it was really hard to watch her sinking emotionally. Jana prayed for Betty every day, but it appeared to her that Betty was not snapping out of her depression.
Jana could not shake the feeling that she should do something to help Betty. She confessed that she had no idea what that could be. She continued to pray “O Lord, show me what I can do for Betty.”
Then one day an idea came to her. She thought she should move her mother-in-law into her home to be around her two young children, Dick and Donna. She thought the children would give her purpose to carry on with her life.
Jana could hardly wait for her husband, Fred, to come home and share this new revelation with him. After she told her thoughts of moving his mother into their house, she asked, “What do you think?”
Fred agreed, “I think that is a good plan, but after we suggest it to her, we need to let it be her decision.”
Jana called Betty the next day and asked if she would like to go to lunch with them after church on Sunday. Betty seemed pleased that they had invited her and agreed to the date.
In the meantime, Fred started thinking about the proposed plan. He didn’t think his mother would like to be in the middle of their day-to-day family life. Fred also was a man of prayer and submitted his concerns to God. Before the week was out, he had a vision of building a room and bath on the back on their house that would become “Betty’s Place.”
When Fred arrived home from work that Thursday evening, he told Jana the plan that had been revealed to him that day. Jana said, “Oh that is a wonderful idea!”
Fred and Jana made arrangements with friends to take their kids to lunch so they could talk privately to Betty. After church that Sunday, the kids left for lunch with their trusted friends.
Fred drove Jana and Betty to their destination. They were seated and ordered their meal. While they were waiting, Fred started the conversation saying, “Mother, Jana and I know that you are still missing Dad a lot. We have come up with a plan that we hope you’ll be as excited about as we are. This plan started as an idea that Jana received after one of her sessions in prayer.”
Jana broke in, “Yes, I think it would be a good idea for you to move into our house, but before you decide, let us tell you the rest of the story.”
Fred interrupted, “I had an additional revelation after prayer this week. I thought we should build your own room and bath on the back of the house so you would have complete privacy when you wanted it.”
We might imagine that a plan like this would cause Betty to say she needed time to think about it or that she would reject it altogether. Instead, she enthusiastically accepted their generous offer.
Dick and Donna were told immediately after they got home from their lunch. They both were so excited that they were going to have their grandmother living right there in their house.
About three months later the addition was ready for Betty to move her things into “Betty’s Place”. Her depression lightened and she demonstrated a renewed sense of purpose.
Jana is not the only person who loved her mother-in-law so much. The story of Ruth in the Bible tells about the incredible love she had for her mother-in-law, Naomi. Ruth left her own people to be with Naomi. In Ruth 1:16 these words are recorded, “But Ruth replied, ‘don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.’” (NIV)
Ruth and Naomi went to Bethlehem. It was part of God’s plan because King David was born in this town. His great-grandmother was Ruth, and out of David’s line, Jesus was born.
Betty and Naomi were remarkable mother’s-in-law. They were both greatly loved by their daughter’s-in-law.
Betty lived several years in “Betty’s Place.” After her death, Jana said, “She was a blessing to me.” That kind of tribute is given to a life well-lived.
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