Monday, October 28, 2013


Yes, just a piece of bologna.

(By the way, why is that pronounced "buh–lo–nee" and not "bo–log–nuh"?
I just want to know…though in my case, a piece of baloney might be more accurate…just sayin’)

A piece of bologna – firmly sandwiched in between my grown sons and my aging parents.

In fact, there is an actual term called The Sandwich Generation. Truly – looked it up on Wikipedia:

The Sandwich Generation is a generation of people who care for their aging parents while supporting their own children.

So, that would be me.

My sons are 27 and 30 – (how did THAT happen??) – and my folks are 83 and 80. (Sorry, Mom, for divulging that…)

And here's how life is playing out right now.

Sons #1 and #2 have moved out, but they still need Mom from time to time. It seems that those boys who were soooo eager to grow up  ("You're so lucky, Mom. You're a grown-up. You don't have to go to school") – have finally discovered the ugly truth.

Being an adult isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Life just gets more complicated. The issues are more confusing, and the answers aren't as straightforward. The world does its seductive best to steer you away from following Jesus. Money concerns rear their ugly heads – and job security (when jobs can be found) isn't what it used to be.

So, my sons need me – for listening, for advice, for counsel, for faith wisdom, for help.

It's a good thing, a blessed thing, when your all-grown-up-adult-children turn to you. When they talk with you, and want to spend time with you. I see so clearly how God is still using me as their mother. And I am grateful for the privilege.

On the other end of the spectrum are my folks.

Who are becoming more and more like children.

They are becoming increasingly more dependent on me. Their lives are getting more complicated, with confusing issues and answers that aren't so straightforward. They are navigating a new journey through old age – and it's a treacherous path. They are sometimes scared, sometimes unsure  often just overwhelmed and daunted.

So, my parents need me – for listening, for advice, for counsel, for faith wisdom, for help.

It's a good thing, a blessed thing, when your aging-childlike-parents turn to you. When they talk with you, and want to spend time with you. I see so clearly how God is still using me as their daughter. And I am grateful for the privilege.

But boy oh boy, this bologna gets tired.

Those bread slices *sandwich* me pretty tight sometimes, and I am weary as of late.

There are times when I'm just at the end of what I can give. When I am unsure of what to say or do. When I don't have the energy to be what they need me to be. When my love doesn't seem like enough.

Does anyone understand?

As you know, I am having to spend more time with my parents. I recently spent a week with themI truly hadn't felt like driving down there, but…

…they needed me.

And so I went.

And that is the essence of following another One who knows what it's like to be sandwiched.

Think about it.

Here's Jesus – firmly sandwiched between heaven and earth. Jesus – with the heart of God and of man within Him. An eternal being placed into time. Talking with God, and talking to humans. Capable of hearing angels, yet listening to critics. The Creator of Life, facing death.

Jesus – sandwiched between glory and dust.

Did He grow weary like me?

Oh yes, I'm sure He did. I can almost hear Him pray on the mountain, when He ventured there alone to speak with His Father:

"Father, there are times when I'm just at the end of what I can give. When I am unsure of what to say or do. When I don't have the energy to be what they need me to be. When my love doesn't seem like enough. Help me, Father."

So, why did He make the effort?

Because we needed Him.

Jesus did it out of love. 

A love that stretched beyond His weariness, and empowered Him with grace. A love that practiced patience, with sometimes difficult and stubborn people. A love that enabled Him to be a servant, when the work of serving was unrewarding. A love that listened and cared and forgave…

A love that stooped to wash the feet of some really dirty disciples.

A Love that died, so that we might reap the benefits.

So, I count it as a privilege that I have been called to be a piece of bologna. Because in some way, I feel like I am sharing in the great mission of sacrificial love that Jesus brought to this world – the love that Jesus brought to me.

I am serving Him by serving others.

And I count that a real joy and blessing.

(Could I just have a little more mayonnaise, please?)

I will bloom where I am planted.

"Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, 'Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.'"  (Mark 9:35, NIV)

"In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35, ESV)

"A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." (Proverbs 11:25, NIV)

"Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full--pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back." 
(Luke 6:38, NLT)

"So let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up." (Galatians 6:9, NLT)

"...serve one another humbly in love.  For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" (Galatians 5:13-14, NIV)

How are you serving God when it's tough to do so?

(NOTE: This was a very timely re-post).

Linked today with:

Jen at UNITE
BLOG = "Blessedly Leaning On God!"


  1. Sharon my years for that were about ten years ago. The final year 2002-2003 were the worst on my health then any other. It is plain hard. I thought once I was done with that things would be better. Guess what God gave me more, yet different stresses. I asked Him why - He didn't really say. Maybe it is my mountain in life to live with stress - I read that somewhere and I wish I could tell you where - maybe it was yours!!! It is hard.

  2. Sharon,

    I love the analogy of the sandwich...especially a bologna one. Although I actually do love bologna, being a sandwich is not easy. I have an adult son who still needs his mama in a big way through his years of struggling with alcohol...his is doing better but it seems just when I think his life is getting more stability, he stumbles and falls. I felt like the middle of the sandwich when either my husband or my younger son didn't understand the compassion I had for him. There is nothing like a mother's love...not even a father's. Things have changed for the better somewhat...once we educated ourselves about addiction over the years, my husband and other son have dropped most of their anger and disapproval and replaced it with love and compassion. God is working on him ...alot of spiritual warfare going on right now...and it is only through Him that he will be able to conquer this.

  3. HI Sharon, I don't have ageing parents (sometimes feel I am one) but do have children and grand children, who I still have to be here for. Oh to be like Jesus, but it is good to be reminded that He too felt the stresses and strains of human life. Have a blessed week

  4. Sharon, this is just might me my favorite analogy of yours yet. Being in the between of life is not always comfortable. But thank you for encouraging others to see it in a fresh new way.

  5. "Jesus – sandwiched between glory and dust."

    I'll be chewing on that little bit of delish bologna and mustard sandwich (I always preferred the mustard) on my way out now to the post office. Brilliant metaphor and totally appropriate. You ARE reflecting Christ and may you know His all sufficient Grace slathered between those bread slices - for His glory from your dust.

    Joy to you, kindred one . . .

  6. Blessings Sharon... WOW! Another masterpiece! No baloney in this bologna of being sandwiched! I so appreciate you sharing transparently the difficulties of this 'sandwich generation' (there is a blogger who writes and her blog is on this) but God knew in His wisdom that I could not bare being a sandwich ... however, you beautiful spiritual part of this, humbled me in knowing how blessed we are to know Jesus and how He knew us and dealt with being sandwiched between earth and heaven. Kinda like us longing to be home yet knowing we need to "finish" His business especially with loved ones needing to surrender to Him still so NOT ONE would perish. Wanting Him to come but hoping He waits for them or hurries up and saves them, even if they need some "mustard" instead of mayonnaise ... yep, that mustard size faith when we need to be planted and grow still.

    How beautiful that plant growing in your photo!

    I love how you repeated this and changed it! (I did not remember this as a repost) Sorry if I missed it the first time round. Quite possible with my AWOL status these past 2 yrs. whoa that's long.

    "It's a good thing, a blessed thing, when your all-grown-up-adult-children turn to you. When they talk with you, and want to spend time with you. I see so clearly how God is still using me as their mother. And I am grateful for the privilege."

    Since I don't know the other half but have a spouse who fits with your parents age and health difficulties. However, I wondered how Jesus would say this same thing as you did for your adult children and parents:

    "It's a good thing, a blessed thing, when your all God's children turn to You, Father. When they talk with You, and want to spend time with You. I see so clearly how You are still using me as their Savior, their Redeemer, their Shepherd, their Guide, their Healer ... it's really an endless list and purpose.
    And I am grateful for the privilege."

    Yet WE, His children, His daughters are the precious, privileged ones just to know Him, to love Him, to serve Him more completely each day. Yes, it comes from being the "bologna" and never with a baloney attitude and we grow weary being in between our earthly home and our promised eternal home, HOPING that all the ingredients we need are within our grasp to help others to that same HOME with Jesus and Our Father!

    Sad to say or write the answer to your question is not from a position of strength and empowerment of His Holy Spirit as I should be able to say, but my tendency has been to "retreat", escape, run away ... yeah, sounds like a shirk my responsibilities even if I delve into something else to serve God, in the back of my mind, I know, I have run from serving Him right where He placed me and with whom He placed me, thinking there must be "something more" out there in His world (better for me to be doing)... No, the Truth is right beneath your photo!

    Struck me once again with conviction and yet I am where I am and by the grace of God, I am hearing His voice and listening to His directions as I obey Him wholeheartedly ... not half a heart her and half a heart there. All for Jesus! as He wills... not mine but Thine. So I go to my knees, once again... and ask Him!

    Thanks Sharon (even if it is a repost, I'm sure there was a godly reason)!
    Love and peace,

  7. You asked if anyone understands... I understand, Sharon. I'm tired and feel like life is on "hold". But, I also know that God has me right where He wants me for now. My goal is to seek Him as I'm living this stage of my life. Prayer is my mainstay!!

    Blessings, Joan

  8. I love that flower in the picture with your "I will bloom where I am planted." I love your sandwich analogy with Jesus. I hadn't quite thought of it before in the way you wrote. Gave me something to think about.

    It is good that your sons still want to come to you for advice, it is great they realize you have wisdom :)

    It is hard with aging parents, I saw it played out with hubby's parents.

    keeping you in my prayers!


  9. Sharon, I needed to read this tonight. Thank you. :)

  10. Wow; this is a great piece of writing Sharon! Loved your analogy between bologna and our mid-life years. We imagine that when our children have become adults that we will have less responsibility, but (thankfully...really!) they need us just as much! I remember what a blessing it was for me when I was caring for my mother; even though it was very tiring; I was blessed beyond measure to give back some of what she provided for me growing up. Thankfully, we have Jesus during these times for our needs, for strength, and for wisdom.

    Blessings and love for strength and endurance sister!

  11. I remember this post! Either that, or you have shared your baloney with me in an email and I remember it from there. The analogy is not only excellent; it's encouraging and instructive.

  12. Dear Sharon
    I think you have found the solution for the tiredness when you are at a place where you have nothing more to give, sweet friend; spending time with your Pappa asking Him to supple all the grace and love you need. We cannot give what we do not have, and He has invited us so beautifully to draw near to Him in our time of need to receive His endless grace and mercy. I want to honor my husband for with my illness, Fm/ME, I have to depend on him for so much and he serves me with so much love and compassion. I truly thank our Lord for him.
    Blessings XX

  13. Yes...know it well. My mother in law is 98...parents are in their mid 70's with extreme health issues...and my oldest turns 30 next month. Blessings as you walk this out.

  14. There are times when we feel as if we are caught in the middle, as you so aptly put it like a piece of bologna in a sandwich. I like they way you said, Jesus was also in the sandwich between heaven and earth. May God grant you wisdom as you feel you are being pulled perhaps three ways all at once. Wise words are as sweet honey comb, and He will give you wisdom to share with your family. Thank you for sharing with us here at “Tell Me a Story.”

  15. Hi Sharon, my girls are 18 and 20 and I think I'm starting to feel the opposite (for now). The bread is deserting the Bologna at the moment and I tend to feel quite alone. But God is dealing with me in this and He pretty much let me know what you have been saying above. New season of new relationship! Great post Sharon and praying for you in it all.
    God bless

  16. Hi Sharon, "Miss Bologna", I would like to know who doesn't feel like you do at times. I just got back from visiting my son who turned 30. (Our children are similar ages.) And my Dad needs help all the time. My in-laws are gone now, but we helped them both, and my husband is the primary help for his 95 yr old aunt. Yikes.

    But you are right to say that it's a good thing. Wouldn't we hope that there would be someone for us when we get old and cranky?? Ok, just me then. You won't get cranky. God bless all your helps and burdens. You are a huge blessing to your family. And me!

  17. Very well written. I totally understand. I have been there. Now both my parents are with the Lord, my children are married, and have children. Although they come to us when needed they seem to have their thoughts and lives in the right place.
    Stick with it. It is really worth the time and effort - you gain lots even though you feel tired.

    Would love you to consider linking to Sunday Stillness. I am following you from Wisdom Wednesdays.

    1. Thanks Janis for your encouragement from the other side...

  18. Great analogy. We are experiencing this with a crisis with my husband's father's health...and grown kids with their issues. Thank you for sharing so wisely...Visiting from Winsome Wednesdays...

  19. Hang in there Sharon! It is worth it... My parents have both passed away and believe me if I could have them and serve them for one more day I would be so happy. He is your strength when you are waery and weak!!! Sending you a huge hug and love. My prayers are with you!!! Blessings, Natasha... Following you from Winsome Wednesday.

  20. I just love your analogies! Thank you for linking with Woman to Woman's Word Filled Wednesday!

  21. I love the analogy and reminder of Christ. Thanks for sharing that.

  22. That touched me in many ways--humor mixed with heartache and joy. I can see that I may walk that same road in about 10 years. This is a post I'd like to file away for the future! Blessings to you as you serve your family and master. Found you through Faithful Fridays...

  23. Such a powerful message. I have a few grown children who still need me, a teen and pre-teen at home, and aging parents who, although not quite dependent on us yet, I know that time is coming. Praying you have a blessed weekend.

  24. Needed this today, although my situation is different, I pray I will not grow weary in doing good.

  25. You write the most intriguing titles, Sharon! What a gift. Thank you for the message you've provided with it. Blessings to you today!


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

(NOTE: Anonymous comments will be removed. Thank you for understanding.)