Of Howling, Groanings and Grace

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It was a howling kind of day. A lot of them are now. But I’m learning lessons of groanings and prayer and grace without end…

Mom is struggling more and more to communicate. Her words are often confused. Many of her sentences don’t make sense. And she doesn’t know where we are or understand what we are doing, even though we tell her over and over again. She must feel powerless.

She doesn’t understand why arthritis makes it hurt when she walks. She doesn’t know why we are giving her baths or changing her clothes. She doesn’t like it. And she tells us, loudly and with boldness. With words and with howls. She reminds me more and more of a toddler, who can’t yet talk well.

But the difference is, of course, that a toddler’s communication and knowledge continue to improve. Whereas Mom’s, without a miracle, will continue to decline. People who’ve been through AD to the end have given me sad and knowing looks and have said things like, “There is so much they never tell you.” It’s scary to think of the future. I got a book from the Alzheimer’s Association, and Dad doesn’t even want to hear the last stage stuff. It’s too painful to think about.

But as I was reading my Bible tonight, I was comforted by a couple things. One was the story of Jehoshaphat, in 2 Chronicles 20. King Jehoshaphat was told a vast army was coming against him. And he was understandably afraid. And then, instead of gathering his troops, he “set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast…” (vs.3, NKJV)

And he prayed a simple, profound prayer that I’ve often clung to and repeated in my own days of fear and confusion…”For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” (vs. 12, NKJV)

Alzheimer’s disease is one big battle after another coming against us. I’m powerless to stop it, or to protect Mom from it. Unless God gives us a miracle, or Jesus returns soon, we will have to go through the whole war of it. I don’t know what to do. But God does. My job is to keep my eyes on Him, to pour out my heart to Him with a heart of faith and trust, and do what He tells me to do.

I take comfort in that prayer. Lord, I don’t know what to do…but my eyes are upon You. He will give me grace, day by day. He will get us through this. He is faithful.

And if/when the day comes that Mom can no longer communicate at all, and for the days that I am depleted and have no words, I will take strength in knowing that…”the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26 (NKJV)

Wow! The Spirit Himself will pray for Mom. In that sense, she will always be able to pray—no matter what. Thank You, Lord, for the comfort of that truth and for Your love and grace that will never end.


  1. Thank you Cheryl. Your blog has given me glimpses of humor in an otherwise not,life. My motto is “Laughter to tears” enjoy the journey.
    Thank you for your faith, wisdom, scriptural verses, and the love you show.
    I’m just really starting this journey, with my husband. At 65 years old, he’s too young. We haven’t been married long enough, almost 47 years.
    I’ve known something was wrong for two plus years, but about eight months ago, he came to me and said he couldn’t remember words. I immediately made him an appointment with a neurologist. And the diagnosis was dementia, Alzheimer’s evil twin.
    Again thank you, you’ve given me glimpses into my future life, hopefully with the grace, wisdom and patience, you’ve shown.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Darlene. I’m so sorry your husband has dementia. God will give you grace one day at a time. Take shelter under His wings. Keep remembering to laugh whenever you can. Blessings! ~Cheryl~

  2. Your faith in God and His Word is uplifting to my fearful and distraught heart. My mom is in the early/moderate stage. I am deeply grieving the gradual loss of my mama and I am terrified of the future. I am also often in denial trying to resist the reality that my mom has this awful disease. I also struggle with “why my mom” when same-age or older family members & friends are healthy. I am single with no children and thinking about having to face this on my own is terrifying. I am trying to conciously recall the faithfulness of God in my life and asking Him to help me believe that I am not alone and that He is sovereign and good. Your words and the verses you shared in this article really touched my heart today. I will memorize these verses and pray them everytime fear comes attacking. Thank you and please pray for me.

    1. I’m so sorry, HS. It’s a hard journey, but God will be with you. I’ve had the “why” thoughts too. And fears. There will always be things to trust God for and with. I’m thankful to hear you’re planning to memorize the Bible verses. There is so much strength in God’s Word! I cling to His words and they do help so much. I will pray for you, HS. I hope you’ll keep in touch and let me know how I can continue to pray. May God bless and comfort you and fill you with Hus grace and strength!! 💞~Cheryl

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