Sometimes when mountains crumble it is good to be still and know that God is God…
I’m reminding myself of this again, as I see my mother-in-law struggling to remember. She’s almost 95, and has been living with us for about two and a half years because of her dementia. She struggles daily now to know who we are, where her bed is, and what she just did. She was a very intelligent woman, and now so often she shakes her head, and puts her hand to her forehead, and says, “I’m all mixed up. I’m so confused.”
It’s so hard to see her go through this. But it was even more emotional going through it with my own mother. Each new loss wrenched my heart. I still remember the day my heart crumbled…
I had been visiting a few minutes with Mom when she looked at me, as she often did, and asked that familiar question, “Who are you?”
“I’m Cheryl,” I replied. Usually this answer would cause her to smile and say, “Oh, Cheryl.” Or to ask “Cheryl Lynn?” with some recognition.
But that day she said, for the first time, “Cheryl…Who’s Cheryl?”
“I’m your daughter.”
“Oh,” she answered blankly. And then politely added, “It’s nice you came.”
I said, “I love you, Mama.”
“Oh, you do?”
“Okay,” she replied.
I told her about her four children and named all of them. She bit her fingernails and seemed uninterested. I told her she was a good mama to us and took good care of us all the time. And she answered, as if I was speaking of strangers, “Is that right?”
And I was sitting with Mom in the same living room where she watched over me when I was a little girl, where she threw me birthday parties, where she handed out Christmas presents with joy, where we read our family devotions every night, where she rocked her grandchildren with love…and she was asking me who I was. And wondering who Cheryl was.
And my heart crumbled and I fought tears.
I took a small Bible out of my purse and asked Mom if I could read to her and she agreed. I opened to the Psalms and read from chapter 46 (NLT)…”God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea…” And a little later in the chapter…“Be still, and know that I am God!”
Alzheimer’s is a changing world. It keeps quaking and shifting. And things we thought were strong and forever, like mountains and like a mother’s love, crumble away and slide into the sea.
There is no safe place in Alzheimer’s. You can never expect things to be better tomorrow. In fact you can be pretty confident they will be worse.
There is no safety or security in Alzheimer’s. But there is in God’s arms. He is our refuge and strength. He is our help. He didn’t say we would get through it all without tears. But He says we can do it without fear.
I can trust Him and be still and know that He is God.
I can’t control this disease. I can’t make my mother-in-law’s mind remember anything. But I can know that God is with us and that He will help us today and through it all. And I can know that in the end we will be with Him for eternity and all will be restored.
So today I will rest in that. And I will be still, as the mountain crumbles. And I will know that He is God.