It helps me, in these days of Covid and conflict and fires and floods and people yelling and arguing everywhere over everything, to look back at the lessons God was teaching me when I was taking care of my dear mom as she declined with Alzheimer’s. It surprises me how many of the lessons apply to life in general.This post reminds me to look for the grace gifts God sends each day… And to seek a heart of grace for others…
Finding God’s Grace Gifts
October 7, 2015
In the midst of Mama’s angry dementia, God sent me a sign of His tender mercies…
Mom shouts so much these days. And she frequently shouts, “I hate you! I hate you, Mama!”
I don’t believe she hates anyone, and certainly not her mama. It’s just the name that flows out without thought. Probably the first word she ever said. The name she hollers out in her distress.
The other day I was changing Mom and cleaning her up and she was shouting in a loud, rough voice, “I hate you! I hate you, Mama!”
And then suddenly she turned and looked at me. And in a soft, reassuring tone she said, “I don’t hate you.”
I think it was a grace gift from God.
She sounded normal, like her old self. Like somehow in the midst of her dementia she had a moment of clarity, and wanted to make sure I knew she wasn’t yelling hate at me.
It warmed my heart and I smiled and said, “Thank you for telling me that, Mama.”
And it brought back sweet thoughts of the caring person Mama is. And it reminded me to look for the grace gifts.
Alzheimer’s is hard. It continues to get more difficult. But… “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23, NKJV)
Alzheimer’s will not consume us. Because God will not fail us. His mercies surround and protect and comfort His children. His compassions are new every morning. I will look for His grace gifts each day. I will pray for eyes to see Him at work and for a grateful heart.
And I will sing of His faithfulness. Forever.
His mercies are new every morning! And every year. 2021 is a challenging year for the whole world. And for most churches and families.
But He gives grace gifts to strengthen us. This week He sent friends, a couple different times, who sat on the deck with me and took time to share life while the sun flickered through the leaves. And the sunshine and the conversations warmed my soul.
I had the grace gifts of apples that I sliced and cooked into apple crisp. We had the news that a grandchild expected in January is a girl!
There are still very real problems and struggles that so easily consume my thoughts. But when I remember to look for the grace gifts I see that God’s mercies do surround us. He sends His comforts. He whispers His love.
I imagine He smiles when we notice and thank Him. But I know that thanking Him helps us smile.
And one other lesson strikes home to me from this memory. In the stress of these Covid years, and all the confusion the world is in, I think our words to each other too often sound like shouts of hate. Normally loving, intelligent people speak words and post memes and comebacks that belittle those who thinks differently than them.
People with Alzheimer’s and dementia can’t help the way they sound. But most of us can. What would the world look like if we stopped using prickly messages, and turned and looked at one another and started talking with gentleness? What if we kept even our thoughts humble and compassionate?
What if we respected the idea that people can have different opinions and tried to honestly learn from each other? What if we spoke softly with words of reassurance and love? What if we gave each other absolutely all the grace we could?
We would definitely need God’s grace to do it. But what a gift it would be!