In the months before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer's ten years ago, my mother was in crisis. I spent hours in prayer for her and helped her every way I knew how.
Mom's disease had already progressed further than we knew at the time. The devotions I wrote for her and the prayers I prayed seemed to bear no fruit; the opposite seemed true because Mom resented my interference in her life. This sort of response is not uncommon for new Alzheimer patients; it is hard to accept the need for change, and the confusion of early dementia exacerbates fear and shades perceptions.
Mom suffered a terrible fall the first winter after we brought her to live with us. She broke her collarbone and then, sent home from the hospital to recover, suffered a cold that turned to bronchial pneumonia. I thought we were going to lose her, but instead the Lord brought healing.
For several years resentment toward me simmered throughout most of Mom's responses to my overtures. She hated having to bathe, take a walk, or go to bed just because I said it was time to do so, and her Alzheimer's made her forget that she had lost motivation to do these things on her own.
This past year I put the devotions I'd written for Mom into book form, and matched the readings with the hymns she loves. Though my name is on the cover of the book, Mom's Alzheimer's has now progressed to the point that she doesn't realize that her daughter wrote this devotional. Last night I was in her apartment emptying trash cans and removing dirty dishes when she said, "Just listen to this wonderful devotion..." and she proceeded to read aloud words I'd penned, encouragement the Lord had provided just for her. She closed with the Scripture reading at the bottom of the page and looked at me. "Isn't God good?" she demanded, as though daring me to state otherwise.
Not waiting for an answer she looked back at her devotional. "Now I will sing the hymn that goes with this reading," she said. Tears ran down my face as I listened to my mother warble Just as I Am, and my heart warmed with the Holy Spirit's presence.
During the early years of Mom's Alzheimer's, my heart ached from her rejection of the Lord in me. She thwarted my attempts to help and said things that hurt my heart. I forgave her but I didn't think she would ever accept the blessing God had offered her through the anointing He gave me on her behalf. I couldn't see the use of having spent so much time in fervent prayer for my mom when those prayers seemed to have no impact on the course of her disease or her heart toward me.
But tonight it was as though God whispered to my heart, "You see? I heard your every prayer."
So often, the Lord asks us to trust in Him when we can't see where our paths will lead. When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's there is so much fear and uncertainty, but I am here to tell you that it is safe to place your trust in our God. At the time of Mom's diagnosis I never would have dreamed that the love and prayers I offered on her behalf then would bear fruit for her ten years in the future; I didn't think Mom would survive that long, much less still be able to think clearly enough to sing and to pray.
But God knew. He always knows. Blessed be His Name!
For the remainder of the month of November and throughout December, my mother's devotional, Beautiful In Each Season, has been reduced to the lowest prices allowed by Kindle and Createspace, both eBook and hard copy formats. This is a wonderful time to supply copies of a large print devotional to shut-ins, nursing home residents, and care recipients.