Monday, June 29, 2015

The Integrity of a Heart That is His

Anger is a common symptom of patients who suffer traumatic brain injury. When the cause of damage to the brain is an accident, physicians and loved ones are saddened but not shocked by the patient's angry outbursts. However, when an Azheimer patient exhibits anger, we are less likely to draw a correlation between the person's disease and his/her behavior. There are several reasons for this; Alzheimer's often progresses so slowly that changes are gradual, and although we accept the forgetfulness of dementia, we sometimes don't think much about the changes in the brain that cause the memory loss. Alzheimer's patients may look and sound much the same as they always have, because most of the changes of the disease take place within the brain, out of line of our sight and understanding.

I want to share something that will sound a little (or a lot) silly because it is based on an emotional ignorance of the effects of the damage that has taken place in my mother's brain as the result of her Alzheimer's disease:  because of her outbursts of virulent anger, I've been concerned at times for her salvation. She has said such shocking things; such as "I'm thinking of ways I can make myself go to Hell." In her dark moods she is vindictive, and says negative things about the Lord. If her anger was directed only at me, I wouldn't have been overly concerned, but her negative words about our Lord have both shocked and frightened me. 

This isn't a case of worry about whether Mom has accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. For those who suffer fear for their loved ones who have never accepted Christ, the Lord has provided the comfort I recorded in an earlier post (September 18, 2010 "What if My Loved One Is Not Saved?"--be sure to read the comments as well as the main body of the post). My fear for Mom  wasn't over whether she had ever been saved, I knew she had; but her outrageous behaviors brought to mind various Biblical passages that talk about an unforgivable sin or losing what we have gained through Christ.

As I prayed for Mom a few nights ago, this thought came: Your mother is saved. Words spoken from the deceptions of a damaged brain do not taint the integrity of a heart that is Mine.  

I've written this post for those of you who have suffered similar feelings of unease about a loved one with dementia whose behaviors are sometimes shocking, sinful, and even might be categorized as evil.  My mother can't give herself over to evil, because long ago she gave her heart to Christ. Although her thinking has been compromised and her emotions sometimes run out of control because of the deceptions of her damaged brain, the Lord holds her heart safe in His hands. Be reassured that once we give our hearts to Jesus, we are not our own to give away.

Click HERE for the Alzheimer's Associations brain tour and a slide show about the changes that take place in the Alzheimer's-affected brain.   


  1. My good friend Vee sent me over to you. Thank you for your beautiful posts. My mil is suffering from dementia and mental illness....very rough going for us...again, thank you. Blessings

    1. I've found it so helpful to make a distinction between my mom's heart and her mind/behavior. I know that in her heart she loves me still, but her damaged mind often keeps her behavior from reflecting that love nowadays. Prayers going up now for your family, Linda, with a special prayer that you are gifted with glimpses of the love that is perhaps hidden in your mil's heart by her disease. It's the love that is real--all the other stuff is just static caused by our frail flesh! Blessings, Linda