Dementia – Reflections

Dementia is a stealer of the memories and relationships of many. It is watching fine-lined cracks form in the mind of someone you love. It could be a Dad, Mom, a Grandparent, or another significant family member. As a family member, you try to plug the breaks in their mind. You may research possible nutritional supplements. You encourage your loved one to seek medical, emotional, and spiritual help. However, they are adults, and you are limited by their need to be in charge as they are afraid and confused. It is a walk of strength and courage. It is remembering the vision of those we love from decades past.

Love stands solid when we can reflect on the character traits of a relative pre Dementia. We can push away the sadness, the hopeless future relationship, and instead, hold onto the love and compassion we knew. We can share the love through words and actions, share great family memories, spend time with them and pray for wisdom from God.

I think it was a gift from God, as I cleared out my closet, I found the words penned for my Mom. It was a gift that I share with you now, treasure the relationships around you. When we can share love despite the changed mind, and grace to those who invested in our lives, we reflect on Jesus.

Ephesians 6:1 -3    Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord,[a] for this is the right thing to do. “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”

Treasured poem from 30 years past on my Mom:

This is a poem to my mother,

whom I love so much,

Her lightly salted grey hair

the perfect seasoning to her face

with fine lines of life

at her eyes and at her mouth

from many years of life

both happy and sad experiences.

Her stature is just shy of mine.

But she dresses in a style-

a style that exudes Mom.

Her care and concern for me

something I can always trust.

She is talkative and friendly

although sometimes too much-

she means well with others

Family and friends mean a bunch.

She busies herself in so many ways

concern over things she may never change.

She’s a hard worker, the glue in the family, serves all.

She never tries to be, anything

but the Mom I see

There is no falseness in this lady

as she will state to many-

“Take me as I am or not at all.”

You should already know how proud,

How proud of you I am

For being such a gentle mother, and

of whom this poem speaks so grand.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

May this reflection draw you to encourage the parent, guardian, grandparent, or significant person in your life. I have been blessed with elder women who have encouraged me as I process my Mom and Dementia.

If you didn’t have a Godly example of Mom or Dad or supportive person, I pray that God will lead you to one of His chosen people. God bless you, You are loved!!

 1 Timothy 5:4     But if she has children or grandchildren, their first responsibility is to show godliness at home and repay their parents by taking care of them. This is something that pleases God.

Our Children

Amy Carmichael was a 19th century missionary from Ireland. Amy opened an orphanage at the age of 28. At this time, women were not on the mission field alone. She loved children and sacrificed her life by serving India’s children. She felt the call of God and left her home of comfort to make a difference.

God delights to meet the faith of one who looks up to Him and says, “Lord, You know that I cannot do this–but I believe that you can!” -Amy Carmichael

Modern day parenting is a challenge, however, Amy was a single woman and God used her in a mighty way. Her quote showed what can happen when you trust God, we are called to speak truth and share our faith in Jesus with our own children. We are called to trust God with the unknown. God calls parents to teach their children His ways. They must love God with all their heart, soul, and strength. They must see these actions in you. Our actions speak louder than words.

Deuteronomy 6: 5 -7 
5 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today.

7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.

We are called to share the Word of God, found in the Bible, it is wisdom for life. It is our most important responsibility to our child as their parent. I love Proverbs 4, the entire chapter is filled with instructions for parents. We must teach our children to guard their hearts, it is the wellspring of their life. It is the place where purpose flows.

Proverbs 4 :20 -23 
My child, pay attention to what I say.
 Listen carefully to my words.
21 Don’t lose sight of them.
 Let them penetrate deep into your heart,
22 for they bring life to those who find them,
 and healing to their whole body.

23 Guard your heart above all else,
 for it determines the course of your life.

For over 10 years, I felt called to speak about injury prevention, alcohol, drugs, preventable occurrences as a trauma nurse. I cared for many traumatic injuries that were preventable from motor vehicle crashes, motorcycle crashes, alcohol and drug overdoses, etc. I became a public speaker on behalf of other emergency department and trauma nurses. I shared real stories with other people’s children from middle school through high school. My key focus was to tell them that their lives are filled with purpose and God has plans!

God gives each one of us, created in the Image of God, a specific purpose. It is our job, as we live on this planet, to seek to understand who our Creator God called us to be. Our gifts can be hidden as we move day to day, or our gifts can be something that shined since we were young. Either way, there is a great calling on our life. Our choices can detour the end result, but life is not a straight path.

We can have pauses and starts, challenges can give us the opportunity to turn back to God if we have left the path with Jesus. Challenges can give us an opportunity to humble ourselves return to Jesus and choose a better course in the future. We have a God (Jesus, His Son) who walked this planet. He understands our human condition of emotions, impulses and pain. Matthew 4 describes Jesus being tempted by the devil in the desert multiple times. Jesus stood firm with the Word of God. Consider checking on this amazing chapter of scripture.

Jesus took on all our sins, because He loves us that much. If we did not have a loving father on earth it can be hard to believe this truth. Jesus died a sinners death by taking on all the sins of the world for love. He gives us mercy and grace, and cheers us on as we do over our life connected to Him.

John 3:16   “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[g] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I heard this beautiful song today at a meeting, “For Our Children, words by Amy Carmichael and Charlotte Ryerson. God calls parents to pray and praise Him. Use this song as a love note for your children to Jesus, I share the lyrics here:

For Our Children (Words by Amy Carmichael and Charlotte Ryerson, music by Charlotte Ryerson)

Father, hear us, we are praying,
Hear the words our hearts are saying,
We are praying for our children.

Keep them from the powers of evil,
From the secret, hidden peril,
Father, hear us for our children.

From the whirlpool that would suck them,
From the treacherous quicksand, pluck them.
Father, hear us for our children.

From the worldling’s hollow gladness,
From the sting of faithless sadness,
Holy Father, save our children.

Through life’s troubled waters steer them,
Through life’s bitter battle cheer them,
Father, Father, be thou near them.

Read the language of our longing,
Read the wordless pleadings thronging.
Holy Father for our children,
And where’er they may abide,
Lead them home at eventide.

We come boldly to Thy Throne,
all our hope in Thee alone
Let them see Thy cross and come,
let them glorify Thy Son
in Jesus’name amen 

©Charlotte Ryerson 2014
Amy Carmichael’s 19th century prayer for the children of the Dohnavur Fellowship in India.

In this time of crazy cultural strife, we need to lift up our children to the throne room of God. We can praise the Lord as we lay our children in His strong, scar-filled hands. He loves them even more than we do, after all He created them.

He has a purpose for their lives. If we, as parents or adult family, can release our grip on their hands, then maybe they will be able to reach for the hand of Jesus.

Jesus has transforming power. He can bring hope in a storm. He can heal all the wounds whether spiritual, psychological and even physical. He is the Ultimate Healer.

Let go and let God! Father God, help our children to achieve the purposes that you call them to become.

And for those who do not have children in a biological or adopted way just yet, I totally understand. I was infertile for ten years before I was blessed through adoption.

God calls you to pray for His children. His children are in your community, at the grocery store, the coffee shop and as you walk down a street.

Get to work and pray for His people. May God richly bless your day!!

Thank you Lord

Thank you Lord for your gifts, for Your provision, Hebrew name : Jehovah Jireh ( God as Provider).

Thank you for your love, Jehovah Nissi ( Hebrew words mean His Banner over You is Love).

Thank you Lord Jehovah Shalom ( Hebrew name: God of Peace)!!!

Praise the Lord’s Name. What a great song from Chris Tomlin, Thomas Rhett and Florida Georgia Line!!!!

I would be surprised if you didn’t feel led to tap to the beat, or even get up and dance. We must Find Joy. Praise helps us take our eyes off challenges in life. Thank you Lord!

Sun and Shield

Photo by Sachin C Nair on Pexels.com

Psalm 84:11 NLT
For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.

Are you feeling unsettled? Are you wondering if there is a God? Are you wondering if He hears your prayers, moments of despair, or your requests? We all have days, maybe weeks or years of questioning? Does He see me?

Sometimes our requests are answered quickly, sometimes it feels like silence and no answers and sometimes it’s “my child, I love you and wait”!

I am learning God can be working behind the scenes and in my hurry to a conclusion I am sooooo impatient. Isn’t self control a fruit of the Spirit? Galatians 5 is a gold mine of instruction.

Galatians 5:22-26 NLT
[22] But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! [24] Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. [25] Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. [26] Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

If you aren’t feeling God answering your prayers, maybe what you think is for you is not a good thing.

He would never withold His best from you. Maybe His timing is not now or ever. He can be trusted. Remember He knows the number of your days and holds you in the palm of His hand.

Psalm 139:16-18 NLT
[16] You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. [17] How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! [18] I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!

Isaiah 49:15-16 NLT
[15] “Never! Can a mother forget her nursing child? Can she feel no love for the child she has borne? But even if that were possible, I would not forget you! [16] See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands. Always in my mind is a picture of Jerusalem’s walls in ruins.

I have been feeling the need for the Word of God intensify. His words are nuggets of gold. They are not just words on a page but wisdom from above. It doesn’t matter if you were born in times past or present.

I used to think the Bible was filled with stories unrelateable but the more I read and meditate on His Word, the more I see our human nature doesn’t change very much over generations. Sadly, we are a mess without our Savior.

The human race tends toward its own sin nature: selfishness, wanting our own way, pride, jealousy, survival of the fittest, and me me me. I see these traits in myself and I cringe.

This mindset causes conflict leading to unrest, leading to fear, anxiety, depression and maybe war.

Look at the state of our world, our state, our community, maybe even our homes at times. We can be the bearer of unrest and conflict or choose,instead, to be a person who speaks life, pauses to bring words of affirmation, sprinkled with discipline in love, forgiveness and prayer over destructive communication.

It always boils down to choice. I choose peace not victimhood. Love in truth over fear and avoidance.

When I have spoken in fear or anger, I am learning to repent and turn back to Gods ways. It isn’t easy to break habits but it must be done. I must cast aside sins to break generational cycles.

Cast all cares upon Him for He cares for you. 1 Peter 4

What about you? Be the voice in the wilderness filtering your speech after mediating on the word of God. His love is unfailing, He is our strength.

Psalm 117: 1 – 2 1 Praise the Lord, all you nations. Praise him, all you people of the earth. 2 For his unfailing love for us is powerful; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever. Praise the Lord!

You are a Warrior!!!

We are living in times that require us to rise up in praise. We may be short, tall, slender, athletic, a little meaty ( that’s me) or any other shape. But we are called to stand side by side and be a Warrior. When we fall down, we are called to get stronger. The only way to get stronger is to hold onto our Creator God.

We are called to use our voice to speak truth, to pray for wisdom from God and to move into action by encouraging others and to lift up our voice in song..

I have loved the music artist, Hannah Kerr, since I saw her at Red Rocks; a beautiful outside red rock staired and seated venue outside of Denver. As the moon shone down upon the red rocks, I saw Hannah take the stage. This was her song, ” Warrior” is so powerful. It is an anthem. Its message reminds us we have the ability to stand even if we feel weak because we are strengthened by God.

If you are feeling tired, overwhelmed, and worn out. Hold onto your faith. Praise is a way to actively speak truth. Even if you don’t feel strong initially, keep raising your voice. Even if you feel you cant sing well, lift up a joyful noise. In time, you will feel empowered to be Him-powered. Sing for Him!!

Enjoy this song, ” Warrior”, by Hannah Kerr. Thank you Hannah for singing out truth.

Road less traveled

Jeep travels by Mary Mesikapp
Psalm 25: 4 - 10   

4 Show me the right path, 
O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.  

5 Lead me by your truth and teach me,
    for you are the God who saves me.
    All day long I put my hope in you.
6 Remember, O Lord, your compassion and unfailing love,
    which you have shown from long ages past.
7 Do not remember the rebellious sins of my youth.
    Remember me in the light of your unfailing love,
    for you are merciful, O Lord.

8 The Lord is good and does what is right;
    he shows the proper path to those who go astray.
9 He leads the humble in doing right,
    teaching them his way.
10 The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness
    all who keep his covenant and obey his demands.

Occasionally, our family travels into the mountains on 4 x 4 Jeep trails. This time in nature reminds me to consider the road less travelled. My husband drives as I navigate with suggestions over the huge boulders, rolling rocks, and tree stumps. Water passages can be tricky especially when you never know how deep they may be. Our youngest hangs on for dear life as the jeep lurches, slides, and is temporarily at an odd angle to the mountain. Our brains are scrambled somewhat by the bumps on the trails yet our brain clears with joy when we reach our destination.

Traveling on Jeep 4 x4 trails takes trust, wisdom and a drive for adventure, much like life’s journey. Trust in the driver and the jeeps solid maintenance is necessity. On jeep trails and in life, there can be opportunities to avoid obstacles.

I can be an avoider, how about you? Yet the more time spent in the Bible teaches me to believe the obstacles may be used by God to deepen my faith.

The Lord is good. He does want to show us the path to follow. We have to let Him provide us with wisdom, which means we must drop our need to control and our pride.

We must be open to redirection, like navigating boulders. We have to take time to read His Word, it is an action step for our benefit.

We must discern who our tribe will be. Who is the leader? Who is the follower? We have to seek accountability from the right people who want us to be examples of integrity and character. There will always be people bent on our destruction. We must choose wisely who we believe.

The Lord is faithful and He is love. He is the Ultimate Best Friend and Wisdom Giver. Let Him be your navigator. He is the Compass directing you to the best things.

Thirsty

Let the Living water of God fill the empty places and bring refreshment. Are you parched in the weary state of the world or in your private life?

Let the Lord quench your thirst. I love this song by Shane and Shane. Living Water flow through Jesus and fill your life.

https://youtu.be/DlnAREAjTfU

Psalm 107:9 NLT
[9] For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.

God bless you today.

Mountains

Smoke and sunset MM

Some days we just need to see an example of the faithfulness of God. I shared this photograph with my father this week. My father and I love photography and see something extra special in an image. I purposely left the busy country highway in the frame for context. We can hustle and bustle our way through the day and forget to appreciate creation.

My father’s interpretation was spot on, his text to me stated: “The mountain looks red like a hot iron like the sun penetrating through the mountain”.

I responded, “Yes, I felt the same, its illumination, like Psalm 121, the Son is our helper watching and shining through the mountain metaphorically.” He agreed with my reflection 🙂 as I shared the scripture with him.

No matter what you are going through. He is there. I have a friend whose son is a Marine in Afghanistan. These past few weeks have been prayer and praise, encouragement and lifting the Body of Christ in prayer.

We need to turn to the Creator of the mountains, the heavens and the earth. He does not slumber even if we don’t understand the events in our lives.

Our battles may be across the world or in our own home or backyard. I am not sure who needs to remember this promise, however, Psalm 121 is a great scripture reminding us our help is from the Lord.


Psalm 121
1 I look up to the mountains—
    does my help come from there?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth!

3 He will not let you stumble;
    the one who watches over you will not slumber.
4 Indeed, he who watches over Israel
    never slumbers or sleeps.

5 The Lord himself watches over you!
    The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
6 The sun will not harm you by day,
    nor the moon at night.

7 The Lord keeps you from all harm
    and watches over your life.
8 The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go,
    both now and forever.

If you are blessed to see the mountains on your horizon, look to them as a visual reminder of God’s faithfulness.

If you don’t have mountains in your community, look at a photograph like this one. Let the Son of God illuminate the dark, scary places in your heart, mind and soul. There is life and hope to be found!!

Love really has Won!!

Sometimes a song hits you right when you need it. “Love has won!” by Citizen Way is powerful. It reminds us that we are not alone. That God is for us, that He conquered the grave and He has plans. Songs can bring hope, healing and peace. Thank you Citizens Way for the inspirational song.

I hope you feel the love of Jesus as you listen. Bask in His Love!!! His Love has Won! Thank you, Jesus!

Driftwood and Criticism

Criticism is not fun even if it is constructive. I consider criticism a statement of failure and condemnation, being judged unfairly and not measuring up to someone’s standard. It kept me angry. Synonyms for criticism vary from censure to review, assessment to appraisal. There can be negative or positive results.

Can there be rewards for constructive criticism? Should I be open to grow and be transformed into a better version of myself while I am feeling chipped away? Is there any truth to the criticism? Is this a healthy relationship?

I pondered, should I allow myself to be whittled like a dry tree branch? I have always been fascinated by people who can take a piece of driftwood or an old part of a tree and create something one of a kind, beautiful. They are able to see the beauty underneath the surface. Think about it, our God sees us the same way!!!

Photo by Kathryn Archibald on Pexels.com

On the outside the scrap driftwood appears to be dry and useless as it holds no life. It has been broken away from the main tree trunk. There are no longer pathways of sap to provide sustenance and energy. Maybe it has been floating in a river or ocean quite a while becoming further withered.

Do you ever feel like driftwood? Floating along, perhaps feeling alone, lost, distracted? The Master Craftsman could be waiting for you to float onto the shore and be ready for new things. If we ponder, the tools needed for this transformation we may use: Stillness with God, the Bible and humbly allow the cutting away of sin, forgiving ourselves, repenting and asking God for a new beginning. We must choose to let him carve away the dry.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

A wood carvers tools of the trade may be straight chisel, wood carving gouge or whittling knives each serving a specific purpose. A knife cuts away at the unnecessary layers of dead wood. It digs away layers slowly from the outside in. Could that be a chronic sin such as telling little white lies so we don’t hurt someone’s feelings instead of being truthful?

Proverbs 27 :5  An open rebuke is better than hidden love!

The gouge may allow the craftsman to gather the dry parts quicker, yet with care and patience the carver is hopeful not to gather too quickly. The gouge may be the deep consequence of returning to angry outbursts instead of listening intentionally.

Proverbs 15:1  A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare.

The chisel removes debris closer to the surface. It’s a skimmer of sorts. Perhaps an example of this in humans may be, the gentle rebuke from a parent, ” Hey, do you want to try that response again? Deep breath and we can talk more.” or ” Forgive me!”


Proverbs 26 :28 A person without self-control is like a city with broken-down walls.

Corrie ten Boom was such a humble example of Christ, she gained more self-control as she was in the trial. Her quotes from her time in a concentration camp are found on the internet and in her book, “The Hiding Place,” a biography from World War 2. She witnessed the oppression of Jewish community including her friends. She, along with her family, chose not to stick with the status quo and many lives were saved by not turning a blind eye to the atrocities on their fellow country man.

The world is better for women such as Corrie and their example of putting to practice the words of scripture. I do not know if I could have forgiven those who committed evil. I would pray that I would choose the wisdom of God were I in her shoes.

One of my favorite quotations from Corrie ten Boom: Our critics are the unpaid guardians of our souls. 

What a timeless quote for daily mediation. I think honest critical comments can help us grow into who the Lord already knows we can become. There is a difference between constructive, loving communication and criticism that is meant to devour another person. Loving communication must start with words of affirmation, truth and love.

James 3: 2   Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.



James3:6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

The enemy wants us to switch gears in our minds and use our tongues to sear in fire those created in the image of God.

We must seek truth in Christ, be bold in speech and allow Him to grow our faith and bless our lives.

Ephesians 4:15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ.     

I need to allow the dry places in my soul to be touched and sharpened by those who can help me grow. However, I am not open to be devoured by another whose intention is destruction. I pray for discernment of the Holy Spirit.

Choose wisely who we trust with wisdom. God first, of course, then friends who want to reflect Him to the world, like Corrie. May be the unpaid guardians of our soul need to be given thanks. Let God, the Master Craftsman, cut away the dry places and bring out the beauty just as driftwood!

Proverbs 27 :17   As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.