Tag: Bible

Alzheimer’s Took Mom, not Jesus’ Presence

Alzheimer’s Took Mom, not Jesus’ Presence

It would be one of the last conversations I would have with Mom. It was 2016 and she was now succumbing to Alzheimer’s unrelenting grip. As we sat together in her small but comfortable living room, I tried to communicate with the woman who had been my Mom for half a century. Her fading into the unknown was unsettling, for she was only a remnant of her full self, but she was still Mom.

My wife had gone outside to look after our kids and to give me some time alone with my dying mother. Dad joined them. There was an awkward silence in the room as we sat, unable to really communicate, broken only by the sound of my kids playing just outside the sliding glass door. I asked Mom questions, if she remembered this or that, hoping to break through the wall the disease had built around her. I wanted to make a connection, but it wasn’t happening.

Occasionally, something would get her attention and she would respond, mostly with garbled speech that reflected a misalignment of mind and tongue, one of the debilitating affects of Alzheimer’s. In spite of our lack of cognizant communication, I felt centered to be in her presence, for she had sacrificed so much for me and my four siblings, for our whole family. The unseen connection came through loud and clear, at least in the form of an inner peace. Still, I longed to connect verbally somehow, visually, on the surface I guess. It was as if my senses of sight and hearing needed confirmation of what I believed to be true, but wanted to know with certainty; that Mom could hear me, understand me and know full well that it was me sitting just across from her.

As I sat waiting for some kind of sign that she was not fully recessed into the annals of her mind, thoughts of a difficult past rushed my spirit and wouldn’t let go. These were memories, both painful and pleasant rising to the surface. Not just of my history with her, but of her past well before I came into the picture. The many stories she told over the years of her upbringing were circling in my mind as if she had just told them to me the day before. I recalled watching a home video taken in 1942, when she was only about six years old, playing in the backyard, having no idea of the life God had in store for her. Now, she was in her last months and in her eighties. I was trying to celebrate her soon departure from a broken world and a fading body, but sadness took the moment.

Discouraged that I wasn’t getting through, I decided to ask her about her faith, her love for the Bible and Jesus. It would be one last attempt to stir something within her. I started with asking her if she missed reading the Bible, which was important to her for as long as I could remember, but not much of a response. Then I asked her if she still prayed or spoke with Jesus? Without letting more than a second pass after this question, her thin face turned toward me and her warm Hazel eyes locked with mine. In perfect speech and obvious determination, she said; “oh yes, I talk to Jesus everyday.” Her face again then turned back to the wall she had been staring at for the past thirty minutes or so. Stunned at the sudden level of clarity in her speech and focus in her eyes, I sat there speechless. For a few moments, Alzheimer’s had no power. In fact, it didn’t seem to even exist. We finally connected, but on her terms, that of her and her Savior.

Mom was the original witness to me as to the love and goodness of our Christ Jesus, and she had just witnessed to me again, and in such a way I didn’t see coming. I was reminded that Jesus was there the whole time, even in the midst of her debilitating disease. And perhaps there to give me one last wink through Mom, one final witness through the woman that brought me into this world.

Mom went into the arms of God just one week before Mother’s Day 2017. Her witness to his love and ever-presence, even in the midst of her haunting disease, will stay with me forever. Love you Mom. I’ll see you in the age to come.

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Ageing Backwards

Ageing Backwards

In the 2008 film; The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the idea of ageing backwards was played out in a creative but fictional drama. Brad Pitt’s character was born as an old man. He ages backwards throughout his life until he eventually dies as an infant. This was the first time I remember contemplating the idea of actually ageing backwards.

The fitness industry also speaks of age-reversal through nutrition, supplements and strength training. But neither Hollywood or the fitness industry invented the concept of ageing backwards, God did. And for the Christian, this is real.

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus from Mathew 18:3 (NRSV).

We were once children and now we’ve grown up. We’ve left childish things behind and have matured into productive adults. Why go back? What part of us must return to a child like state?

While the world concerns itself with physical age reversal or the avoidance of physical death all together, God’s concerns lies in the renewal of our spirit. As Paul of the New Testament states;

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV

This is not mere theory or religious talk, it’s the power of God offered to those in Christ Jesus. A hint to age-reversal within our spirit. Because for those of us who are adults and don’t yet totally depend on God, he’s inviting us to age backwards; to return to a childlike state and rely on our God for everything, the way we used to rely on our parents or guardians when we were young.


But I’ve had trouble deciphering just what Jesus meant here. If we’re to become childlike again, would not immaturity and fear go along with that?

The first thing I notice about children is how tender-hearted and innocent they are. But one crying fit or gross display of me-ism and it doesn’t take long to notice how corrupt they are in their spirit. Thus the need for redemption. As beautiful as children are, they are immature and easily misled. So we need to grow up, but not in the way the world would have us.

When the love of Christ gets a hold of us, it’s a tough ride at times. There’s both joy and pain along the way. Because while God is taking us forward, he’s also taking us back. This friction creates suffering. But the Lord reminds us;

“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4 NIV

The world cannot create this kind of person who is mature but childlike.  A grown-up but happy and grateful. An adult who is filled with life and joy as if they didn’t have a care in the world. It’s a paradox to human reasoning. But this is the Christian fully alive.

God must have his way with us if we’re to know genuine redemption. Absolute renewal. A true re-birth. But it sometimes feels like nothing more than the drudgery of day-to-day struggle. We experience the trials and temptations as if all depends on our own success to survive. But it doesn’t. As the Word says;

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 NIV

We have our part; The Word again reminds us;

“For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” 1 Thessalonians 4:7 NIV

This kind of life is crucial to one who would know the joy of ageing backwards. But what God is actually offering in this life is beyond mere age reversal, even of the spiritual kind. Listen to the words from Proverbs;

In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality. Proverbs 12:28 NIV

We experience an age-reversal in spirit because we’re actually living from the immortal spirit of Christ Jesus. Yes, as God encourages us, delivers us from our troubles, strengthens us when we’re down in spirit and lifts us to his love and joy, we’re actually getting a taste of the real fountain of youth; the immortal spirit of our Savior Christ Jesus. What greater gift could one receive in this world? Don’t waste it!!

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