God Does Give Us More Than We Can Handle………………….I Guarantee It

We have all heard the sayings, God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, if He brings us to it He will bring us through it and even in scripture it says that all things work together for the good to those who love God. We often kid that we have no trouble handing our troubles over to God but the troubling part is leaving them there. We are a people to love to maintain control over our lives.
I don’t want to be consumed by what I went through with my Father as he died and I don’t want to over focus on it but I do want to use the experience to point out some things that I learned from that experience.
Watching Dad die was like trudging through every level of hell in slow motion and at heightened sensitivity. It was all consuming and is still very alive to me. With that said, as horrible as it was, I felt God’s presence washing over me day after day, God was so present it was almost like I could reach out and touch him. The moment Dad died was not horrific, it was peaceful and God was fully present for both of us. Dad literally passed from my hands to Gods hands.
God does give us more than we can handle, I guarantee you He does. He wants us to need Him. He wants us to cry out to Him when we can no longer bear what is going on around us. The funny thing is even though I felt God so strongly there were times I was tempted to (and did) forget He was there. It was easy to ignore His presence and fall back into the struggle of handling things my way instead of letting the comfort and strength that was literally washing over me carry me through the struggles.
It is the control freak that lives inside me I suppose and now I know that to some degree anyway that control freak is guided by Satan. God had his ways of getting my attention back on Him however. When I was focused on what God was doing in that room I was content, comforted and supported. When I let my attention wander the days were torture and filled with chaos.
This might sound simplistic and let me tell you for certain…………………..it is simple.
“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me………..for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matt 11:28-30)
It was wonderful being surrounded by my family and the many friends who came in. They offered comfort and support in their own way. However none of them could substitute for the presence of God in that room.
It was a valuable lesson for me.
……………………..and so I ride
Matthew 11

Is there anything good in Alzheimers?

Another visit to Imperial is for all intents and purposes over, except the drive home. There were no surprises, I found Dad as I expected to, and I found Mom as I expected to. In fact, from all appearances it seemed that they had adjusted as much as possible to life with Alzheimer’s.
I am sitting here in my motel room thinking about 1 Corinthians 10:13 and Proverbs 3:5 and wondering why God brought me to those particular versus tonight and what in the world they have to do with what is going on.
I am coming to the realization that maybe I am looking at this situation in the wrong way, or more to the point, maybe there is a less painful way to look at this situation.
God promises times of testing and tribulation and that despite what it feels like, we aren’t the only ones who have gone through whatever it is we are facing. He also assures me that we won’t be tested above what we are able to handle and that He will always offer us a way out and He will never leave us.
Well……………..those words don’t seem to fit with what I am feeling tonight and if God always offers a way out why don’t I see it?
This brings me to my original point, looking at this in a different light. To see the options when God offers us them, we have to want to see them. What if the only option I see isn’t the option I want? Does that option then become a non-option? I want what I want, what I want, unfortunately that option does not seem to be available.
I think I need to look at this in a completely different light. God tells me He won’t ever desert me and to trust Him with my whole heart and don’t lean on my own understanding.
The thing is, that is His message to my Alzheimer ridden father also.
So Dad, let’s trust God on this one.
On the outside it may appear that you are suffering, but you are clean, you are safe and you have enough women nursing assistants caring for you to make any man jealous. I doubt you are aware of the full extent of your disease, in fact most of the time you seem quite content. It would seem that most of the suffering at this point of your disease, falls to those of us who love you and we can make a conscious choice to simply “trust God and lean not on our own understanding”.
Although I do not understand, I choose to trust, it hurts less that way. Funny, I think that may be how it is supposed to work.
……………………and so I rideImage

Things are no longer as they once were

I love to go to Nebraska, I grew up there and it will always be home. It will always be the quiet, small town where you can leave your doors and cars unlocked. It will always be the small town where you can take long walks after dark and not be afraid. It will always be the small town where dining in the local restaurant means a night of conversations with people you have known many years.

As much as things stay the same however, time does march on and mostly, people change. Faces are more weathered and wrinkled, hair is greyer, and waists are thicker. Old buildings are gone and new ones take their place. Those are the things you expect and accept as a normal part of life. Those are the easy things.

However as I am getting ready to venture back to my hometown this morning I know that there are things that will greet me that will bring great pain. Things that will greet me that make me cry for the past that no matter what it looks like, no longer exists.

When Alzheimer’s enters a family lives are altered forever. Unlike the old buildings in town that were torn down and replaced with new, Alzheimer’s has to run its destructive course, there is no amount of rebuilding and remodeling that can be done. The life slowly leaves the building and finally it crumbles taking all that the building once was with it.

However I won’t let that ugly disease keep me from the man who might not remember it, but will always be my Dad. His strength and wisdom might not be visible anywhere but in memory anymore, but He is still Dad. I will go to Nebraska, I will find delight in the things I remember that still are and I will love as much as always, the things that are no longer as they once were.


…………….and so I ride

The long goodbye?

Special moments in life are few and far between, so when something special is thrown your way, grab it, hold onto it, breathe it in and wrap yourself around it so when that moment passes you have the memory to sustain you.

Special moments have nothing to do with money and everything to do with love. I was given special moments with my parents and my sister and her family this weekend.

Holidays can be a bittersweet time and filled with sadness for families of a parent with Alzheimer’s. This holiday was starkly different than the home-grown holidays of the past in my family. It is a different time in everyone’s life and though my mom and dad are different now, they are still my parents, they still love me and I still love them.

The  one thing that has not changed is the way they love their children.  I know they love it when I come to visit but I feel like I am the real winner here because the love is unconditional here, the love is not withheld and the love is spoken honestly.

In Ephesians 6:2 it says to “honor you Father and Mother” It doesn’t say honor thy Father and Mother when times are good, when their bodies and minds are not failing them and when it is convenient for you. It says “Honor they Father and Mother”, period.

It is interesting to me that it says honor and not obedience, to honor is  to give them respect and having an attitude of esteem for them. Honor means to revere, prize and value. I give them respect not because I have to but because they are who they are and they love me.

I hear “your Dad just isn’t who he used to be” when I walk into the manor where my parents live. Well, I respectfully disagree with that statement. He is exactly who he used to be. His situation has changed, his health has changed and his temperament has changed because of the disease but he is still the same Dad who I have always loved.

Each time I visit home I find my parents changed. The changes tend to be startling and obvious and it would be easy to think they are not the same parents I once knew so well. However, they are still the same parents, my parents.

If anyone deserves sainthood it is my Mom for what she does for Dad even in the nursing home setting, She never has a moments peace except late at night.

She has found ways to cope with the changes in their lives, she sews. She actually has set herself up a little cottage industry of which I am incredibly proud of her for. She took the situation at hand and found a way to cope with it.

The incredible thing is her physical health is far worse than my Dad’s, yet she fights for her independence and wins!

I cannot think that this is what she dreamed her retirement would be, who would? Hopes and dreams of travel, good health and leisurely retirement are suddenly not what they are living. But what I admire and respect is how she took the situation and made it bearable. There is a lot to learn from this wise woman. If my Dad has a cowboy spirit (and he does) my Mom has a wonderful put one foot in front of the other , fighter spirit that cannot be broken.

She is the little lady in the wheelchair buzzing around the manor spreading joy, a smile and respect  to the other residents here. She doesn’t let them forget they are people worthy of recognition, worthy of a hello and a conversation. That makes me smile and makes me more than a little proud of her.

The other person that deserves much respect is my sister who spends more time caring for our parents than anyone else. She never complains, she always does it with a smile and at this moment she is my hero.

So although I call the holiday bittersweet upon reflection it is a wonderful holiday because I get to celebrate it with people who love me and who I love more than anything in this world.

I thank God that I have this time to spend with my family and I will be here to help them celebrate the holiday’s in a fashion that makes them smile.

They say Alzheimer’s is indeed a long goodbye………………….but isn’t that just life, whether you have a disease or not?

Thank you God for this holiday that I got to spend with my family. I think I shall make sure my Mom and Dad know this time with them is precious to me and for my sister…………………well, I  think we will just go shopping!