Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

it is well

While visiting some dear friends, I had the privilege of singing with them Horatio Spafford’s song ‘It Is Well with My Soul.’   What made this extra special is the mom has dementia.  (I couldn’t help but think about my own mother and the songs we would sing.)   I placed the omnichord on her lap, and we began to sing. She joined in and her fingers began to play.   Moments before she had no clue what to do with this instrument. It was beautiful and a deep sense of the presence of God filled that room.
 
 
Once again this reminded me of the power of music. Not only does it seem we can memorize easier when it is put to music, but music stays with us when other things fade away.
it-is-well
 
This is a beautiful song and yet what led up to writing this song was one heartbreak after another. Horatio’s son died at age 2. The great Chicago fire destroyed him financially. Planning to travel to Europe, he sent his family on ahead. The ship sank. His four daughters died. Only his wife survived.
Imagine receiving a telegram that says “Saved alone.  What shall I do?”
It is said that as he traveled to bring his wife home, he wrote this song while his ship passed by the area where his daughters had died.
 
They went on to have three more children – a boy and two girls. His boy would die at age four from scarlet fever. As if this wasn’t enough, their church blamed them and said it was divine punishment. How very sad, but they didn’t quit. They ended up settling in Jerusalem and continued to help people.
 
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,  It is well, It is well with my soul.

“Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute!

 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  Phil 4:5-7 The Message

 
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
til next time
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January 27, 2017 Posted by | pastor, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

five women

How can five woman (who are each beautiful in their own way) touch my heart with joy and sadness all at the same time?

For privacy purposes I will call them Beauty, Precious, Twinkle, Tapper, and Sweetie.

Joy:  Beauty lights up whenever I touch her hand.  She loves to talk about the weather outside.  Precious is the one most with it and does not like her nails painted.  Twinkle doesn’t communicate with words but when I look into her eyes and speak to her — there is that twinkle.  Her body doesn’t move but her eyes follow me.  She is in there somewhere.  Tapper loves it when I tap the table with her.  She has beat!  Finally, Sweetie is shy, looks at me out of the corner of her eye and yet wants me to talk with her.  They all, in different ways, remind me of my mother.

As you might have guessed these ladies are in various stages of dementia.

Sadness:  My mother had dementia. For those who watch people they love go through the stages of dementia, well, there really are no words for what that process is like.   I praise God that He is a safe place to hide,  ready to help when we need him.” (Psalm 46:1 The Message)   (Click here for more on dementia) 

While I sat there carrying the conversation, my mind was remembering many such conversations I had with my own mother.  You might say my mother taught me how to communicate with others who have dementia.

It’s coming up on the second anniversary of my mother’s death.  It ‘just so happened’  that  “I Can Only Imagine” came on the radio as I drove away.  I was holding my mother’s hand as this song came to an end and she took her last breath here on earth.  Again joy and sadness — joy in the realization that she no longer needs to imagine and sadness because I miss her so.

Do you know of a family who is dealing with dementia?  I encourage you to take a moment and reach out to them.  A ‘thinking of you’ note, a private message on facebook,  a phone call, or a text will brighten their day.  When you see them in person, inquire about their loved one.  The greatest blessing my friends gave to me was letting me talk about my mom and the struggles I was facing in dealing with her dementia.

Some might think my visit with these ladies was a waste of time.   After all, it is likely they had forgotten it by the time I got out the door.   Some of them  will remember me next time and some will not.   Yet, at the moment it was meaningful to them.    I know it was worth it to me.

til next time

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December 31, 2015 Posted by | dementia, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

perspective

Sometimes you just need a little perspective.

When you look at this picture what do you see?  The Jolly Green Giant of course.  He is huge!  How huge?  Well, his smile is 48 inches wide.  Now that is a smile!

If you look closely, you can see me standing underneath the jolly green giant.  I am as tall as his boot.

Perspective.

It is hard to see me because I just kind of blend in with the trees in the background.  Yet I am there.

Perspective.

Sometimes I think we  are too busy focusing on the thing that is looming in front of us that we miss what else is going on.

Recently we spent a day at the Grand Canyon.

I remember thinking how vast it was,  how small I felt compared to the enormity of the canyon, and how great is God’s love for me.

Perspective.

Yesterday we spent the day with my mom.  She is battling dementia.  Battling dementia now that is an oxymoron.   How did that phrase ever get coined?  She isn’t battling it at all.  I am battling it.  She is going with the flow.  She is focused on the here and now.  I am wanting my momma back.

Perspective.

There were times during our outing that the ‘old’ momma came out.  Dementia may be stripping her of her memory but her personality is still there.  She is still spunky.  She still breaks out into song.  She still wants people to laugh!  She still cares about people.

Yet her illness makes me feel so small.

Perspective.

I don’t want to spend another day distracted by the demands of life.

Perspective.

I am grateful that God gives grace for each new day and that my joy is not dependent upon outward circumstances but an inward relationship with Him.  “This is the day the Lord has made, I will choose to rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24 my paraphrase)

Perspective.

Yes, sometimes I need a little perspective.  Thank you God for the reminder that in everything I face, You are with me.  When life comes at me fast, You are an ever present help.  When I feel small, You are right there holding my hand.

Perspective.

til next time

September 15, 2012 Posted by | dementia, just thinking about stuff, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

angry at God?

A week ago hubby and I spent the night at my sisters.  It was great to see her and the family.  It was bitter sweet to see my mom.  My mom is moving much faster through the stages of dementia than I ever dreamt possible. 

I thought I had time.  Time, it turns out, is one thing that I really don’t have. Time marches on no matter how I deal with each day or situation.  Time does not wait for me to wrap my head around losing pieces of my mother.  Time does not care that I live far away.

When my friends have dealt with parents with dementia/ alzheimers  I have always said that I didn’t have any answers.  It is something I can’t explain.   I cried with them.  I prayed with them.  I grieved with them.  The only thing I did  know was that God was still God and He was in control.

As we were leaving my sisters on Saturday I realized that I was angry with God.  I voiced this out loud because I knew that it was something that I could try to hide but that would only make things worse.  I needed to have it out there so I would deal with it.  Besides I couldn’t hide it from God if I wanted to. 

Here is what I have come to terms with: 

anger is not a sin – sinning in my anger or because of my anger is sin, 

denial is a road better left untraveled, 

 bad things happen and I may never know why, 

walking in the truth means acknowledging the anger and then allowing God to wash me with His peace, 

and most important is the fact that God is still in control.  He is not unaware of the life my mother has lived.  He is not unaware of the life she is living now.  He is still God and I am not.

Anger in and of itself is not the issue.  It is what I do with the anger that becomes the issue. 

nursing the anger – pity,

fueling the anger – outbursts,  

blame game – this one is huge in destroying relationships,

misplaced anger – being harsh with others — the list goes on of things that are not right. 

 There are numerous scriptures that deal with the writer and his anger.  The key is the writer does not stay in his anger but comes back around to focusing on the goodness of God.

When God is magnified – problems become small in comparison.  Hope soars.

When the problem is magnified – hope shrinks and it is easy to put God in a box.

Today I am once again looking at things as “It is what it is”.  I can’t make things be the way I want them to be.  I can choose to trust God and let Him work things out for my good – for my mother’s good.

I trust God.

til next time

March 13, 2010 Posted by | dementia, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

when it rains….

There are people who are determined to learn the hard way.  They insist on making all their own mistakes.  Learning from the mistakes of others does not even hit on their radar. 

I am not one of those people – nor have I ever been one of those people.

There are people who think that if you haven’t personally experienced exactly what they are going through then you can’t possibly understand.  If you haven’t ‘been there’ then you just don’t know how very hard it is. 

I am not one of those people either.  Maybe in my teens and early 20’s I might have been.  I do know that if I was, then I have grown out of that way of thinking. 

Everyone has problems.  No one is immune to life’s trials.  

In my life God has used people to minister to and touch my life in ways that are down right amazing.   If I waited for someone to come along who is walking in shoes similar to mine, I would still be waiting.

I was talking with a co-worker today and mentioned that in my life right now I am pre-menopausal, dealing with the empty nest syndrome and coming to grips with my mom’s diagnosis of dementia.  (Currently my mom is spending a few weeks here.)  I also told her that I was sure that the purpose of all of this happening at the same time was not an attempt to drive me over the top. 

She laughed with me (sometimes it really helps to not take yourself so seriously) and said  something along the lines of “well, if you ended up at the mental ward that would probably mean that someone there needed help.” 

That is the key right there.  Much of the time it really isn’t about me. 

I remember crying with my friend whose parent was battling dementia/alzheimer’s.   I couldn’t truly understand then, but I could share in her tears.  I am so glad that I didn’t try to come up with a whole bunch of pat answers.  There really are no answers.   Now I have a whole bunch of questions, but still there are no answers. 

I saw another friend this weekend who (even though her kids are all still young and at home) understands in her heart how very hard it will be when they are gone. 

I don’t have to be living in the someone’s situation to extend compassion.   Someone doesn’t have to have experienced the ‘same thing’ in order for God to use them to minister to me. 

When it rains sometimes it pours.   Yet it is that very rain that causes growth. 

Which always reminds me of this song.  Great pictures too!

If it never never rains, then we’ll never never grow.

til next time

November 17, 2009 Posted by | dementia, perimenopause, relationships | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment