August 10, 2019
I heard a glass shatter and ran down the stairs.
I came around the corner just in time to see my father-in-law, who was in the final stage of Alzheimer's disease, scooping up a handful of mayonnaise from a broken jar. He had dropped it, the top was jagged glass, and the center was all cracked and barely held together by the label.
I was able to stop him just before he got a fistful with glass shards into his mouth.
He knew the mayonnaise was food… But due to his dementia he had lost the ability to discern that while mayonnaise is okay to eat sometimes it’s not good to eat by the fistful when it's full of glass.
During those years of caretaking there were so many instances where God gave me this vivid picture of the similarities between the suffering and struggles of those with physical Alzheimer’s and dementia - and those with spiritual Alzheimer’s.
God was opening my eyes to how similar the symptoms are when our memories deteriorate about who God is, and what He has done for us.
-loss of discernment
-anxiety and restlessness
-agitation, aggressive behavior, or outbursts of anger
-lack of ability to self-care
-loss of understanding timing, season, and purpose
-not able to raise up the next generation
-and ultimately: loss of identity
All these symptoms are directly connected to God’s people having weak, deteriorating memories of who God is, and what He has done for us.
If you’ve cared for someone with dementia then you know - it impacts an entire community of people. Dementia impacts multiple generations.
But God showed me this, too:
In an even more powerful way a strong memory of Jesus, and what He has done for you impacts an entire community of people. It impacts the faith of multiple generations.
When you remember how Jesus set you free and brought you out into a spacious place, when you remember His kindness that drew you into His arms...
When you remember how:
- He healed you
- He made you new
- gave you a sound mind and a living hope
- how He pursues you, counsels you, and sings delight over you
- When you remember God: your hope in Him becomes unshakable.
In my last blog post, I shared with you the connection between hope and your memory.
Today God wants you to clearly see the connection between the strength of your faith and remembering Him.
Today I am teaching you one simple step that will both renew your hope and strengthen your faith.
Here it is:
Set aside one day of the week for remembering who God is and what He has done for you.
Go ahead and pick one day of the week right now that you will commit to not “pushing forward”. Not striving to learn more, do more, consume more… but a day to intentionally remember.
In the time you would normally spend with God instead of doing your next day of Bible study or whatever you typically do, instead look back with God at your life.
You can do this by:
- reading verses you underlined a long time ago
- reading a completed Bible study you did in a different life season
- listen to a worship song you loved a decade ago
- ask God to bring to your mind a life-giving word He communicated to you in the past when you needed His counsel and encouragement.
Whatever else you do, the point is to intentionally ask God to remind you of what He has said to you and done for you.
This one simple step will be a hope and faith GAME CHANGER for you.
Tomorrow I’m going to share with you one of the most powerful gifts of influence God has given you in association with your memories.
We all benefit from accountability, so go ahead and let me know the day of the week you’ve chosen to intentionally strengthen your memory. We are in this together!
Remember: You are so, so loved.