This devotional really hit home with me this week. As an autism mama and daughter of an Alzheimer’s mom, I know the scars we develop from caring for others all too well.
My mom knew the scars very well –absolutely. My mom took care of others from the time she was a young girl till she developed dementia (and now Alzheimer’s).
I don’t know a time in my mom’s life when she wasn’t taking care of someone or something (our pets).
Mom had her first child when she was only 17 (within wedlock…she and my dad got married when she was 16). Mom gave birth to four children, one of whom passed away shortly after birth. Before that she took care of her elders. She was raised in the mountains of south west Virginia. Up in the mountains, back in the “hollers” where that’s what you did then. Everyone took care of everybody else.
My dad became disabled while working in a steel mill to support his family and everything fell upon my mom (even before that, really). Then my nephew (my brother’s son) moved in with us and she raised him from the age of 12 to adulthood.
Then mom took care of her aging mother though she was fighting colon cancer herself. After grandma went to be with Jesus, mom took care of her sister, my aunt Edith who succumbed to Lewie Body Dementia, till she went to be with the Lord.
Mom braved it all. But then a crisis struck that, I think, was the breaking point for my mom. My brother was killed in 2011 in an industrial accident at work. Not long after that, mom started showing signs of dementia. Today she doesn’t remember if my brother is alive or not based on how often she asks us if he is still alive or not. I think she keeps that at the forefront of her mind as evidenced by the frequency of her questions regarding him. I think that battle was more than she could brave and her mind just began its process of shutting down 🙁
I struggle to decide whether I think the enemy won this battle and we lost or if the fact that mom doesn’t remember all the bad things anymore is a victory. I guess we’ll know when we get to glory, won’t we?
In the meantime, my sister and I watch my mom slip slowly away -every day a little more 🙁 It’s heart breaking and I have to be honest. There are days I wind up asking aloud, “Why her, Lord? She doesn’t deserve this. She’s been the Proverbs 31 woman her entire life!” Of course then the Holy Sprit speaks to me and asks, “Why anyone?” and “Don’t you trust me with your mom?” And I have to bow my head, ask forgiveness and start the process of learning to trust and be brave all over again. I suppose it’s a battle I’ll fight till I’m home in Heaven. But a battle is what I need to remember that it is. The enemy whispers those doubts and blames in our ears, telling us it’s all God’s fault. If He only…how could He… Fill in the blank.
As I bear up under the battles of a disabled husband myself, a disabled son (our only child), a mom who is slipping slowly away, financial worries, insecurities that we all have, and scars from a very bullied background, the Lord gently whispers in my ear, “But Sunday’s coming”. You may feel dead in your emotions right now, but Sunday’s coming! Christ was dead for three days, but Sunday came and He rose again. One day (I believe is soon), we will rise and the Lord will take us out of this battle for good. Be it in the Rapture or in death and into His presence. This life is NOT all there is, and autism and alzheimers is only temporary. Mom may be dying a little every day but aren’t we all? Hers is only more obvious to everyone else.
Though we fight battles in the heavenlies daily, the Holy Spirit helps us be brave on the inside.
On to this week’s devotional —>
Brave on the Inside
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged,
for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
It’s easier not to get entangled in this life. It’s safer to turn our heads and look the other way. But I think we, as women, all have moments when it’s time to put on the superhero cape and come to the rescue.
And when we do, because we are human, we will almost always wind up with the scars to prove it. These are our badges of honor. These are the bits of us that say, “I’m for you, and I’m willing to show it.”
These scars belong to the mama standing up for the child who’s being bullied. To the coworker who asks the outcast out to lunch. To the wife who gets on her knees for her marriage. To the teenager who walks away from the gossip.
To you in any moment when you say, “The enemy is not getting away with it this time.” And when I say “enemy,” I’m not talking about each other or any human. I’m talking about the darkness itself.
Part of daring to be who we are, of living fiercehearted, is knowing when it’s time to roar, when it’s the moment to fight hard, when it’s worth the fractured plan or broken heart. In other words, when it’s time to get involved.
This is not always the choice we are to make. Some battles are not ours to fight. And knowing the difference takes a lot of wisdom and prayer and unnecessary bruises when we go running in anyway. But we learn.
We become sneaky ninjas in tennis shoes and fuzzy slippers. We who are all softness and grace on the outside are tough as steel on the inside. Our hearts are wild and alive and mighty. We are braver than we feel, stronger than we know.
Read this devotional and others like it in Holley’s book, “Fierce Hearted” here –>
This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9 NLT