My family recently moved back to the Carolina’s to work with a Church plant in Hendersonville, NC. At the time we thought that was the only reason God was moving us. We planned to move in with and help my husband’s grandmother until we got our feet on the ground, since we didn’t have promise of a job or any income.
It didn’t take long for us to realize God’s plan was at least two fold. We had known for a few years that his grandmother was suffering from dementia, we had no idea how quickly and significantly it had progressed to Alzheimers.
After many melt downs and “How do I do this, Lord’s,” I began praying to love her. I’ve been praying to learn how to minister to her, to provide her with security. I am thankful that my children get to spend this time with this precious lady, especially since we have been away for over 2yrs.
With Alzheimer’s she probably has about 5-10% of her short term memory, if that. She has feelings that linger but she won’t remember why she’s scared, why she’s happy, why she doesn’t feel safe or secure.
The Lord began reminding me how she has always loved her flowers, but she hasn’t been able to keep them up for years. So I began working on her gardens, I fixed her porch back up so that she can sit out there and enjoy her flowers.
She has always worried herself to pieces that something or someone might go hungry. She used to walk around and feed the birds in her yard. I found her a bird feeder to set on her porch that she can watch.
Because I am the biggest rookie when it comes to gardening I somehow got head-over-heels into Poison Sumac. Oh my word I could not get rid of it. Since I was covered in it, swollen, sore and mad at “outside,” I began painting. She remembers security, so I have to do things that linger and things that tell her she’s safe and loved.
I have re-done the dining room, living room and am beginning on the bathroom. I tell you this because it has been the biggest shift in her mood. She knows that she can’t help with this so she is happy to just sit and watch. As long as she sees these happy, bright colors, she knows she’s loved. I am trying so hard to think of things that have always been important to her, such as big family dinners, butterflies etc.
Granted, these are things I’m trying to do. Please know I have had an Ugly Lot of screw-ups too. Times I have completely dropped the ball. Times I have gotten angry and muttered ugly complaints. I pray that I will come through this season and every ounce of it will be able to be used for God’s Glory.
Oh friend, if you or your family are going through this or something similar my heart aches for you. I am constantly reminding myself that God uses ALL things to train and equip us to be holy vessels used for His Glory and if God has placed me here – he has (will) equip me for it!
Melissa Bradley is married with two small children. She serves at a church plant in Hendersonville, NC. The passion of her heart is to live every day missionally. You can also find Melissa at Beautiful Mommy Feet, she and her husbands personal ministry page, a women’s ministry page -Radiance and on Facebook.
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