Saturday, October 27, 2012

Home Again

We're back from our travels and, while I can't say it was fun or relaxing, it was an experience I will never forget. It was good, as always, to see John's family but my mom's condition has worsened considerably over the past two weeks. She didn't eat or sleep much and the sinus infection she had turned into bronchitis. She is taking a stronger antibiotic and a sleep aid, and her appetite seems to be increasing. We're hopeful things will be back to normal--and I use that term loosely--very soon.

Although we stayed in the same house for about ten days, Mom never could find the bathroom. The family took turns escorting her, and often by the time she reached the bathroom she would forget what she was doing and think someone was trying to lock her in a closet. She was negative and accusatory, roaming the halls and saying she knew we would be leaving her somewhere to die. She suspected everything we offered her had been poisoned, and she constantly wore a look of suspicion and anger on her face. "I know what's in there," she would say as she stared at her food. She even warned the kids not to eat.

As hard as I try to avoid arguing with her, sometimes I get worn down and give in to the frustration. At one point she was begging me to kill her and not five minutes later was refusing to eat. "If you really want to die and you think this food is poisoned then you should want a big bite!" Yikes! That sounded terrible. Thankfully, she forgot the whole thing almost immediately. When I heard John say during another meal, "Liz, you have no idea how frustrating it is to feed someone who thinks you're out to poison them!" I realized how blessed I am to have a husband who is in this with me. Alzheimer's is enough to drive a caretaker mad but Ecclesiastes 4:12 gives us hope. "Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken."

The majority of our friends and family think we should put her in a nursing home. We think that would be a mistake at this point. As a well-respected missionary friend recently reminded us, I Timothy 5:4 says, "But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God." In short, what kind of missionaries would we be if we ignored our god-given responsibilities? Even with our imperfections, I believe she is still getting the very best care possible. I also believe that what God is teaching my family through this is something that cannot be measured. For example, the fruits of the spirit are being refined in a painful but effective way in each of us. At the end of a challenging day we tell our kids, "Tomorrow is a new day." I have to remind myself when I've blown it with my tongue that "the Lord's compassions never fail. They are new every morning." We trust Him to continue to guide us daily and we refuse to allow this situation to turn us inward, forgetting that we have been called to the great commission.


  1. Thanks for being so transparent and honest. It reminds and helps us to know how to pray for all of you. Thank you for sharing this journey. I can't imagine what this is like but I also know you and John and I know that you guys are doing an amazing job! This is your mission field right now and nothing is more important. You guys are a HUGE blessing to your mom right now and what an example you are to me, Benay, our kids and everyone who is reading your blog of being the body of Christ. Our family is with you guys in prayer. We love you a bunch!

    1. Thank you so much. What an encouragement. We miss you guys and I was so sorry to not see Benay when she was here.