I’ve was talking to a wonderful neighbor of ours a couple of afternoons ago when she brought Fiver and I some homemade beef and vegetable soup and three rather large slices of her fresh cornbread. She was the first of the neighbors that came over to introduce herself to Piper and I after we moved in three years ago and made a regular point to come over to sit and talk with Piper and on occasion, take the dog for a walk!
When she came by the other day we got to talking about her family. I had given her Piper’s fancy multi-faceted, totally adjustable and reclining wheelchair to try with her 90 something year old retired minister father who lives in Georgia with her sister. So, while she gave me a report on how that was going, she also spoke of her deceased mother who she termed as the real “glue” in their family.
Well that, of course, got me to thinking about Piper and I mentioned how I believe that Piper definitely played that role in our immediate family as well as with her extended one. She was often times the initiator of laughter and the purveyor of a joyful atmosphere. During family gatherings she had a way to calm a testy comment or an uncomfortable and/or depressing room with a flash of that contagious smile of hers, her quick wit or with a scripture based encouraging word. She also had the amazing talent to calmly multitask through a variety of events happening all at the same time. Her ability to perform all these giftings was sorely evident and missed as the effects of the Alzheimer’s progressed in her.
I came across an interesting notation in that old NASB Bible of Piper’s that I discovered the other day. It was a definition of “Depression” that she must have written down at a church service long ago. She penned that “Depression is a spirit of grief – grieving about the fear of losing something.” This was followed by a short paragraph explaining some of the inside and outside emotions that are felt or expressed by individuals dealing with depression.
As I sat in the La-Z-Boy chair in the living room reading from the page in the back of her Bible, I suddenly felt a light go on in my head. Her explanation perfectly summed up many of the responses we came into contact with from my wife’s troubling news after we returned home from Bible School and the eleven years since then. It also was a testimony of the power of faith in God’s Word when it comes to not being moved by the physical symptoms of disease that present themselves.
I was thinking out loud yesterday (I do this a lot lately… and get the strangest looks from the dog!) that although the conclusion of our stand of faith may not have resulted in the exact results we were hoping for*, it was our total focus on God and His Word that kept us strong, kept us going forward to make the right decisions that needed to be made on a regular basis, kept us joyfully expectant of God’s best and probably most of all… gave me the ability to get up each morning with a smile and the physical and emotional zeal to push on even when I was WAY beyond exhaustion! Because of my dependence on Him, my promise to her that I would take care of her, in our home, to the very end… NEVER WAINED!
So once again, Piper is still talking to me in her physical absence with notes written in the back of her Bible in the early 1990’s! While others may have given in to the effects of grief at a very early stage of her sickness and gradually became more sullen and angry, while withdrawing away from contact with us, we chose to cast our lot in with the truth, joy and expectation of God’s Word instead of what our physical eyes may have been seeing at any given time.
When you think about it… We really didn’t have much choice on the matter. We HAD to move forward, we had a job to accomplish and the ONLY way I saw to do it was with an unmovable trust in Papa God and the faithfulness of His Word… Kinda like I believe the Lord was speaking personally to my heart this morning as I read where it is written in Revelation 21:5, “Then the one who sits on the throne said, "And now I make all things new (Jim)!" He also said to me, "Write this, because these words are true and can be trusted." (GNB) Well… We trusted Him and His Words were proven true!
Like I said, My Piper is gone… but she continues to speak to me! Have a great rest of the week. I’m off to the dentist and a deep clean, whoopee! But I’ll be sure to say… and you could say with me as well… “I am expecting God’s TRUE and TRUSTED Words that I am standing on today, to come into evidence in my life!”
*The truth be known… we really did receive the EXACT results we were believing for as Piper is totally healed and whole today, completely set free from any and all the complications of Alzheimer’s and is rejoicing in glory with Jesus! What more could I have asked for?