God is Here

It’s been a tough week. On Saturday we thought maybe God was taking Mama home to Him. She wouldn’t wake up no matter what we did. She was unresponsive. She was so cold. Her breathing was erratic, with long, scary gaps. I was sending messages to people asking for prayer. I was comforting my crying daughter and trying to stay calm myself.

But after many hours she did wake up! And she ate a very late supper. And we all exhaled a big breath and smiled. We hadn’t lost her. Not yet. We could savor some more cuddles. We could still hold her hand and feel her squeeze back in response once again.

The next day, Sunday morning, Mama told my daughter, “God is here.”

Annie answered, “Yes, He’s here.”

Mama said, “He is bigger.”

And we continue to take comfort in those precious words. Because even though Mama rarely seems to know who we are anymore, if at all, she knows that God is here. God is with her. God is with us. And He is bigger. Bigger than Alzheimer’s. Bigger than our pain and sorrow. Bigger than our stress and worries and fears.

God is bigger.

I’m so thankful Mama knows this. I’m so thankful God continues to teach us through the few words Mama says these days.

Other concerns and stresses weigh down on us too. Our prayer list is long. This is a challenging season of life as we oversee the care of three elderly parents, one who lives with us. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and cry and call out for help and prayer.

And I feel the comfort of God in kind words and offers from friends. In family members who step in and help. In devotional passages and Bible verses I read. Like one I read today…

“If I say, ‘My foot slips,’ Your mercy, O Lord, will hold me up. In the multitude of my anxieties within me, Your comforts delight my soul.” Psalm 94:18-19 (NKJV)

Yesterday I cuddled Mama before supper, “Mama, it’s me…Cheryl.” She repeated my name so clearly! I rarely hear her say my name and often it sounds slurred. But yesterday she said it clearly twice! “You said my name, Mama! Thank you!”

She answered, “Yes, Ma’am.” Which made me smile even more and gave a nod to her Southern upbringing. I’m grateful for this gift of hearing Mama say my name again. And especially for the pricelessness of hearing her speak of God’s presence.

God is here. He is bigger.

GOD is here. God IS here. God is HERE!

And He is bigger!

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Mama’s Love Pats

I’m missing Mama’s love pats.

I cuddled up by Mama after she was settled in for her nap today. I sang to her and stroked her hair. I quoted Bible verses and prayed with her. And Mama stared at the ceiling, or closed her eyes.

And I remembered how just a few months ago she’d want to cuddle up to me. And though she didn’t usually like me facing her, if I turned my back to her she’d roll onto her side and curl up close and keep patting my back and tugging at the fabric in my shirt. Her gentle touches were sweet to my soul.

I was looking at some photos the other day and remembered that just a year ago Mama was able to get herself out of her rocking chair and baby step over to the love seat so she could sit by me and put her head on my shoulder. And she’d lick her finger and try to wash my freckles off my arm with her rubbing.

Just a year ago. It seems so impossible now that she doesn’t walk at all.

Now Mama stares at the ceiling a lot. She doesn’t roll on her side to cuddle close. I miss her love pats. Daddy does, too.

Sometimes when I put my arm around her, as we snuggle in bed, she will pat my arm. Soft little taps that speak comfort to my heart. But today she was so still. So quiet.

I feel like we are losing Mama little bit by little bit. It makes me think of waves rolling in on the beach. Sometimes a wave reaches farther inland than you expect and you’re surprised by a wet splash. And sometimes the waves seem to hold back and draw a more distant boundary for themselves.

Mama surprises us sometimes with the clear words she says. And other days we see that she’s declined more. And sadly, and so gradually, she is leaving us. She is shrinking away, like a shoreline pulling back and drying up in a drought. And we miss the waves splashing our toes.

And I miss Mama’s love pats.

But I’m thankful I can still give Mama love pats. And I can know that as I show love to others, the love and care she raised me with is being shared with others. And so her faithfulness has left a legacy that lives on in her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchildren.

And I’m especially grateful for the truth that Mama loved and trusted Jesus when her mind was strong. And so I know that she will be restored to beyond perfect health for eternity.

And I will feel her tender love pats again.

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