My mother* has advanced dementia. For those who know us, you may have been on the receiving end of one of her favorite questions,
"Are you happy?"
More often than not mom's "happy" question catches people off guard, especially when it's directed to a total stranger. It can be awkward. I have to admit, sometimes her question is irritating when I'm having a difficult day. But mostly I'll answer, "Yes, mom. I'm happy. Are you happy?" (She is always happy!) "Why are you happy, mom?" I'll ask. "Because Jesus loves me!" she'll say, and then continue with animated conviction, "Jesus paid it all! All to him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain; he washed me . . . White! As! Snow!" Mom lives in the moment. Her memory is like a vapor. She usually understands whatever is happening around her, but even that is slipping away---the curse of death is having its sway over her.
Mom came to faith as a young adult; she spent her life storing up treasures in heaven. She was an avid reader of God's Word, and of numerous books on faith and Christian growth. She was always prepared to give an answer for her faith in Christ. She also memorized large portions of Scripture. In fact, she may forget who I am, but she never forgets who Jesus is or what he's done for her! She can also still quote most of John chapter 1, Psalm 23, and sing a lot of hymns. The key to mom's happiness began in her early 20's when she came to faith in Jesus Christ; he is the joy of her heart and the light of her life! Mom happily lives in the moment, because she depends on Jesus.
I am grateful that the light of Christ shines brightly through my mom---even through her dementia. She is living joyfully in her last days by drawing on the treasures she stored up in her lifetime.
I am also grateful for the lessons God is teaching me through her, reminding me that my life, like her memory, is but a vapor. We don't have tomorrow, and we can't change the past. We only have this moment, so let us not waste it.
God is on our side; he loves us so much that he sent his only Son, Jesus, to reverse the curse of death. He is preparing a place in heaven for his children where there will be no more death, or pain, or sorrow, or dementia! Until that day, let us live moment-by-moment storing up treasures in Heaven, trusting in him. Because, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32.
Yes, Jesus paid it all! All to him we owe. Sin had left a crimson stain; he washed us white as snow!
* Mom went to be with the Lord on October 24, 2013; she is eternally happy in Jesus! I miss her! Yet, I do not grieve as those who have no hope! (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
Copyright 2013 Sarah A. Keith
Teach children how to store up treasures in Heaven
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