Experiencing Grace

My mother speaks in scripts now. She bears the look of the very old. Clouded eyes and clouded mind. Alzheimer’s? The doctor said sometimes it’s impossible to know until an autopsy.

I am my mother’s keeper. I see her daily decline. Yesterday she knew to put on underwear, but not today. Sometimes I see glimpses of who she used to be. The ready smile. The chuckle. These are precious moments.

And these are wearying days. The smell of urine that greets me when I open her bedroom door first thing in the morning. The fear I will walk in and find her dead…and the fear the end will not come that smoothly and suddenly. The same conversation again and again…and again.

In the bathroom, after I have rubbed her back with the long-handled brush: “I remind myself of the horses. After Bill and I had curried them down, they would rub against the post just to say, ‘You missed a spot.'” “Those are fun memories for you,” I say.

And then, “You’re so kind to me, Carol.” “That’s because I love you,” I respond. “Well, you show me that, darlin’, in a bazillion ways everyday.” “That’s good,” I answer, “That’s what I want to do.”

And then I scream, silently, behind the blue blanket as I hold it up before draping it over her lap, because we have had that exact exchange no less than twelve times while moving from the bathroom to her chair in the next room. And then I smile at her as I tuck it in around her legs.

I cherish these days. In them, I experience the truth that God’s grace is sufficient for me. And for my mother.

“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” (Isaiah 46:4)

Mother’s script now is a good one, but it hasn’t always been so. We passed through a season of belligerence and irritation and anger. Thank goodness those days are mostly gone.

“I am very blessed,” she says now. “Yes, we are very blessed,” I agree, “More blessed than we even know.”

She used to read her Bible every morning. Now I read the scripture to her. Often she joins in, from memory. I see the beauty of a lifetime of experience with God. I see the comfort it brings her and the joy of the Lord being her strength, and mine.

One morning we read John 6:40, “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” Even her tired mind could understand the great love there. And that the work is His. We marveled at His grace and goodness to give us eternal life and all the blessings that go with it. Our part? To look and believe. I could tell she had something else to say.

“And that is precious little to ask in return.”

God’s grace is sufficient. It carries both my mother and me into the unknown with peace and confidence and gratitude.

How can I not be the most grateful of all persons, to get to see and experience the grace and blessings of God in this situation, as I have in every other stage of my life?

There are more stories and more blessings but they are for another blog. For now, look for the ways his grace is sufficient for you today. And if you have a moment to pray for my mother, I would be very grateful.

About Carol Boley

Carol is a professional writer and speaker, published in Guideposts, Focus on the Family, Arizona Magazine, and Navy Times. She leads workshops and retreats, specializing in family issues, women's interests, and spiritual growth.
This entry was posted in Aging, Alzheimer's, Caregiving, Faith, Family Life, Grace, Kindness, Life Transitions, Mom, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Experiencing Grace

  1. I love this post and your attitude about your mom’s illness. My mom is suffering from Alzheimer’s and I moved home this year to help take care of her with my dad. He writes a blog on being a caregiver and I think you’d be interested in it/the post he recently made. It has a lot to do with what you’re talking about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carol Boley says:

      Thank you for your comment. Blessings on you and your family as you care for your mom. I appreciate the love you are showing to your parents!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s one of the most loving post I’ve ever read. God bless your mother, and God bless you for your love for her and reliance on God.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Andrea R Huelsenbeck says:

    Praying right now, Carol, for your mom and for you. You are a wonderful daughter, and your article is a perfect reminder of our wonderful Father. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Shirley Hucul says:

    Carol – I have always experienced you as a most gracious person.It’s wonderful to see you are receive the grace you so freely give! Just as HE promised! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pat Lawrence says:

    Thanks for sharing your heart and letting me see into your world a bit. It’s a world I know but not at the intimate level you have with your mom. Today, the eve of our birth, I’m remembering the moments sharing with both our mothers our special day. We live in a complicated world where we reverse roles and are grateful for the chance and the memories. Blessings and prayers to you both. Thanks for your beautiful way with words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carol Boley says:

      You are very welcome, Pat! I know you do understand (just one more thing we share!) and I appreciate your commenting with such kind and thoughtful words. Blessings and prayers for you and your mom on this journey.


  6. Sandy Gercke says:

    Sweet, sweet Carol! You are such a great blessing to everyone who knows you, but especially to your mom in her time of need, just as she has been such a great blessing to you, your family, and to all of us who have been privileged to know her. I am so grateful that you are willing to share your journey with us, reminding us that His grace is sufficient for each of us. Your mom, you, and all of your family are in my prayers. Thank you for your wise and vulnerable blog post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carol Boley says:

      You are so welcome, sweet Sandy! Your words touch my heart. Thank you for your prayers and love. You inspire me!


  7. Bonnie Lund says:

    Carol, I know what you are going through. It is so difficult. Be sure to tell her you love her whenever you leave her because you never know when she will be gone. I saw my mom after work on a Friday evening and told her I would see her the next day. I got a call at 8:30 in the morning that she had just died. The most painful thing was she didn’t know me the last few months. She thought I was her sister, Joyce. But I am so grateful that I know she left this world and was in the presence of Jesus one second later. And there is no better place to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carol Boley says:

      Bonnie, I know you understand. How I loved your mom! What a delight she was, and what a good friend to my mother! Mother gets lots of hugs and “I love you”s everyday. I’m so sorry your mom didn’t know you at the end…I believe she knew she was loved and safe. And you are so right. Your mom was then and is now in the care of Jesus. ❤


  8. Linda Carlblom says:

    Sheer beauty in the midst of great heartache can be nothing less than the loving hand of God. Praying for you and your mom. Love you lots!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carol Boley says:

      You are so right, dear Linda! And what a lovely way to say it! Thank you for your prayers and encouraging words. I appreciate your love and friendship, and love you right back! ❤


  9. Linda Somers says:

    That blog was wonderful and so touching. I have been carrying for my father in law for the last few years. He is now in a home and coming close to going to Jesus. These days are so precious. Some days good and some not so good but every day that we get our one on one talks are amazing. God has blessed me with this gift of carrying for him. At first I thought this was something I had no time for or want. Boy does God know better. Like you and your mother, I cherish this time/season of life with him. And when HE thanks me again and again and tells me how much he loves me, it brings tears of joy/love, true love, unconditional love. May God bless you and your mother. And thank you again for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carol Boley says:

      Dear Linda, you are very welcome. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings. Your father-in-law is blessed to have such a caring DIL as you! Thank you also for your kind words. I pray God richly blesses both you and your FIL …it sounds like He already is! ❤


  10. Amazing love, Carol, and incredible grace you share with us. Tears over each tender word and the love you show. Yes, prayers for you and your mother…love sent too.


  11. Thanks be to God that you can see his presence and feel his grace for both you and your mother. Thank you for sharing your experience, as many walk this walk. May God continue to sustain you, and may you continue to feel his love & peace in the difficult days ahead.


  12. John Arthurs says:

    Wonderful Carol…simply wonderful.


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