My Difficult Journey…Today!


The angel of God came back, shook him awake again, and said, “Get up and eat some more—you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.”  He got up, ate and drank his fill, and set out. Nourished by that meal, he walked forty days and nights, all the way to the mountain of God, to Horeb.

1 Kings 19:7-9 (The Message)

This particular story best describes where I am this morning.  “It just so happened” (yeah, right!) that I read David’s Kitz’s blog A Dark Psalm For Dark Times.  I am on one of, if not the most difficult journey, in my life; even more so than my divorce.  At least during that dark period I had hope, though ever so small, that God would heal and restore me.  But today, honestly, I see no such hope, which is probably why it “just so happened” that I read David’s morning edition.

Today I and my son, Matthew, are going to look at some “nursing homes” for my Mother.  At 89 she is in that prison known as dementia.  In the last 2 weeks her mind has become in the words of Forrest Gump, “a gazillion times” worse.  Dad, who will be 92 next month, has been doing his very best to take care of his wife of 73 years.  And now it has taken its toll on him.  Yesterday as he and I discussed what we would do today, what he said literally broke my heart:  “Son, I would rather take her to the cemetery rather than do this.  But it has to be done.”  There were tears in his eyes and his voice quivered.  He was broken and in a prison, too.

As a pastor, I am fortunate enough to share life with those entrusted to my care.  Shared meals, baptisms, weddings and just enjoying the extraordinary joys of the ordinary life are a part of this life as a pastor.  I also share in times of heartache: sickness, loss of jobs, the prodigal child, the prodigal spouse, the prodigal parent, and yes, the journey with them of watching losing a loved one long before they die.  My heart has always broken for those families living through this nightmare called dementia.

And now, my own nightmare intensifies.  As I watched others go through this nightmare, I became angry with God.  “Why are you allowing this to continue?  For heaven’s sake, please take them home!”  Honestly, I do not understand why He didn’t and thus, the source of my frustration (I know I did a blog/sermon on frustration).  And at the risk of sounding to some as being callous and uncaring, I’m “praying without ceasing” that God will take my Mother home instead of us taking her to a nursing home.  Dad’s right;  a journey to the cemetery would be much easier.  This is frustrating!

So what do I do?  Can I do?  Psalm 88:18 describes where I am perfectly:  You have taken away my companions and loved ones.  Darkness is my closest friend.”  I looked up this Psalm and found out that the last word in the original Hebrew is DARKNESS.  Unlike other Psalms of despair that end with “hope”, this one ends in DARKNESS.

Maybe David Kitz is correct in pointing out this song written by someone known as Heman the Ezrahite.  I would like to think The Spirit inspired David to write this blog just for me; even further back, that He inspired Heman the Ezrahite to write it just for me in 2018.  And right now I am holding on, barely but holding on, to the middle, exactly the middle of this Psalm.  It’s verse 9:  Each day I beg for your help, O LordI lift my hands to you for mercy.”  Maybe there is something prophetic that in the exact middle of darkness, Heman begs and cries out to God.  And so do I….so do I…  Prayers greatly appreciated…


26 thoughts on “My Difficult Journey…Today!

  1. Randy, my heart goes out to you. My mother is suffering from dementia, and I’m 1,000 miles away from her. It’s a good thing she has my sister and brother there to take care of her. There are the darkest of times when we feel like the Lord is a million miles away from us, but as believers, we all know better. It’s difficult to navigate these waters because the enemy so wants to discourage us and put the idea in our minds that God doesn’t care. But again, we all know He does, and that he is cradling us in his arms. As a pastor, I’m not telling you anything you haven’t already said to many others. But just know that you have people praying for you and I ask God to lift you up out of this pit of discouragement and bring peace and joy your life. All of God’s blessings to you!

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  2. Randy, I am so sorry to hear this about your sweet Mom and Dad. They are great examples of what true loving Christians should be like. They are one of a kind. I will truly miss seeing them at church. I know all to well about the evil dementia. My Mom suffered from it too. We will be praying for you all during this difficult time.
    Lucinda Frost

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  3. Randy,
    My heart breaks for You and Your Very Special parents. My prayers are with All of You, I kept telling myself for the last year of Mom’s life, If God brings me to it, He Will see me Thru it…and He will never put more on Me that he thinks I can’t handle.
    You helped me to learn that much faith and trust in God and now I’m here as well as many others Praying without ceasing that God will see You and you Special parents thru this.

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  4. My grandfather suffers from dementia too; its sometimes really hard to watch a strong man like himself be so weak. I have even almost forgotten what he used to be like before he became six. May His grace be with you.

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  5. I am so sorry for your distress, Pastor Randy. I’ll pray the Lord makes His presence known to you and fills you with His peace.

    I have been blessed enough to see some people go into a home and it turns out to have been the best thing to ever happen to them and their loved ones. My dad was like that,he fought and fought against the idea of just going into some assisted living, but once there those years turned out to have been the best in his life. Recently I was quite relieved to have a local woman finally go into a nursing home. We were picking her up on the street, out in snow, lost and confused and giving her rides home. My heart was breaking because she obviously needed care and supervision and wasn’t getting it.

    Not sure if this will help, but from working with people who have dementia, I soon came to realize that we on the outside looking in suffer a lot more then they do. We see what is being lost, we remember the struggles they had just yesterday, we experience all the emotions they express. We go through their dementia fully alert and aware,which makes us feel it more intensely than they do. Over the years I came to understand that there is a kind of grace they experience,a kind of anesthesia if you will. They sleep a lot, they don’t remember yesterday’s grief, their memory loss is actually a blessing. God’s hand is on them. It’s the family members around them who feel it all the heaviest and we tend to project our own understanding of their experience onto them. As the bible says,”lean not unto your own understanding,” our view is not their view.

    Hang in there, Pastor Randy and trust in the Lord. He’ll walk you through it.

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  6. Hi Randy, my heart goes out to you. God is with us in the dark times. I speak those words in faith, because we cannot see Him in the darkness.
    I feel blessed knowing that my words have been a small comfort in a dark time. The Lord knows what we need to keep us moving forward. He will bring your mother to the Light.
    Grace be with you for the journey.

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  7. Prayers definitely coming your way. I have never had a loved one go through dementia, but I know others who have. I sure can understand your frustration, and your longing for mercy.

    On a side note, my Mom had a heart attack early this morning and at 92 is doing OK right now. But they do not know the cause, and she is quite weak . Seems this is a day for Mothers and their sons to be prayed for.

    Blessings to you, Randy

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  8. Well, I can say that I feel your pain. Eddie and i had always had each other to help my Mother deal with my Dad. Eddie was always the one he would listen to about wearing his oxygen, etc. Now, it is only me that my Mother has to call. This disease is so terrible, but so was the cancer that took my brother. I couldn t make it through the stresses of this life without myJesus, and the prayers of many friends. Praying for you.

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