Monday, June 8, 2015


I was talking to my cousin the other night.

I was recounting to her some of the difficult things that happened during the last couple of years with my dad.  The things that happened as he increasingly slid into a state of dementia.  And I told her how one of the hardest things for me to deal with was how suspicious he became.

He was always convinced that my siblings and I were "out to get him."

For instance, my sister and I went over on several occasions to help clean and organize their house.  One day, we happened to be working downstairs.  We could hear our parents talking upstairs.  So, instantly turning into *children* again, we snuck up the stairs to listen in.

I sorta wish we hadn't.

Because what we heard was my dad telling my mom that we were stealing things.  Taking away their silver and jewelry.  Absconding with art pieces. Sneaking precious treasures out of their home.

We heard how he didn't want us there.  How he didn't understand why we had to interfere.  How he didn't trust us.

I'm not gonna lie – it hurt really bad hearing this.

Yes, suspicion and paranoia are common manifestations of dementia.  And the accusations are more often than not aimed at family members.  

This from WebMD: "A person with dementia may become irrationally suspicious of the people around him. He might become convinced, again and again, that someone has stolen his [possessions].  It can be demoralizing – after all the work you do as a caregiver, being called a thief a couple of times a day isn't fun."

But to tell you the truth, knowing the reason for this behavior, and knowing that my dad wasn't in his right mind, may have explained these thoughts – but it didn't alleviate the hurt.

Of course, there were moments of comic relief.

Like the time my sister snuck a beat-up old knife from their very old everyday set of eating utensils and put it in her purse.  And then proceeded to slyly show it to me as she walked out the front door.

"Hurry, start the car!"

We laughed so very hard.

Sometimes, in the midst of the pain, you've just got to laugh.

(And yes, we returned the knife!!)

But now, the pain comes back.

You see, my mom is beginning to suffer signs of cognitive impairment.  And though she hasn't become totally suspicious, there are times when she gets huffy with me, times when she gets angry.

This is not my mom.

My mom is the most gentle, soft-spoken person I know.  She wouldn't hurt a fly, nor would she raise her voice to it.  So, when she looks at me like I'm trying to do something terrible to her, it hurts.

A lot.

I feel like I want to say to her:

"Mom, you've known me my whole life.  Don't you know how much I love you, and that I would only do something if it was for your own good?  How can you mistrust me?  Haven't I proved my character by now?  Don't you know me?"

So, I'm in the middle of the conversation with my cousin when those words came out of my mouth...

...I stopped.

Mid-sentence, mid-thought.

For you see, I had not only just said these words to her, I had also heard them said to me.

Someone had spoken to my own heart.

It's like God gave me a glimpse of how it grieves Him when I feel suspicious of Him.

I wonder, does He sometimes say the same thing to me?

"Sharon, you've known Me all of your life.  Don't you know how much I love you, and that I would only do something if it was for your own good?  How can you mistrust Me?  Haven't I proved My character by now?  Don't you know Me?"

After I hung up with my cousin, I kept thinking about this.  

It must hurt God so much when I doubt His goodness, when I question His motives, when I act like I don't trust Him.

I can hear Him saying – softly, plaintively – with a tear in His eye, a crack in His heart:

"Sharon, don't you know Me by now?"

Oh, how foolish I am!

Hasn't He proved Himself to be completely faithful, trustworthy, consistent, good, loving, kind?

Over and over again?

Yes, He has.

It's life that gets in the way.

It's the lies of the enemy that lie to our souls.

And it's our sin-flawed minds that believe those lies.

For you see, we are not really in our right minds at all.

God is not out to steal our joy, nor is He sneaking behind our backs to do terrible things.  He isn't the devious or misanthropic ogre in the sky.

He loves us.

More than we will ever, ever comprehend.

Do we ever stop to think about what a risk He took when He offered His love to humanity?

Think about it…

The Creator of the Universe opened up His heart, offered His love, knowing that He could be rejected and spurned.

Along with His love, He gave humanity the awful and wonderful gift of free will.

He gave us the freedom to turn our backs on Him.

To hurt Him.

To grieve Him.

And the awful, terrible truth I have come to believe is that I grieve Him when I mistrust Him, when I doubt His love.

Oh, this pains me…

All those things I felt with my dad, the things I am beginning to once again feel with my mom – the sadness, the anger, the pain, the dismay – the horror of hearing them distrust my good intentions – all those things I have caused God Himself to feel.

Lord, I'm so very sorry.

For yes, I know better.

I know You.

Through the centuries represented in Your Word, and through every single day of my own life.

Through the good things and the bad things.

Through thick and thin, one thing remains unchanged…

Your love.

Might I just say this to You:

"I have known You all of my life.  I know how much You love me, and that You would only do something if it was for my own good.  I trust You.  You have proved Your character over and over again.  And yes indeed, I do know You."

His love never changes, never wavers, never diminishes, never fades.

And my love for Him begins…

…when I trust Him.

Have I been so long with you,
and yet you have not come to know Me?
O you, of fainthearted faith.
Why do you doubt?
I am the resurrection and the life.
Do you believe this?
Then do not let your heart be troubled.
Trust in Me.

"Thou wilt keep him in peace; in perfect peace, inward peace, outward peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace at all times, in all events.  Trust in the Lord for that peace, that portion, which will be for ever.  Whatever we trust to the world for, it will last only for a moment; but those who trust in God shall not only find in him, but shall receive from him, strength that will carry them to that blessedness which is for ever.  Let us then acknowledge him in all our ways, and rely on him in all trials." 

(From Matthew Henry commentary on Isaiah 26:3)

"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him." (2 Samuel 22:31, KJV)

"The Rock!  His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; A God of faithfulness...righteous and upright is He." (Deuteronomy 32:4, NASB)

"The LORD is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes.  He is close to those who trust in him." (Nahum 1:7, NLT)

"And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you." (Psalm 9:10, ESV)

"O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me..." (Psalm 7:1, KJV)

"When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You." (Psalm 56:3, NASB)

"This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him." (Psalm 91:2, NLT)

"O Lord, you alone are my hope.
I've trusted you, O LORD, from childhood.
Yes, you have been with me from birth;
from my mother's womb you have cared for me.

My life is an example to many,
because you have been my strength and protection.
And now, in my old age, don't set me aside.
Don't abandon me when my strength is failing.
For my enemies are whispering against me.

My God, please hurry to help me.
I will keep on hoping for your help;
I will praise you more and more.

O God, you have taught me from my earliest childhood,
and I constantly tell others about the wonderful things you do.
Now that I am old and gray,
do not abandon me, O God.
Let me proclaim your power to this new generation,
your mighty miracles to all who come after me.

Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the highest heavens.
Who can compare with you, O God?

You have allowed me to suffer much hardship,
but you will restore me to life again
and lift me up from the depths of the earth.
You will...comfort me once again.
Then I will praise you...
because you are faithful to your promises, O my God." 

(From Psalm 71, NLT)

"You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you." (Isaiah 26:3, ESV)

Do you truly trust the Lord?

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  1. You always stir my heart and lift it towards God. There's an old hymn that says "Trusting Jesus, that is all." Those are the only words I remember. I love your words "That's where my love for Him begins."

  2. Thank you Sharon! I will need all of your words of wisdom and the strength found in these verses and your heart-felt sentiments to remember when I face this 'demon' or the further onset of dementia with Alzheimer in my dear one. Fear is what arises in me because even in what should be our normal life, 'suspicious minds' from him have taunted and hurt so ... Fortunately, I did not have this pain with my own parents before their time ended. However, I pray that the same God I have known will speak loudly through His Word and my trust in His promises that I know Him and He knows me, and He is worthy of all my trust, my love and will keep me steady in these times. I even fear my own self getting to this point. How wonderful that you have reminded us of His love and the time we have had in His love with Him, getting to know and love Him and yes, trust Him. May He hold you (your mom), and others closely to His heart with encouragement when it's tough and steadfast love that endures (if only we can keep our hearts from the hurt and our minds from the lies, focused on this love and find our strength in Him) ... may we block out all fear and worry, all hurt and suspicious lies and all the rest, finding comfort in where that love begins ... in Him, through Him and with Him, may we remain ... This was a bit overwhelming to read but it is so worthwhile and wonderfully penned/typed ... from an honest and vulnerable heart that I have come to know and love. I love you Sharon (wishing I had the words to help).

    Much love, hugs, blessings and prayers of peace, strength, comfort to sustain and bear in love when our feelings are hurt by unguarded minds, and may He guard your heart (and mine) always ... closer to Him ~ Peggy

    1. Claiming, proclaiming and declaring my life verse of 2 Timothy 1:7
      "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." (NKJV)

  3. Oh wow, that really got to me. I never thought of it that way before... He really does love us.

    Blessings to you and yours during this difficult period xxx

  4. Oh gosh, Sharon, this is really so true. God is so faithful, we really should know him by now and trust in him and his greatness and goodness. Great analogy as you laid it out here. I am sorry you are dealing with your mom's fading health and her cognitive impairment. It is sad to see our parents age, especially when their personalities change a bit. I told hubby to try to remember his parents at a different age when he remembers them, not their final years since they too had suffered with personality changes and dementia.


  5. Sharon, I love how you incorporate the dialogue within your heart and with the Lord. Such an honest account of the believers' relationship. Blessings to you.

  6. Such a powerful post... and thought... and truth! Thanks so much for being brave and honest and giving us a glimpse in to your life... for it always points us to Him, and gives us a glimpse into our own lives, too!

  7. Oh, I remember times like this with my own parents too. :( It's so sad to feel untrusted, even when you know it's dementia talking. My mother exhibited lots of anger in the middle stages, which was SO unlike her. I remember her getting very angry that we brought in a girl to cut her hair. I felt so sorry for that young lady. You just have to pray that everyone understands. Same way we pray that God understands our hearts! Thanks for these great insights, Sharon.

  8. Sharon, reading your words here brought me to tears. I lost my father to Alzheimer's, and though he never suffered the suspicions you speak of here, I could easily see that happening down the road with my mother who has made a life-long practice of calling into question who I am and what I do, and a worrier to top it all off. I love her, but it's hard, and I've spent much time in prayer with God over it. After all, in all these years, doesn't she know me?
    We all fall short of God's grace, but not of His forgiveness for our shortcomings and misunderstandings. I'm so grateful you pointed all of this out in such a poignant way, a reminder to be thankful for every blessing He gives even when it comes wrapped in pain.
    Blessings, Sharon!

  9. Dementia is so hard on everyone. To see the person you have always loved change before your eyes and become someone you never dreamed they would become is heartbreaking. So glad that God looks beyond my faults and failures and loves me anyway. That is grace. Visiting from Me, Coffee, and Jesus.

  10. I too was convicted when I read the words you were thinking concerning your mom, knowing that God could say the very same thing to me.

    I have testimoney after testimoney of God's incredible love and faithfulness to me, yet I can still doubt finding myself saying, "I believe, help my unbelief!" Mark 9:24

    Thank you for such an encouraging reminder.

  11. I can imagine the hurts of being suspected of stealing or worse. Yet in your understanding you know it was the sickness speaking and not your dad. My mom had dementia but I don't remember her being suspicious. Most days she did not know who I was, and other days, after being reminded, she would say I was her daughter. She lived with us for 3 years, sliding down that slope a day at a time. When she forgot where she was and tried to go outside at night, it was raising my husband's blood pressure, and we had to find a good assisted living. The caregivers were so kind and loving, and she would kiss their cheek and call her favorite one "Hazel." She was happy there for over a year, and one day drifted off to sleep to be with Jesus. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a True Story.

  12. WOW! I can only imagine Sharon. Thank you for the encouraging scriptures at the later end, they are some of my favorites.
    God Bless Sharon visiting from Let me tell you a true story.

  13. WOW...that one hit me right between the eyes...I needed this today, my friend. I have experienced the dementia thing with both my hubby's grandma and then later with his IS hard! But you used this experience as a perfect analogy of how the same mistrust, as unintentional as it is, to our precious Lord and Savior. I am right there with you asking for His forgiveness. Thank you for this, Sharon. God Bless you, my friend!

  14. I'm with the other Debby....Wow, this post is powerful and I thank you for your words of wisdom. ((Hugs))

  15. Heartbreaking to hear this, milady. I've been so out of touch for the past two months with all my busy--trying to catch up and knowing we're all working through one thing or another for greater purposes. May you know God's comfort in His character as he hold your hand in this time with your mom. May His loving words by yours to your mom as you are Christ in her life.

  16. Yes, we have a habit of turning on God and questioning Him when He been there the whole time caring for us. I loved your analogy because I'm easing into that stage of life with my parents as well. It's not easy, and you're right, you have to laugh. (Otherwise, you'll cry!)
    Thanks for sharing on Life Giving Link up!

  17. Beautiful truths, Sharon. I am praying for the situation with your mom. Being a caregiver is not for the faint of heart. God will provide the strength and the comfort as you honor Him in this way. Blessings.

  18. Visiting next door from Coffee for The Heart. What a tender blog--how difficult it is to have parent's with dementia--the normal reactions you write about..and your encouragement through scripture about how to remember to trust God! Thank you for your wonderful post!

  19. Sharon what a beautiful post today. Thanks for sharing and so sorry you have to go through this with both parents, but you are doing it as unto the Lord. You'll savor this time when they are gone. Visiting as your neighbor on Women of Intention.

  20. Oh wow. I didn't see that one coming. Very powerful. Thank you for sharing!

  21. Great truth cultivated from such a painful situation. Sorry you've had to go through such things, but thankful for this reminder. I've been praying recently about trust and intimacy. They grow together. The more intimately we know Him, the more we'll come to trust and rely on Him. Thanks again for allowing God to use this challenge to encourage all of us! Thank you, Sharon.

  22. Sharon, it was just this week that I left a comment on another blog post about God asking a similar question to me, "Have I not shown you how much I love you?" It was something like that. But it related to how continuing on with my eating disorder was like doubting God. Doubting His love and goodness. Hadn't He shown me who He was and how I could trust in Him? I don't know how to explain, other than to give all praise to God that something finally clicked. One day I just knew He was enough. And good-bye to eating disorder.

    I'm not sure if I summed that up like I wanted but trusting you know what I wanted to say. :)

    But once again, your post touches my heart. And praying for you, sweet friend.

    Much love.

  23. I needed this. Thanks for sharing.

  24. I'm so sorry you're facing this...but I loved the 'stolen knife' humour, and I'm very impressed by your ability to draw a transcendental truth from personal heartache.

    Good on yer, sister. You're a battler.

    And I am here for Coffee and Conversaation.

  25. Sharon, I found you from faithbarista's link up. What a powerful example of beauty from ashes. I love how God works that way. I'll never forget listening to a radio program where a caller was talking about a parent with Alzheimer's. She spoke of how hard it was to have the parent say, "I don't know you." She would answer, "That's ok. I know you and Jesus knows you." To which her parent said, "Oh, Jesus. Now Him I know!" He became the anchor for them both. The unbreakable cord to hold to when all else slipped away. Thank you so much for sharing.

  26. We had to put my grandparents in an ALF this week, Sharon. It's been heartwrenching. This was right on time for me. Hugs

  27. Wow… I so appreciate how you use the Light of wisdom to shine into your own life before pointing a finger at others. Great point. A needed reminder for someone who tends to be suspicious in the first place.

  28. Interesting perspective. Both of my parents suffered from severe dementia before they died. I'm so glad they didn't react with suspicion of me. They recognized me and loved me to the end. I was certainly blessed that way but it was so awful to see them in that condition.
    Blessings to you for being so faithful to share with us on Spiritual Sundays.

  29. I needed this today. Learning to rest and trust despite how things appear is so hard at times. I'm so sorry that you have had to witness and hear hurtful things as your parents suffer, but I'm thankful that you have the prior memories of them. But yes, God is good and we can trust Him.

  30. Your posts have just been blessing the stuffings out of me lately!! So happy I am your neighbor at #dancewithjesus and that you linked up at my #wordswithwinter post!

  31. Sharon, this sounds so heartbreaking. You certainly have a way of using hurtful experiences in your life to draw you closer to the Lord. And while you may mistrust God sometimes, He is always pursuing you and loving you. I pray that you feel His presence as you interact with you mom and help her in the best ways you know how.

  32. I'm sorry to hear about your mom Sharon. Sending a big hug your way!

  33. Wow! Powerful truth you wrote here, friend!

  34. Your words speak to me every time. One story about you and your cousin turned into much needed words that I know God is speaking to me. You know me, Mary and I need you to remember and trust me. Blessed you shared this at The Weekend Brew.

  35. That is amazing how our minds play tricks on us. Thank you for all this instruction and the way you bring it around to trusting God!

  36. I had one of those 'moments' too and it certainly changed the way I thought about that particular subject. I pray that you always remember your parents before the sad diseases set in.

  37. You beautifully wrote something that I have been struggling with. Thank you for sharing your words and heart with us at Waiting on...Wednesday. I look forward to your posts each week!

    Holly @

  38. Thank you for sharing this Sharon

  39. Such, beautiful precious words! OH, my! It hit me like a ton of many times have I done this? How many times have I mistrusted my Lord? It must break His heart. I am so sorry to know of all you are going through with your dear mother's declining health. Surely Jesus is with you in the storm, and He will see you through these difficult days. Many prayers and much love is coming your way!

  40. Hi Sharon, I found you through the Grace and Truth link-up. And just wanted to tell you I really appreciated this post. It's so hard seeing parents get older. I feel your pain, as I'm also going through it. I especially enjoyed the way you linked it up to God wanting us to know him. And to remember that he knows us. That makes every burden so much easier! Thanks for that reminder!


"So [I] have been greatly encouraged in the midst of [my] troubles and suffering, dear brothers and sisters, because you have remained strong in your faith. It gives [me] new life to know that you are standing firm in the Lord. How [I] thank God for you!" (1 Thessalonians 3:7-9)

Thanks for your comments - it is such a joy to be sharing my journey with friends like YOU!

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