The Little Prayers

My great-grandmother has dementia. According to Google, dementia is “a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.” 

Nenney has daily hallucinations. She sees people that aren’t there (which is slightly scary when you are by yourself with her). She hears things. She forgets where she is or that she’s eaten or hasn’t eaten. She is as stubborn as ever.

When I was told she had the disease, I tried to let it not bother me. Sometimes, it’s okay, and she says things that makes me laugh. Sometimes, we talk about about every day things. Sometimes, it’s like she doesn’t have dementia. 

But she does.

My biggest fear is that one day I’ll walk in my Mammaw’s house and see Nenney, and she won’t know who I am. I try and hide my emotions…but it truly breaks my heart. 

I have been praying about it for several weeks, because it stresses me out. I have been talking and praying to Him to give me the strength to trust in Him through this storm in my life, and that He would allow Nenney to remember me for as long as possible.

Monday, I went to go see my Nenney and Mammaw. When I got there, I woke Nenney up from one of her many daily naps. She woke up, looked at me, smiled, and said, “Oh, Maddy!” …and gave me a big kiss on the forehead. I had to fight back tears, and I thanked and praised God for hearing my little prayer. We had such a great day together.

The day will come where Nenney will look at me, and she’ll tell me it’s nice to meet me. She’ll look at me and she will not remember all those nights spent whispering in her bed. She will not remember our inside jokes. She will not remember making me brownies. She will simply forget, because she cannot help it.

It is going to be so hard. But my God is so good. He hears the little prayers…the ones that I think don’t matter. He hears my prayers. Nenney still remembers me now..and even when she forgets, it’ll be okay. Because one day, she will be made new in Christ. 

If you are going through a hard situation, just know that God hears even the little prayers. What’s important to you is important to Him. He loves you. The Bible says,

“He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” -Psalm 147:3 

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” -Revelation 21:4

“But certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer. Nor His loving kindness from me.” -Psalm 66:19-20

Cry out to Jesus!! No matter what, He is ready with arms open wide. He is the ultimate Comforter. Nothing you say is too big or too small. Nothing you say will drive Him away. He has overcome the grave!! He has overcome everything. He says if we have faith the size of a mustard seed, we have the ability to move mountains. 

So have faith, my friends! I am resting in His grace today. I am resting in His faithfulness. I am praying that He will show you His faithfulness and love as He has for me this week. 

I love you all immensely. 

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Transparency in Faith

Lately, I think we are all trying a little too hard to look perfect, especially on social media.

But as followers of Christ, aren’t we supposed to be genuine and real? Aren’t we supposed to let others know that we have flaws and sufferings too? That we are imperfect people?

As I read 2 Corinthians chapter 1 this morning, I was overwhelmed by Paul’s honesty in his writing. When I think of Paul, I immediately think of strength, boldness, and courage. Sometimes, I forget that he did a complete 180 degrees in his life: he went from persecuting Christians to being a persecuted Christian. I can only imagine what that must’ve been like.

He didn’t try and hide what was happening to him. He told the Corinthians in verses 8-9:

“For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself… But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”

I wonder if those words were a challenge to write down…to relive those burdens…to be vulnerable and open. I know it would be for me. I do not like to look weak. I do not like to let others know I’m struggling. I bottle my burdens inside.

But if you’re like me, you know this way only ends in destruction. As you self-destruct, you hurt not only yourself but others around you.

To read that Paul struggled this morning was almost a relief to me…to know I am not alone. I’ve known this all along, but God knows me. He knows I need to be reminded, and it is such a blessing when it is through the living Word.

You might be thinking: why does suffering have to happen? Why me?

Paul begins his letter to the Corinthians with: (v. 3-4)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”

We suffer, because it is a part of life. We suffer, so that we understand what it is like: that life is not perfect. Life is hard, but with Christ we have comfort. With Christ, we know how to comfort others.

This is what transparency of faith is: to realize and admit that you are not perfect. To admit you have flaws. To show that you yourself are an imperfect being who needs a perfect Savior.

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.” -2 Corinthians 4:16

“I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33

If you are trying to keep up the perfect facade, let it go. He has already overcome all your struggles. He is ready to comfort you.

Be authentic. Be real. Be you. 

You are not alone in your suffering. You. Are. Not. Alone. Keep fighting the good fight, brothers and sisters!

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present life are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us.” -Romans 8:18

 

 

Change

We humans do not like adapting to change, yet we are constantly changing.

Change, in the lives around us, is odd. We want people to stay the way we know them: the old version of themselves. We look at the new version. We may even listen to what they say, yet we still see the old version we are comfortable with. We don’t give them a chance.

A common phrase we have all used is: “I’ll have to see it to believe it.” Especially when we hear about people changing, why must we see for ourselves? Why is it so hard for us to believe that change is possible? Why is it so hard to believe that someone is growing mentally? Physically? Spiritually?

I look at myself and think back to a year ago, and I’ve realized that I am not the same. I have shed a layer of my old self–dying to the parts I don’t want to be defined by, parts I don’t want to be. It has been a slow change, but I am so grateful for the situations and trials that have led me to where I am, to who I am becoming.

So if I am not the same person now as I was 365 days ago, how can I shut out the idea that someone else is also not the same? What kind of follower of Christ would I be if I looked at others and gave them no grace? No redemption? No mercy for who they used to be?

Life is so short, but it has so much room for growth, for progress.

I challenge each of you like God is challenging me now: Leave your old self behind: the one who could not see the change in others. Do not force your version of who someone is. Be respectful of others and their journey. Encourage and love others in their progress. Be patient with them. Be more than you were yesterday. Shed your judgmental layer! Encourage. Uplift. Be a light.