She stands there, wrings her hands, and taps the spot where her watch is supposed to be. She paces, back and forth, between the basket that should hold the watch when she’s not wearing it and the chest of drawers where she hid it.
Mom has dementia.
She’d been living in Wichita Falls, and only this spring did my sister and I realize how much the disease had progressed. Mom’s in DFW now, and we’re all adjusting to the change.
Proverbs 3:5-6 has taken on new meaning, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
Mom’s in the messy middle of the disease. She’s aware enough to know something is horribly wrong. To be ashamed and embarrassed. To grieve the loss of her faculties.
But she’s deep enough into the disease that she finds it difficult to manage her thoughts.
And it torments her.
Verse 5 above says trust God and stop trying to figure it out. So, we challenge Mom to turn her face to His. To ask Him when she can’t find something. To be thankful we walk beside her. To know this season will be short in light of a healthy and whole eternity.
Many times, what I think dictates how I feel and what I choose. In Mark 12:30, Jesus commands us to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”
Heart, soul, mind, and strength.
These connect. Each one affects the other.
What does it look like for me to love God with my mind?
And what does it mean for Mom to love Him as her mind fails?
In Mom’s case, the mind’s physical ability to work properly is impaired. Because her short-term memory no longer functions, her mind hyper-focuses. She sees the empty spot on her wrist. I can’t find my watch. But faulty thinking leaps to an illogical conclusion. Someone stole it. So I try to steer her thoughts back to God. Worship music. Scripture cards (link below). To fix her eyes, and hopefully her mind, on Him and the peace only He gives.
In my case, though my mind’s physical abilities function well (I think), my mind is faulty too, colored by my broken sin nature. God’s Word must serve as my filter. My grid. If not, my mind will lead me astray. My thoughts can be just as illogical as Mom’s when I am in the flesh.
So, what does it look like for me to love God with my mind?
And what does it mean for Mom to love Him with her mind even as dementia steals it?
I think it looks a lot like Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”
And for me.
Loving God with Your Mind – Activities
1. Psalm 101:3a reads, “I will set before my eyes no vile thing.” What are you watching? Reading? Listening to?
2. Romans 12:2a says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Remember Playdoh? Talk about the difference between conforming and transforming. What molds does the world offer? How does it present those molds? How does it pressure us to conform? What does Jesus offer instead? How?
3. What’s your state of mind? Romans 8:5-6 reads, “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.” Where do you land?
Scripture cards: Here’s a link for Mary DeMuth’s art on Etsy. I love, love, love her Scripture cards.
I want to bring your attention to Glenys Nellist’s new illustrated children’s Bible, I Wonder: Exploring God’s Grand Story. Here’s the link for two activity packs that accompany the book. I was eager to read Glenys Nellist’s I Wonder for several reasons. One, the author is such a delight. Two, our theologies differ slightly. I found I Wonder to be, frankly, wonderful. Nellist stays true to the biblical accounts of the passages she includes and her chapter questions reflect many of the questions of my own heart. Her questions will make sense to kids because they’ve asked the same ones. The illustrations are gorgeous. What a treasure! Don’t wait until Christmas to buy this one. You’ll want it now.