One of the things I love most about our ministry is that our staff take the time to minister and talk to people who contact us. One of our EPM staff, Amy Schafer, shared about a wonderful conversation she had with a customer who called to order Heaven booklets:
She has one booklet already that she was able to read daily to her mother who had Alzheimer’s, and it was such a comfort and always brought peace to her mom (and her). In her mother’s last days, she couldn’t speak much, but as she listened to her daughter read the Heaven booklet, she managed to ask how she knew she would go to Heaven. Her daughter was able to share her mom’s testimony back to her—as she couldn’t remember. And what a beautiful and peace filled time it was. She wants to have many booklets to give to people, so they too can experience the peace it brought to their lives.
That is so powerful: a woman with dementia, asking how she could know she’s going to Heaven, and her daughter recounting to her mom the mom’s own testimony. It’s like being witnessed to by yourself, based on what you have told your children. The lesson might be: tell your children and grandchildren what God has done for you, and not only will it make a difference for them, one day when your mind is frail, it might come back to you from them, and make a difference for you!
“Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet to be created may praise Yahweh” (Psalm 102:18). And perhaps one day your children will speak back to you what you have written and spoken and lived. Then a people at the end of their lives who loved God, but do not remember, may praise Yahweh along with those they poured life and love into who DO remember and will testify to what the elderly have forgotten.
Psalm 71:18 says, “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.” With the added thought from this mother and daughter’s story: “Yahweh, let me proclaim You to them, that one day they may proclaim You to me.”
Let me finish by quoting a dear friend, Robin, who wrote the following about her mother after reading the story I just shared. This is just beautiful:
With my mother on hospice care, nearing her one hundredth birthday, I can attest to the truth of that. She has five children, and we all often recall to her the story of her salvation, and the difference it made in her life and our lives. We sing her the songs she has loved best over the years, and read scriptures that she loves, and she nods along with us in agreement.
One of her favorite songs is “He Giveth More Grace.” Another one is “God Leads His Dear Children Along.”
One day a few months ago, mom said she was feeling discouraged, and when I asked her why, she said she wasn’t doing anything, just taking up space. I asked her if she had ever seen a page in a book with all the words on it. She said, of course. I told her that between every word on the page is a space. It’s not doing anything; it’s just taking up space. But without that, the entire page would make no sense. I said she was here in the world because God knew the world would make more sense with her in it. When He was done with her, He would take her home to glory, but until then, she has a real purpose. That thought just thrilled her.
“Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old” (Proverbs 23:22).
“‘You shall rise up before the gray-haired and honor the aged, and you shall fear your God; I am Yahweh’” (Leviticus 19:32, LSB).