This has been a hard week. In the midst of organizing Gary's medical records and browsing my notes from the "go-zillion" Dr. appts., lab reports and tests, some old feelings have been dredged up. Again, I find myself tempted to despair. It shouldn't come as a surprise, that these temptations sneak in when least expected. You'd think, that since I've been so encouraged by the small, but measurable improvements in Gary's speech and balance recently, I'd be well defended against sadness but I must still guard against the Enemy's attacks on my joy.
Beginning in 2006, and for several years following, we were on a constant roller-coaster ride of emotions as we got devastating news, and experienced the steady falling-away of Gary's mind. On top of that were the secondary trials of finances, insurance changes, moving, changes in lifestyle, etc. There were many, many tears shed over those years. Lately, most days, it has not been so bad, emotionally. Acceptance has a lot to do with that. This is who we are. We have Alzheimer's Disease in our marriage. Proactively looking for blessings helps too. Gary is not unhappy. I actually think he is content as he lives "in the moment" and I enjoy my family, and my friends, and my painting. I enjoy being with Gary. We sit together on the sofa and watching Bull Riding, until he falls asleep. I read the Bible to him sometimes, during the morning when he is alert. Today I picked his apple up off the floor for him and he spoke to me. "Thank you," he said.
I am glad those extremely difficult days of testing, diagnosis, and fears of the unknowns are behind us, but I know there are likely to be extremely difficult days ahead. We have been laid bare emotionally, and are being humbled under the hammer and chisel of Love. With my whole heart I believe it is good for us. It is getting easier to be joyful more of the time, but the last few days have been a good reminder to be on guard, and be aggressive about choosing thankfulness which results in joy. Sometimes saying "Thank You" to God is the furthest thing from my mind, especially when I don't like the gift He's given, and it's frightening, and dark. But I know that He only gives good gifts. He is a loving Father. Choosing to have a thankful heart is sometimes a sacrifice, but it leads to the peace of God. (Philippians 4:6-7)
"To You I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call upon the name of the LORD." Psalm 116:17
Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a wonderfully helpful book. It has become one of my favorites. You can buy it HERE on Amazon.com.
“In those moments when I have found myself gasping for air, feeling that I was going under, I’ve discovered that gratitude truly is my life preserver. Even in the most turbulent waters, choosing gratitude rescues me from myself and my runaway emotions. It buoys me on the grace of God and keeps me from drowning in what otherwise would be my natural bent toward doubt, negativity, discouragement, and anxiety.” DeMoss
"When prayer teams up with gratitude, when we open our eyes wide enough to see God's mercies even in the midst of our pain, and when we exercise faith and give Him thanks even when we can't see those mercies, He meets us with His indescribable peace. It's a promise." DeMoss
Here's a short video to help you in your search for the blessings all around you: :)