Where the dark valley meets Jesus

Psalm 138:3

When I pray, you answer me and encourage me by giving me the strength I need.
Psalm 138: 3 (TLB)

Recently, my family and I moved my mom into a nursing home. She suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and can no longer take care of herself.

Mom is a roamer. She cannot sit still and is constantly walking.  I visit her often, and we spend our time together walking the halls of her new home. Because she can no longer form words, we walk in silence. Occasionally she will reach for my hand and at other times, I put my arm protectively around her.

These visits are emotionally hard, especially when it’s time for me to leave. I lean down to give her a kiss and tell her goodbye. She nods her head, turns and walks away.

As I leave the building, I turn to make sure she is not watching me. It’s easier this way. I then walk to my car where I break down in tears.

She has been in her new environment for a month now. I thought it would get easier, but it doesn’t. The struggle gets harder with each visit.

A few nights ago, I decided not to visit mom. I couldn’t bear the pain of leaving her again. But God nudged me, and I obediently went.

That night, we took the same silent walk through the halls, but when it was time for me to leave, mom did something different. Instead of walking away after saying our goodbyes, she walked with me to the door. She sat in a chair and watch me leave.

Did she think I was abandoning her? I can only hope she understands why it has to be this way.

Outside, I turned to see her in the window. Her face was expressionless as she stared at nothing. It was then the tears came, and my heart exploded in pain.

I ran to my car in frustration. I was angry and scared. All I wanted to do was run back inside and take mom home with me. But I knew that was not the best option for mom.

Instead, in this dark and heartbreaking moment, I reached out to Jesus. He came to me that night with open hands, and I gave him my frustration and anger over the present and my fear of the future.

And when I was done, he gave me something in return – peace.

Even when walking through the dark valley of death I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me, guarding, guiding all the way.  Psalm 23: 4 (TLB)

Since that night, mom has not been miraculously healed and our situation has not changed. But I have God’s peace and assurance that he is walking through this trial with me. His strength will see me through it.

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13 thoughts on “Where the dark valley meets Jesus

  1. Brought tears to my eyes. I love your mom. She’s one special ladie. I’m sure deep inside her she knows youand wants to communicate but just can’t get it out. Prayers

  2. Oh, Jenny. I remember feeing this same way after we moved my mom into assisted living with her Alzheimer’s. It was so difficult walking away. I would get in my car and cry too. Two things helped me: (1) knowing that she likely didn’t understand that I was leaving anyway, and (2) that God never changes. For whatever reason, knowing that HE was constant in the midst of so many changes with my mom and her situation was a very comforting truth to me. Praying for your journey! It doesn’t necessarily get easier, but you’re not alone in it.

  3. Jenny, I am so sorry for this difficult time you are experiencing. Now I know why the Lord kept bringing you to my mind. I have been praying for you. May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Love and prayers. Sandy Sheridan

  4. Jenny, you have expressed so well what it feels like for a daughter who loves her mom very much to have to walk the walk you are walking…I know, I experienced the same feelings with my mom in the three years before her homegoing in 2010…I wrote about the ways our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ encouraged me during that time in this blog post, “Comfort Measures Only”…

    http://bethwillismiller.blogspot.com/2011/03/comfort-measures-only.html

    Many blessings to you.

  5. What a touching story. Maybe your mom was walking you to the door. And that was her way of letting you know that she is okay. And wanted you to feel okay to.

  6. Jenny, we are walking the same hard path. My mum left our home to go into nursing care last summer, and I really thought that I would “get used to this” arrangement, but it’s still a hard thing — leaving her, thinking about her loneliness, feeling guilty when I don’t get there “enough” — What’s enough, anyway?
    So thankful for this testimony of the peace of God in your heart.

  7. What a hard valley, Jenny. Praying for you as I see these updates. The Lord is walking with you through it all- praising Him for that and praying for His peace for you in this time.

  8. My heart is breaking for this journey you are walking. I hope you will always find His peace and comfort every step of the way!

  9. Gosh, I cannot imagine how hard this whole new journey is… you will be in my prayers, Jenny, and so grateful that you chose to share something so raw in order to encourage others. Lord bless and keep you both this week….

  10. Jenny, this is so hard. We did not have to put my mom in a nursing home, but she did live in an independent living apt. It was hard because I couldn’t visit her as much as I would have liked. But I was with her in the couple days before her death and it was a sweet time. But I understand your pain and your tears. I have not shed enough tears yet, but I know they will come. Thank you for sharing your heart with us at #LMMLinkup. Blessings to you!

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