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Monday, March 17, 2014

Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off...

Funny how when you're down, you think life can only get better and then it implodes. Like a few years ago when I got a particularly painful rejection on my son's birthday and promptly stepped in dog poop. You narrow your eyes and think, real funny. Yeah.



But crazily enough, sometimes life gets so bad, so traumatic, so painful that the only thing you can do is either give up or, like the song says, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again. ("Pick Yourself Up" by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Dorothy Fields.)

My father went from mild dementia to late stages of Alzheimer's in the blink of an eye.

The last two years have been difficult for me for many reasons. But if you're a believer, you can see God's goodness in it all. The little signs He sends to comfort you. The people who go out of their way to be kind just when you need it the most. There have been so many upsides in every downside.

I was raised in faith. It's a blessing to be able to talk about God with my family. We live in such a broken, decayed world, and I don't question why my wonderful, smart, kind dad has this disease. I know he still believes. I know he's going to heaven. And I know that God is with him every second of every day.

So many times I've doubted my calling, my decisions about pursuing writing as a career. But those doubts have never been from God. They've been from my own feeling of inadequacy, my impatience, my desire to contribute to our family's income, my deflated pride.

God's strength IS made perfect in weakness. I'm still excited to write. I'm still thrilled to spend time with my dad.

Last week I had a good day. Then a series of ridiculousness bombarded me, starting with a call from the high school's trainer, moving to a flat tire, and ending with feeling like a moron at a mandatory high school meeting. And you know what? I laughed. It didn't seem so bad. That's what God can do. He can take the weight of life and fill you with peace that surpasses all understanding. By the way, Peace is my word for 2014. God is faithful.

Phillipians 4:6-7 (NIV)

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Next time you're overwhelmed, pray for God's peace. It really does transcend all understanding.

Thank you so much for all the kind words and support. 

23 comments:

  1. So, so sorry to hear about your dad. My grandmother had Alzheimer's for twelve years. It was incredibly painful for the family, but it also brought us all closer together, and increased our love for her, and for each other. And yes, we did manage to laugh even through the darkest times!

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    1. I'm sorry about your grandfather. Very few lives aren't touched by dementia or Alzheimer's, which makes me sad. But I know what you mean about bringing you closer together and filling you with love. Yes!

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  2. When situations arise, you have to look for the funny. It helps to put things in perspective. While dealing with my dad's Alzheimer's, I used to live for the little moments, the times when my dad peeked out or when I knew he recognized me. The little things add up

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    1. I agree! We've had plenty of situations where we shake our heads and laugh. Maybe it's a coping mechanism, I don't know, but I'm thankful! The little things truly do add up, and I'm sorry you've been down this road with your own father.

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  3. I am so glad you are able to see the light and laughter in the dark and sadness of your father's illness and those little bumps in the road every day. That is a kind of strength we all need.

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    1. Thanks so much, Kristi. If we can't find the light in the darkness, life becomes impossible. :)

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  4. Dear friend, I'm holding you so close to my heart and lifting you up in prayer!

    (It seems that Blogger and WP don't get along sometimes, so I'm switching browsers & hoping you'll get this... xo)

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    1. Thank you, Cindy. You've lightened my heart many times over the last few weeks, and I'm so thankful for you!

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  5. I can't imagine what you're going through. That disease is so awful. Praying for little glimpses of peace and grace as you go through this!

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    1. Thanks, Lindsay. I appreciate your prayers, and we do have glimpses of peace.

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  6. I'm sending a prayer your way. My mother had Alzheimer's for 16 years. It was terrible in countless ways for everyone involved. Her body may've kept on living for years to come, but finally, a change in caregivers caused it to end abruptly, within a week. The new caregiver didn't know how to get food into her. And finally, Mom went to be with her beloved Savior. Everyone's very long ordeal finally ended.

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    1. I'm so sorry, Cathy. Sixteen years is a long time. My father is young-ish, so he could live a long time too. We'll take him any way we can have him!

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  7. This is such a beautiful and uplifting post, Jill. I pray for peace for you, your father and your family. I know your father is proud he raised such a wonderful and loving daughter.
    My mother is in the early stages of dementia, it's tough, but with God, we'll get through.

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    1. Thanks, Jill. Your words mean a lot to me. I'm sorry about your mother. I pray her dementia is slow-moving. Feel free to e-mail me anytime if you need a ear.

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    2. I really appreciate that, Jill. :)

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  8. Jill, it's been a privilege to pray God's peace over you during these past weeks. Your Christ-centered attitude and outlook are such an amazing testimony to His overflowing grace. Love you bunches!

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    1. Thanks so much, Donna. We felt the extra prayers, trust me! Love you too!

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  9. Jill: So sorry that you have to endure the phases of this disease. My dad had it. My sister-in-law had it. When we deal with things for them, we need the love, guidance and favor of the Lord in order that we can keep our balance and go on with what we have to do for them, our family and for ourselves.

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    1. It's a tough balance, that's for sure. I'm so sorry you've been through this, too. Thanks so much for the encouragement.

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  10. Jill, I am so sorry to hear of your father's suffering. Being a daddy's girl, I can only imagine how painful this is for you. Keeping you, your father and family in my prayers. ((((hugs))))

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    1. Thanks, Christina. It is hard, but when I think of friends who've lost parents at a young age, it helps me put it in perspective. Thanks so much for your prayers.

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  11. Still praying for you, Jill:)

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    1. Thanks so much, Susan. I appreciate you!

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