If you are reading this devotion, you are probably going through what I call the Valley of Dementia. The Valley of Dementia is like the Valley of Death that King David wrote about in Psalms. However, there is a difference. In the Valley of Death, there is a THREAT of death. King David feared his enemies who were often after him. Whereas the Valley of Dementia leads to CERTAIN death for the patient, and certain sadness and separation awaits the caregiver.
Let’s dissect the twenty-third Psalm, and we’ll see there is hope for both the dementia sufferer and the caregiver. First, let’s look at the fourth verse.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
Psalms 23:4 NASB
Dementia is evil. Diseases were not in God’s original plan for man. It arrived on the earth due to sin because of the tempting of Satan. We are instructed not to fear evil because God is with us. Most people seek out a friend when they are going through a difficult time or trying to make an important decision. It gives us comfort when someone offers advice or at least support.
The caregiver’s hope is in God who promises to be with us as we walk through the valley. The hope for the dementia patient is in the sixth verse.
Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Psalm 23:6 NASB
Their hope is heaven. Heaven will cure all disease and dementia. There are no hospitals or nursing homes there. Paul wrote in a letter to the Church in Corinth, “So, also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body.” (I Corinthians 15:42 NASB).
In heaven, our loved ones will have a new, indestructible body. Where is the hope for the caregiver? We are traveling through the Valley of Dementia with them, and It is hard and depressing at times. What words of comfort can King David offer us? We don’t need to look very far. The answer is also in the twenty-third Psalm. Look at verses 1-3 NASB.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul.
God watches over us like a shepherd watching his flock. Your Valley of Dementia may last for years. Though there be difficult days, God can help you have peace in the quiet times. Maximize those times. Maybe your peaceful stint will only be for a few hours, but during that time, imagine yourself in green pastures beside a quiet stream. Let your mind rest, your blood pressure lower, and your attitude calm. Do something calming, or better yet, do nothing such as a nap.
When my small children were cranky in the afternoon, we put them down for a nap. An hour or two later they arose with an entirely new attitude. We, adults, are the same. Rest will improve your ability to deal with the stress of caregiving.
Even more important than restoring the body He promises restoration of the soul. That’s where God’s friendship is so valuable. In the quiet times include some time to pray and meditate on God’s friendship. The mountain tops look far away now, but with God’s help, you will be there again. Discretion
© Copyright 2018 Ronald Milburn