All of Beverly’s life, she has known her mother as a “wonderful Christian woman.” That was before she developed Alzheimer’s some eight years ago. Since then, the disease has worsened to the point that she no longer recognizes Beverly as her daughter. Her mother’s Alzheimer’s is so advanced that she was moved to a secure memory care facility last year.
Several weeks ago, the memory care facility called Beverly’s sister to tell her that her mother was hysterical. Although she is mostly nonverbal, she was screaming, “Something’s wrong with the baby!” Beverly’s sister had no idea what she was talking about and tried to calm her mother down over the phone, saying the baby was fine. Later, Beverly and her sister discovered that while their mother was yelling at the top of her lungs about a baby, Beverly’s nine-month-old grandson was choking on plastic.
How can that be? How can an 88-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s possibly know what was going on with her great grandson?
Because she was speaking from her spirit.
Each one of us is made up of spirit, soul and body. The soul is our mind, will and emotions. The body is the physical matter we can see with our own eyes and the spirit is the very core of who we are. When a person agrees with God about their sin and receives Christ’s sacrifice as payment for their sins, that person becomes a Christian. Their spirit takes on the very nature of God. And Alzheimer’s cannot touch it.
I have heard of sweet Christian men and women who develop Alzheimer’s and begin cursing like sailors. Their behavior changes so drastically that it’s hard to imagine what they were like before the disease. But this is not their spirit talking. This is the Alzheimer’s talking.
A person’s spirit is the one thing dementia cannot touch.
Alzheimer’s has taken a lot from my Father these past 14 years. His memory, cognition, problem-solving skills, mental aptitude, balance and motor skills have all been affected. But the one thing that has not changed is his spirit.
My Father watches a good bit of TV these days since his body has slowed down. He laughs at the Andy Griffith Show, enjoys baseball games and anything with children in it, and passes the time with weather shows or military movies. But when he watches a Billy Graham crusade or any kind of preaching show, he is alert, focused and tuned in. Sometimes he’ll lean forward in his chair or wave away any distracting conversations Mom and I may be having close by.
There are times I’ll come home from church and give accounts of people who’ve been healed or accepted Christ as their Savior. And every time I do, he has a huge smile on his face and will say, “That’s great!” When he accompanies me to church, he’ll nod in agreement when the Word of God is being preached. Whenever my Father prays, even if his prayers don’t make sense to me, they always make sense to God. Because it’s spirit talking to Spirit.
When Beverly’s mother started screaming out about the baby, she thinks her mom was probably praying the whole time, in her own way. God heard those prayers and the baby was saved from choking to death.
Our loved ones may be limited by Alzheimer’s, but God is not. He can speak to any of His children, anytime, anywhere. And He does.
Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. John 3:6