To strengthen your faith,
you must strengthen your memory.
Fear and Worry I didn’t even know was in my heart reared up like the devouring Monsters they are and wrapped their ugly tentacles around my thoughts and throat. The life, joy, peace, and strength was getting squeezed out of me.
“I love the LORD, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” ~ Psalm 116:1-2
I cried and cried and cried out for mercy. God heard me, and began whispering something profound to me. I want to share it with you.
I first heard Him as I sat on the couch holding the baby, while observing my father-in-law (who is in the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease) stare anxiously out the window. My father-in-law was restless, his weight shifting from foot to foot. His eyes were wide and his search shifted from the sky, to the passing cars, to his hands, to the floor, to the sky. He was stuck in a repetitive loop of feeling lost.
He didn’t know what to do with himself.
His dementia is so advanced he has forgotten how to care for himself. He has lost discernment about what is safe, what is dangerous, and how context affects safety and health.
For example – the other day my husband and I heard the sound of breaking glass and by the time my husband ran to his dad, his dad was holding a mayonnaise jar he had swiped from the fridge in one hand, and scooping out mayo with his other hand, eating it. The bottom of the jar was broken, and the sides were only flimsily held together by the label. Mayonnaise is fine to eat in small portions, but not by the fist-full and not from a shattered vessel. Context matters. Discernment is necessary.
My father-in-law is increasingly uncomfortable around everyone, because he can’t remember who they are. He even avoids his brother who comes for weekly visits, as he has for years. What’s more – my father-in-law can’t even tell you his name. He has forgotten who he is.
And the Lord told me straight because He knows that’s how I need to hear it: Elise, you are suffering because of spiritual dementia.
He is showing me this: My spiritual, mental, emotional problems and struggles are all rooted in memory loss.
Our entire culture is set up to keep us in perpetual short-term memory loss — so that doesn’t help!
We are under an onslaught from our enemy to forget.
Forgetfulness is our enemy’s foundation for discouragement, deception, accusation — everything.
Without memory loss we are strong, full of joy, full of peace.
So — how do we recover from spiritual dementia?
Interestingly, one of the most powerful ways to reverse spiritual dementia is the exact same method used to bring life, joy and strength to someone with physical memory loss.
Have you seen the documentary Alive Inside? It’s a fascinating look at how music is an incredibly potent memory stimulator. Even those with the worst cases of dementia come alive and regain a sense of who they are when the music plays.
Isn’t it the same with us?
In course of singing one worship song to the Lord – my mood and mindset can completely change.
I can be brought to tears — and experience a flood of joy, and renewed strength.
Music helps us enter His presence – which is Love. Love sings over us – He rejoices over us with singing – and invites us into His song. This is holy ground where our enemy cannot win because we become still and the Lord fights for us.
And the God of Peace soon crushes Satan under our feet.
I sing – and remember who He is, and who I am. I am more comfortable around others, because I remember who they are in His eyes. My anxiety melts away into peace, fullness of joy, and strength.
Arms raised – memory intact – soul singing:
I love You, Lord!
And I lift my voice
To worship You
Oh my soul, rejoice!
Take joy, my King
In what You hear
May it be a sweet, sweet sound
In Your ear!
So I for my fall collection for Little Lunch Maker I made a new line of prints called The Memory Collection (they’ll be available in the shop until October 18th).
My prayer is that when you see them, your memory is strengthened.
And as your memory is strengthened, you will experience more of His love, joy, peace and strength to keep on walking with Him in your ordinary faithfulness.
Soli Deo Gloria!