Alzheimer’s & the Holidays – an interesting combination of words. You may be wondering why the title of this post is what it is. I will admit that this post is a more sobering one than that of previous ones I’ve written.
According to Mayo Clinic, Alzheimer’s is “a progressive disease that destroys memory and other important mental functions.” Last Fall (2015), my family and I received news that our grandmother on my dad’s side of the family had been diagnosed with this very disease. The majority of my family went to New Jersey to be with her last Christmas, so lately, the holidays have been reminding me of her.
Pictured above is my gangsta grandma and her three daughters. I don’t know why, but I love this picture of her so much – I mean, look at her stance~ She’s a mother of 7, a grandmother of 13, and a great grandmother of 9. I won’t go into more details, but she’s really an incredible woman of faith. I was able to visit her this past Labor Day; Thankfully she still has her long-term memory, so she remembered me with a smile. 🙂 My family and I had the opportunity to pray for her before leaving, and in that moment, I was reminded of how real death is – of how real the grief is. I’ve never been good with death, so this was especially difficult for me. The last words I could muster out before I left while trying to hold in the tears was, “할머니, 사랑해.” (“Grandma, I love you.”) to which she quietly and slowly responded in the cutest little voice, “나도.” (“Me too.”)
As we reunite with our families this holiday season, I encourage and challenge us to share the Gospel with non-believing members of our families and beloved, non-believing friends who are returning to town.
My grandma lost a lot of weight and now spends most of her day sleeping. Even though it’s been really heartbreaking to see my grandmother’s body slowly wither away, my heart and spirit rejoice over the fact that she will soon be with Jesus in Heaven. At one point, I wondered what things would be like if she wasn’t a believer… And then I suddenly realized that this sadly happens more often than we’d like – when someone passes away without having met and accepted Jesus.
Hearts are more open to hearing about Jesus because it is the season of Advent. As you read this, I pray for extra bouts of courage and strength to share the Gospel with someone who doesn’t know Christ this Holiday. I pray that God would open avenues within conversations to bring up faith in conversations – in ways that pleasantly surprise you. I pray for softened hearts towards the Gospel that are open and curious to know who Jesus is. To be honest, I feel a nervous sort of excitement as I write this because I feel like some of you have been itching to share the Gospel with your families for a while now – and I know that God is doing a good work in you and that He will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6). He hears our every prayer (1 John 5:14). He honors our acts of faith (Hebrews 11:6).
I’m fighting for you all in prayer. I humbly ask that you’d pray for peace and comfort for my grandma and my family during this time. I covet your prayers.
Thanks for reading.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8 ESV)