Can I Come In?

Little five year old boys don’t usually want to play with girls putting on makeup – unless it is boring because there are no other boys around. That changes everything. At least it did for Jude, my grandson. My four granddaughters had locked themselves in the... read more

My Mother’s Christmas Wish

Devotion: When I was a little girl, the number one question I asked all my family before December 25th was “What do you want for Christmas?” I asked my sisters and my brother, my mother and my father. It was a huge question for me because my funds were limited to a small... read more

Behind Her Eyes


“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)


I see her immediately as I enter the room. She’s at a table, alone, with a Styrofoam cup in her hands. She’s beautiful. She’s always been beautiful. No matter her age or illness, that will never be taken from her.
I gently touch her hands. “Hi, Aunt Pat. It’s Nancy.” She looks up and immediately smiles but I feel an inward leap of my heart: her eyes do not recognize me. “I was in town and wanted to come by to see you,” I tell her as I sit down and take her hand in mine. The smile remains as she scans my face, trying to find something familiar in what she sees but her eyes tell me that she does not. Our conversation is almost completely one-sided. I mention the weather and how hot it is and ask whether my uncle has been to see her that morning. Her replies are non-committal, as I expected. An occasional “Oh really?” or “I’m not sure.” are fine with me. I just want to hear her speak. She taught school for many years and perfect grammar combined with a lovely voice that always hid just a hint of mischievousness beneath the surface were, and still are, precious to me. As a child, my mother, her sister, used to say to me “You are just like your Aunt Pat!” and I considered that to be the highest compliment one could ever get. I still do.
But now Alzheimer’s, a vicious enemy, is attacking my aunt and it is hoping for complete victory. Every defense possible has been set up and reinforced against this evil. Medication along with excellent care and rehabilitation are in place. Daily visits from my uncle include photographs of love and laughter from previous years, accompanied by quiet explanations of each scene. His devotion to this woman to whom he has been married for 65 years speaks a love language far above anything I have ever seen. And yet despite all the fortifications that have been put in place, despite all the prayers offered up on her behalf, my aunt continues to live a life with Alzheimer’s and it’s effects as her constant companion.
Some would argue that if God is truly Love, as Scripture says, He would not allow such suffering to occur, for both my aunt AND my uncle. If He is all powerful, why does He not simply take away the memory loss and allow my aunt to be whole again?
There are no simple answers. There is, however, a truth in knowing that this world is not our home. Jesus reminds us of that very thing in John 16:33 (NIV). He is speaking to His disciples, encouraging them to be strong, no matter what they will face. He says “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” We also read in Psalm 34:18 (NIV) “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit.” He understands our heartache; He grieves with us. And then, in Psalm 129:5-6 (NIV) “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”
My hope, my trust, my very soul, waits in expectation for God in this most sad situation. I do not understand why my aunt is being attacked by a disease that is slowly taking over her every thought. But I DO know that one day our Father will reach down and replace the disease with His love and compassion. Where once there was a confusion and blankness, there will be clearness of thought and mind and just a hint of mischievousness…behind her eyes.


Father, I do not understand why diseases attack those we love. And I do not understand why You do not always heal. But I DO know that you love us with a fierceness that only a Father can and that our hope and our trust in You will be rewarded one day by Your return. We hold tight to You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


Do you know someone in your family or community that has Alzheimer’s?

How have you helped support their loved ones in this hard situation?

Have you ever considered visiting someone with Alzheimer’s?


Call the family member of someone who has Alzheimer’s to offer help and encouragement.

Invite them to your home if they are able to leave, and be prepared to listen in love.

Ask the relative of someone with Alzheimer’s if you can accompany him or her to visit their loved one if they are receiving care in a facility to encourage and support.


Psalm 34:18 (NIV) “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those crushed in spirit.”

Isaiah 53:4 (NIV) “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows…”

Psalm 129:5-6 (NIV) “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.”

John 16:33 (NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

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Copyright 2013  Nancy E. Hughes