Comfort For Those Who Mourn

"To console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness: that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified."  Isaiah 61:3

Fire consumed the hills of Brea, Yorba Linda and Corona a few years ago. While driving through that area soon afterward I saw the scorched trees and landscape and wondered if anything would grow there again.

Last month that is exactly how I felt - scorched, barren and dry. That dismal landscape had taken over my heart. I realized that I allowed fear, anger; disappointment and hurt to wiggle into my heart.

My mothers Alzheimer condition had proven to be like a wild fire striking in unexpected places. Just when I thought the fire was completely out it jumped to another area. It was unpredictable and volatile and I felt as if her caretakers and I would no sooner put out one hot spot than another one, more violent than before, would crop up. When everything looked calm there was another spark smoldering beneath the surface.

My faith was shaken. I felt anger toward her as she hit and tried to bite me. I was ashamed and felt embarrassed at her public display of hostility and I tried to hide her in the corner of the garden away from the stares of onlookers. 

I also felt ashamed for not being as strong in the LORD as I thought I was. Even for one moment I couldn't forget that it was the disease and not my mother who was acting out. I felt like a boat without a rudder, tossed around as the things and people who were my touchstones during times of stress became unavailable. I found myself distracted by things so I wouldn’t think - playing games on my phone instead of picking up GOD's word and going to bed late so I was too tired to get up and pray before work.

I would go to church on Wednesday nights parched, needing the Living Water to refresh me, but after I left I would start the cycle of escape all over again. I’ve kept this all in, not sharing with anyone and so essentially I closed myself off from comfort, from fellowship outside of church.

Yesterday I remembered driving past those barren hills some months ago and now I saw little green buds appear in the very middle of that blackened earth. With that thought I felt hope stirring in my heart, because I remembered that fire also purifies.

Tears come to my eyes as the overwhelming love of GOD fills my heart – a bud of hope has started to grow and the flames of the love of GOD burn away the impurities named fear, hurt, anger and shame. I was reminded at church this morning how important it is to connect within the Church body. I will try not to let the cares and responsibilities of life crowd out and replace the love of Christ, the fellowship of the Saints and the Word of GOD..

Shock and disbelief as it was happening had caught me unaware. How cruel this disease is. But, I learned after the smoke clears there is always GOD – arms open to comfort and restore, to give His strength again and again.

"In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I called. From His temple He heard my voice, and my cry came to His ears.  2 Samuel 22:7

The morning I journaled these thoughts I received a telephone call informing me my mother's symptoms had finally responded to her new Alzheimer medication and she was back to being her normal loving self. THANK YOU, JESUS!

by Eve Montano

Editor's Note: Anyone familiar with Alzheimer's knows it is a rocky road filled with ups and downs, moments of hope and moments of despair. Our dear Eve penned this when she was enduring a particularly painful time of witnessing her beloved mother become someone else. Following the admonishment of scripture, she has written this to comfort others as she herself has been comforted. 

In memory of Blanca Iris Cruz who went home to Jesus on December 15, 2015