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A guest post today from authors/speakers Kathy Collard Miller and Larry Miller from their new book.

For two-and-a-half years, Larry’s mother, Audrey, lived with us and God used that time to purify our motives and develop greater selflessness. Audrey suffered from Lewy-Body Dementia, which caused her to be paranoid and have delusions and hallucinations. It was a difficult time where we learned to slow down our reactions and work through what was really motivating us.

I, Kathy, remember one morning Audrey was eating her bran cereal. Every morning I had to soak the cereal in milk for at least thirty minutes to make it soft. But this morning the delusion of her Lewy Body Dementia was “alive.”

She said to me, “There’re rocks in my cereal. I know you’re trying to kill me.”

I could feel the hair on the back of my neck begin to rise. But I prayed quickly, “Lord, this is my old pattern of wanting to be approved and not wanting to be seen as undependable. I’m going to pause because I know in Christ I am dependable, loved, and approved.”

Audrey mumbled something else and then said, “And I wish you’d do a better job of it.”

Of course, she meant that I should make her cereal without rocks. But the juxtaposition was funny. I should do a better job of killing her? I stifled a laugh and wasn’t upset—for once!

Another morning she shuffled down the hall toward me exclaiming, “Don’t lie to me, you attacked me last night!”

Oh! That is one of my hot buttons of being called a liar. I so wanted to be mean in return, but I again slowed down my reaction and prayed, asking God to help me see myself as he sees me—as a daughter of the King. The Lord gave me compassion for Audrey who was also a daughter of the King, yet was mentally influenced by dementia.

Her words didn’t bother me in the least. God was doing a work within me of seeking God’s approval and His identity of me rather than my mother-in-law. We both learned that more and more.

This article is excerpted from Never Ever Be the Same (Leafwood Publishers) which offers Christians hope that they can change their ungodly reactions through identifying their self-protective strategies and trusting God instead. The authors are Kathy Collard Miller and Larry Miller and includes biblical principles, insightful stories, and helpful instruction. It has individual and group discussion questions.

If you’d like to win a copy of Never Ever Be the Same, please leave a comment in the comment box and I will draw a name and announce the winner in my next blog on January 26.

Kathy Collard Miller and Larry Miller are speakers and authors. They have been married 44 years and Larry is a retired police lieutenant. The Millers live in Southern California, and have two grown children and one grandson. Visit them at www.LarryAndKathy.com. Kathy blogs at www.KathyCollardMiller.com.

 

Never Ever Be the Same is available at your local Christian bookstore and in both print and digital versions at:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1ITmLfy

CBD: http://bit.ly/1AuJZSX

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1BJz3lC

 

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The Infamous Cereal Caper — 14 Comments

  1. I can so identify with those situations. I went thru some of the same things with my mother years ago. The Lord gives grace for every problem. We just have to remember to lean on Him. Sounds like a great book!.

    • Etta Mae: Thanks so much for making your comment and for putting your name into the hat to possibly win our book. We agree. The Lord is so faithful to walk us through all we face. You know personally the specific walk of loving your mom and seeing God strengthen you for it. Thank you for your example. God bless you!

  2. Thank you, Karen, for featuring our book and for having the Giveaway. We are very excited about our book being available and we appreciate your wonderful support. I hope our little snippet from the book is meaningful.

    • You are so welcome. It appears there are quite a few people who can relate to your situation. I so appreciate your sharing with my readers.

  3. Wow, Kathy, what a challenging time that must have been…I can only imagine. Yet it’s in the fire that God refines. How blessed Audrey was to have you with her. Thank you for sharing this and for reminding us of the difference Jesus makes.

    • Thank you, Judy, for your encouragement. Yes, God is good at refining! It’s great to connect here and thanks for putting your name into the drawing.

  4. Thank you, Karen, for sharing this one. I had one brother who had demencia very bad and did not know me but he knew I was someone who loved him. I have never been a caregiver to a person with demencia but my LONGEST long time friend ( since we were three years old) has demencia the I am sure has gone into alzheimers. She and her husband and me and my husband were so very close even after my beloved Herb died. When Sue showed signs of demencia they both ignored it and when it was obvious her husband could not take it. They moved from Paducah to South Carolina to be close to their daughter and he was so depressed he stopped eating, would not take his medicine and died about one month after they moved. Sue is very happy, and seems to always know who I am even tho she does not knoww her own daughter sometimes. She talks about the things we did when we were ‘little’ and teenagers! I guess the reason I am sharing this is to just say we need to be so kind to those who are in this condition. I have had in-laws who died with it and now, two nephews and a niece who are younger tham me who are getting worse! Also several friends. I hope all of us will be supportive and help as much as we can the families who are the caregivers. It sure does take a lot of love and inner strength to cope with these things.
    Love to you, Margaret

    • Margaret, thank you so much for taking the time and effort to share your experiences. You are so right: We need to be kind and understanding. So many more are being afflicted with these dementing diseases. I know we both hope that people know that anyone with it can’t help themselves. I know I didn’t know that truth in the beginning. That’s why it’s my desire to share my story so that others will be more knowledgeable about it. So keep telling others, Margaret! We need to hear it! Thanks again for writing.

  5. Kathy, I’m soooo excited that you are publishing again, and this books sounds wonderful. Forgive me for laughing about your motheri-in-law, but I’m glad that God could even show you humor in such a difficult situation. You and Larry remind me here of Jesus. He inidcated that when we visited the sick, we did it unto Him. I’m thinking I can use a little biblical poetic license and assume He would apply this to feeding rocks to an ailing MIL (or at least letting her say you did!). You showed grace to Him by showing it to her. Larry must have been so grateful to you too. And what an impact a story like this can make on a cold world that diminishes the value and worth of our elderly. God bless you for showing people how to care for “the least of these.”
    Blessings,
    Lynn

    • Lynni, I’m so glad you would drop by and comment. Yes, the world does need a reminder. And considering I used to be one of the “world” who didn’t have a clue, I can sure understand. Now I’m much more alert to even do things like holding open a door for someone in a wheelchair or someone pushing someone in a wheelchair. You can’t imagine how many times (this was with my mom) that everyone ignored our plight. And I have back problems, so to try to hold open the door and push the wheelchair was dangerous for my back. I guess most of the time, it’s when we’ve been through something ourselves that we become most sensitive. So thanks Lynni, for your encouragement and sharing here!

  6. I was encouraged to read about some of your victories in the midst of the inner struggles that took place as you cared for her. Responding with love instead of anger is so important-but so difficult! It is clear that God’s hand was with you–guiding and directing you as you traveled along a very thorny path. The victories you shared were inspiring to me as I reflect on my own inner struggles related to caring for a mentally ill family member.

    • Oh Glenda, thanks so much for sharing. And I’m glad the Lord could use my story to inspire. I’m so glad the Lord doesn’t give up on us and He provides what we need to grow–even if it takes time. Thank you for your example of love in caring for your family member. You won’t have any regrets for sharing your love in God’s Name and for His glory. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Thank you for sharing this, Kathy! As a part-time Caregiver, I have filled in with several clients with dementia. They pushed buttons right and left, and some I just could not work with due to their hallucinations – yes, I had one scream and tell everyone I was trying to kill her even though she initially liked me when I started helping her. The most challenging was a couple in different stages of dementia, and I recognized some of the buttons that she pushed so they lost power over me. Thank you for letting the Lord work in you in such a great way and sharing with others! The lessons and love you gave your mother-in-law are such a gift to her, to your husband, and all of your readers. Blessings!

    • Jeanie, thank you so much for taking the time to comment and share your experiences. They sure sound familiar! I know you have been such a blessing to those you relieved and those you cared for. Once we see their strategies in the buttons they are trying to push, we can, as you said, resist hurtful reactions.
      So thank you for your encouraging words. And thank you for learning about how to minister well to those with dementia. Few people know how to do that. You are a treasure!

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