Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: BLESSED (03/07/19)
- TITLE: The Long Pilgrimage
By Bonnie Kronberger
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The past four years I’ve been journaling our journey through Alzheimer’s world; recording dates, events, dementia progression, and spiritual experiences. My husband has never had an awareness of his condition. He first ascribed his forgetfulness to aging. He never recognized the two year period of paranoia and hallucinations for what it was. But I did and trembled—recognizing I would never survive this walk apart from continual surrender of self to God-centered sacrifice.
I understand now it is more than a journey, it is a sacred pilgrimage to the heart of God. My soul has cried out for strength, direction, and most of all, the perfect peace of Jesus. The walk has taken me through valleys, up over mountain heights, and through green pastures and still waters, always back to the valley. No longer on the mountaintop, the peace of Christ still surrounds me. Wherever, the pilgrimage leads to a place of blessing.
“Even when their paths wind through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain.” Psalm 84:6a TPT
The tears came easily and frequently in the beginning. All I could see was years of imprisonment to this evil disease. The Valley of Tears felt like a very real place, and a siren song rang out loud and clear, calling me to give in to the despair. But God is faithful, loving me with an everlasting love, holding on to me with His mighty right hand. He would not let me go as I persevered to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. And yes, there is a pool of refreshing as we sit together at the feet of our Father. Although my joy is unspeakable—because it is so personal between God and myself—I’m told my countenance is full of His glory and others are being blessed through my pilgrimage.
This sacred journey won’t allow me to stay on the mountaintop. Each normal eventually becomes a new normal, and the process involves trembling and trepidation on my part. Medication eventually brought the hallucinations under control. The latest trial involved a broken bone, immobility, and hospice for my husband. Entering the hospital elevator I pushed the button. The door closed, feeling more like isolation than solitude. As the elevator took its ascent my heart took a nosedive. How could my stomach plummet as the elevator went up. The feelings were very real, even as I prayed for strength and guidance. The walk through this valley eventually brought me back to the High Places of fellowship with the Lord.
A few weeks of visiting the nursing home to see my husband made me long to bring him home. So I did. This is another scary transition. Lee is bedridden and helpless, as helpless as I was when this pilgrimage began. God rained down blessings on me when I was so dry and now I am trusting Him to bless my husband though me as I draw Living Water for both of us from His brook of blessing.
“He gives to them a brook of blessing filled from the rain of an outpouring.” Psalm 84:6b TPT
The outpouring of blessings has been abundant. My Heavenly Father continually puts the puzzle pieces of my ongoing decisions into place to fit everything together. I have enjoyed holy times of pray and worship in the quiet of aloneness.
But now Lee is at home and I know it is good. I picked up the fork to begin feeding him lunch. I was astounded when he reach over with his good arm and slowly reached for my hand. I looked up to see his head bowed and eyes closed.
“Do you want to say the blessing,” I asked?
The evening before he prayed and not one word made sense. This night he began his prayer, “Dear Jesus, I love you. Thank You for everything.” Then the words became meaningless sounds until he quickly dozed off.
That was an outpouring of blessing for me. I don’t know what the journey is like for Lee on his sacred pilgrimage, but I’m certain he is being blessed as abundantly as myself. God’s ways are perfect.
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