“Cease striving, and know that I am God…”(Psalm 46:10a)
Five years ago, I brought my grandmother from southern California to live near me in Washington. She was 91 years old, and my entire family had died—my dad (her son), my mom and my brother. I was her only living relative.
Grandma wasn’t thrilled about moving so far away from what was familiar, but I had already moved her into an assisted living facility in southern California the year before, and she had been very unhappy because she didn’t know anyone, and didn’t want to get to know anyone. It seemed that if I brought her up near me
to an assisted living facility, my family and I could visit her and I would feel more comfortable with her closer to me.
When we arrived at my home in Washington, she stayed with us for two weeks before her furniture arrived on the moving van and she could move into her new little apartment. Although I had visited her every 6 months or so while she was in California, as I watched her in my home, it became very apparent that she had
slowed down significantly and had little energy.
After we moved her in, she seemed even unhappier than she had been at the facility in southern California. I had chosen a brand new and beautifully decorated assisted living complex, but it didn’t seem to matter to Grandma. The realization that she was no longer in California had sunk in, and my once cheerful Grandma became sullen and angry.
I came to visit her often, usually a couple of times a week. One day, I found her talking to a man who served as ombudsman at the complex. He served as an advocate for the residents over any concerns they might have regarding the facility. I wasn’t sure why she was talking to the man—if she had had concerns, she could
have spoken to me—but odder still, she had her notebook of all her financial information open before him. She was a woman of significant financial means, and had always been very private about it, so my stomach tightened at the sight of that book laid open. Something was awry and the man had no business in her
I began to realize that my grandmother, whose mind had always been razor sharp, was experiencing some dementia. We had a talk about her visit with the man and I stressed that she shouldn’t be sharing the information, but she began to act as though she didn’t trust me anymore. She accused me of withholding things from her.
A few days later, I came to visit her, and her door was locked, and she would not open it. Even when I called to her through the door, she refused to answer me. I marched downstairs to the director of the facility, and asked her to have them let me in. But the laws in Washington protect the elderly, and the director of the facility informed me that if Grandma didn’t want to let me in, then I couldn’t go in. I stared at the woman
dumbfounded. Here I was, her only relative, the only person in the world who knew her and wanted to protect her, and I was not allowed to go in.
My mind was spinning as I walked out the door. It didn’t make sense. I wondered how long she would refuse to see me. If her mind was deteriorating, could they actually keep me from her indefinitely? My mood went from shock to outright anger. How dare they keep me from her!
Over the next day or so, I was in an emotional tailspin. I prayed and prayed, not knowing what else to do. Finally, I let out an exhausted breath and said, “OK, Lord. I’m handing it over to you. There’s nothing else I can do.”
For three more days, I went about my business, continually reminding myself that it was in God’s hands. At the end of that three days, I got a phone call from the facility. Grandma had fallen and I needed to come. God had answered my prayers and in a very unexpected way.
I arrived and Grandma’s mood was very different. She was happy to see me, and even thanked me for coming. It wasn’t long after that that Grandma fell again and broke her hip, and then died after a week in the hospital. When I finally “let go” and released my grandmother to God, He restored her to me, and our relationship was sweet once again those few short weeks before she died.
“Cease striving, and know that I am God…” In my NASB Keyword Study Bible, it provides a second translation for the words, “cease striving.” They are “Let go, relax.” I should have those words carved into my front door. I strive on a continual basis, afraid that if I cease striving, God will not be there to take care of things.
I know…after an entire lifetime of knowing the Lord, I am still of little faith. But I’m working on it. And it helps to look back and remember such times, to realize that God is still here, upholding me with His righteous right hand.