The Dementia Gospel: Remembering My Identity In Christ
My husband and I made a terrible mistake. We had what some might call a brain burp or a brain-urism. Our identity, the core of “us” was lost.
We forgot who we are, we neglected our calling.
Justin and I are older… well, I am 45-years-old and Justin is 48. We have 4 biological children. The oldest is 22, graduating from college this weekend and getting married in October. The second, is 19 and at Marine Bootcamp (OOORAH!) The third is 17 and a freshman in college; a think for yourself rebel with a cause… and a man bun. And the fourth is a 14-year-old prodigy pianist phenomenon who by all accounts was undoubtedly switched at birth, except she has my face.
So, proficient were we in the parenting gig we decided to #bless the masses and open our home to adoption and foster care.
Sometime after this generous feat we came to understand the reason young people birth babies.
We are tired.
It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks or get them out of bed on a Sunday morning.
The tween would sleep until noon. The foster-love, our 19-month-old foster daughter was at an overnight transitional visit to her birth home. The sun was peeking through the wooden slats of our master suite’s shutters. We could hear the vandals, our 3 and 5-year-old adopted sons giggling in the loft. The soft hum of looney tunes crept under the door. The ceiling fan spun and the sheets felt cooler and more luxurious than any Sunday morning on record.
Justin and I slept longer than we should have.
When I pried my eyes open I barely made out the clock… 7:15 am.
I knew better.
But I rolled over and cuddled into the indulgence that is my favorite pillow.
7:35… I was like a teenager the morning after prom. A rebel. A crazed, sleep-deprived whino. I pulled the covers over my head.
7:50 the door opened and I peeked out from under the enormous down comforter.
Sam, the 5-year-old whispered, “Mommy we’s bof weeally hungry.”
I forgot who I was, I neglected my calling.
“You can get something from the pantry… ”
8:15 Justin got up and fixed us coffee at the coffee bar in our room. He opened the windows and the spring sun illuminated our room and all the majestic colors of our ranch exploded as we stared out our land and sipped hot java and pretended we were normal 40 somethings with a partially empty nest.
I assure you… the nest is full.
At 8:45 he commented on the sweet sound of the vandals laughing downstairs.
At 9:15 we knew it was too quiet.
At 9:16 we found out why.
We forgot who we were, we neglected our calling.
And we call them vandals for a reason.
Ice cream and popsicles for breakfast… in the bed. The bunk bed. The top bunk bed. They threw 12 rolls of toilet paper off the balcony. They painted. They did the dishes… well, that was their excuse for the standing water in the kitchen… and laundry room. And no worries, the three-year-old pooped, but his diaper had been changed. By himself. There were barn kittens in the half bath and shoes and an R2-D2 in the toilet. Did I mention they painted?
As I stumbled through the mess I stepped on a toy brontosaurus… I said things. Things mommies shouldn’t say.
I forgot who I was, I neglected my calling.
Justin won’t read this post. If he does he won’t laugh, it’s too fresh… too soon.
But on my walk this morning I thought about the occasional brain blurp, the events when I fizzle out and fail to remember who I am… when I neglect my calling. And I giggled.
[clickToTweet tweet=”I forgot who I was, I neglected my calling. #jesus ” quote=”I forgot who I was, I neglected my calling. #jesus”]
There’s brain-urisms where you make foolish mistakes, and blurps where the stumbling left you in a “Oh, you had that one coming…” scenario. And then there is the more detrimental, full-blown dementia where your entire identity is lost. Truly, this terrifies me. I have watched a few friends lose loved ones to this private hell. Astute and vibrant characters who, most suddenly can’t remember their own name, and I am undone by this tragedy.
But the further I walked, the more relevant the ideas became.
Certainly, there are times I have made a mistake and counted it among my many follies. I repent and walk in the freedom of forgiveness with the hope and determination to never let my brain stray again. Other more serious events, detrimental to my heart, require more of a season of regret and healing. For while all sin looks just like sin to God, some things are more damaging to my wholeness. But for the better part of my Christian walk, I experienced a spiritual dementia where my identity in Christ was absent from me.
I forgot who I was… I neglected my calling.
Daughter of the most high, yet a slave to my ridiculousness, I slept with pigs and meditated on my folly.
My mind was set on the ick instead of on the majesty of my daughter-ship. I memorized my shortcomings and I studied my faults. I was fully fixated on my lacking instead of the glory of my salvation. A “me-focused” existence where I abide in the gloom of self-help and lost girl mantras, held me hostage to the obliviousness of who I am… my calling.
And I continue to witness this among the brethren… the glass is half empty, all is lost, and what in the world will come of… mentalities that leave us sleep deprived, miserable and lust lacking.
The fervor by which I first believed, the passionate and childlike faith that I was somehow different by having heard the Good News was muddied – blurped or erased from my mind by the harsh realities of life, religiosity, and works.
Instead of an all loving and grand God with no beginning and no end – I rationalized Him into something I could understand and identify with … someone much more like me; grand in my folly and short on my faith He was easier to compartmentalize.
My small mind could justify Him, neglect Him, and hopefully, make Him do my bidding by my good deeds.
As I continued my pre-dawn walk, I stopped at the top of a hill on our ranch and watched the morning sun creep on the horizon. Oh, but He is grand. Suddenly I am grateful for the blurps and fogs that cloud this fallible mind. All at once I want nothing more than to forget everything I am in my humanness and be reborn, sure – again, into the irrational state of innocence. A mindset of a more fanciful kind. The one where I wander through the tall grass unafraid of snakes and twisted ankles. The one where it is never about me and always about Him. A dementia I am most jealous of, one where forgetting myself and my calling is a place of bliss. An oxymoronic cerebral state of irrational thoughts where I can fully believe in faith, hope, love, patience, peace, kindness, goodness… Jesus.
Not just pulling the covers over my head and ignoring the vandalism outside the threshold of my bedroom but a new way of thinking.
A renewed mind.
A mind that is never about what I believe about myself and always about who He says I am.
And while it is scary to see one lose themselves, and how I pray for those who do, somewhere in their sequestered state are they more in tune with the Truth?
The reality of Who He is… and His calling on our lives as Believers.
If it were not true, that our minds could be renewed – why would He have told us that it was possible?
If I am to forever be trapped in my sharp thoughts and rational mind, can I really believe in the resurrection of the crucified Christ?
I propose, yes.
I believe, indeed. I am assured in Word and Mystery all these things are possible for those of us who believe in Who He is and His grand calling to save the sinners like me. Ah yes, the devil’s playground looks more like Heaven when my focus is on Jesus. I love the fancy He created when He created me. I love that He loves me. I love that He has finally set me free.
Call me crazy.
Call it a hyper-grace gospel.
I won’t buy what you’re selling because I am finally free to believe in who I am and my calling.
Beloved…. stark raving mad Grace Girl.
I remember who I am … I will never forget my calling.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2
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