“Such a simple truth; such a profound thing I was learning: Jesus in me will do it all. He will take the insults and the pain. I need only to turn to Him immediately, and release it to Him. How often He would prove this to me from then on. Jesus will field it; He will run interference between the dark place of my thoughts and me. This is all new to me. One step at a time, Lord, one step at a time.” – Kathleen Beard, Into The Mist: Journey Into Dementia, Pg. 22
Notably, this book review has a bias. Kathleen Beard has become a good friend. There’s a strong sense of God’s presence when one is around her, and recently she’s become quite an influence in my life. When I agreed to review the book I hoped the writing would sustain itself because I don’t give bad reviews to friends. It is well written. Into The Mist: Journey Into Dementia brought me to the brink of tears.
I didn’t know what to expect as I sat down to read a book that I couldn’t relate to on a personal level (none of my family members ever had Dementia or Alzheimer’s). Instead, I discovered a book that becomes a love story between Kathy and Jesus. It’s a story about struggling to hold onto faith in the storm of intense trial. She writes transparently of her struggles with her husband, John. She takes pieces of her personal journal written during the time of John’s onset with Dementia and fills in the blanks. Kathleen weaves world events into some chapters to help create a sense of time and place. Her love of Israel becomes apparent, and the deeper you get into the book the more you see how God has been working a plan in her life all along.
“Throughout history, many great servants of God ended up feeling they failed in their calling; they are despondent, because they haven’t experienced the promise God made to them. All they can see is failure. And now they’re crushed, wounded in spirit. They think, Lord, has all this been in vain? Did I hear the wrong voice? Have I been deceived? Has my mission ended up in ruins? Capturing what my own heart was crying, Wilkerson goes on to encourage the saints who find themselves in this precipice of faltering faith, reminding us that it is the devil lying to us, telling us that all we’ve done is in vain, that we’ll never see the fulfillment of expectations.” (Pg. 40)
God kept sending encouragement to Kathy in the form of Bible verses, during prayer and other truly amazing events that will help bring God out of the box that we put Him in into a reality that we can embrace. Her faith grows through each challenge as she slowly learns to trust Jesus even when she doesn’t understand all the whys. Scripture liberally laces each chapter. Each chapter becomes a Bible Study all it’s own with references from Oswald Chambers, David Wilkerson, and Mike Wells. She refers to Dementia as a second person indwelling a person.
“Jesus, you have brought down this house of cards. It is all lying here in a rubble. You have begun a good work here, a work the enemy would dearly love to destroy before it ever gets off the ground. You allowed me to see how much I still need you to do it all. There is yet more to tear down of all these things. Please finish what You have begun for Your names sake. Amen.” (Journal Entry 10/05; pg. 27)
In walking in her footsteps, I couldn’t help but wonder how I would feel should I ever have to experience this and I can’t imagine it. I can’t even think about it. In reading of her experiences, it brings to mind how awful and wonderful it is to pray to die to self. To the poignant end, she lifts us up and through her actions shows God’s glory. I put the book aside and thought about how amazing this woman is and how lucky our church is to have her in its congregation to disciple and minister to others.
Her website is http://intothemistbook.com/. Here you can get involved in discussions and read her blogs. She encourages any struggling with these issues to feel free to get involved in her forums.