Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness! Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed thy hands have provided; Great is thy faithfulness Lord, unto me!
This is one of my very favorite hymns. The words were written in 1923 by Thomas O Chisholm a Baptist minister. The music was written in 1923 by William M Runyan. Written in the year of my father’s birth. Runyan wrote the music specifically for these words:”
This particular poem held such an appeal that I prayed most earnestly that my tune might carry its message in a worthy way, and the subsequent history of its use indicates that God answered prayer.” His message was carried straight to my heart. It is something that I sing to myself when I feel anxious or troubled. Many a night when sleep won’t come because of a heart that is not at peace, I sing it to myself-silently. Pretty soon, I drift off to sleep. The words lift my spirit, reminding me of how God has been faithful in comforting me through struggles. It was a comfort during the time my husband and I were caring for my mom in our home. Suffering from dementia coupled with Parkinson’s made for many nights of unpeaceful feelings. What would happen next, were we doing the right thing by her? Were our actions making things better or worse for her? We had the best of intentions, but this was completely new territory for us.
All I have needed thy hands have provided. We did have what we needed, even when we were overwhelmed with the day to day happenings with mom’s dementia. How sad it was to see my once very capable mom unable to do even simple daily tasks because of the stroke that changed the way her mind worked. Add Parkinson’s to the mix, and we had a recipe for disaster. Her mind could not remember, and her body could not cooperate. But what my mom needed was provided by the God who loved and watched over her. He made us his hands, his feet, his caregiver. Mom’s gait, or ability to walk was hampered by the Parkinson’s. She was not sure and steady. Her mind did not tell her to watch out or to be careful. What resulted was falls, lots of falls. By God’s mercy- the worst that ever happened was a lump on the head, or on one occasion stitches on the back of her head. In the evening’s after we had tucked mom in for the night and settled ourselves, I would find myself waiting for the almost inevitable thump from the next room. Mom had a habit of getting up and wandering around. Sometimes, it was simply needing to use the restroom. Even though we would tell her to call us if she needed anything, she would not. Knowing she would get up on her own made sleep hard in coming. I would sing this song silently in my head until I felt more at ease. The words would comfort me and remind me that God was in control, that we were doing a good thing taking care of mom and that everything would be alright. By this time we had contacted our county’s agency on aging and had received help in different forms for mom. It was so very important to keep her safe. We were able to get caregivers that could help when we were not at home. We were also able to get occupational therapy and even needed equipment for mom. Eventually, we asked for and received a hospital bed with a rail. I was excited as it meant safety for mom and a good nights sleep for us. However, the rail did not go to the end of the bed. Mom figured out how to wiggle down to the end of the bed and get out. I’m sure she longed for the taste of freedom- but it always ended with another thump. It often took both of us to get her up and back into bed as she did not understand how to work with us. A longer rail was obtained and a sense of relief for us. In your household I am sure you may have heard the thump as well, signaling that your loved one was on the floor in need of your help. It is a pit in the stomach kind of a feeling seeing the one you love unable even to walk a few feet without losing their sense of balance and falling. I felt awful about confining my mom in her bed in such a way, but it was a matter of keeping her safe. Every day taking care of mom was a challenge, even so, I had the feeling of God providing what we needed emotionally and physically, even spiritually. He knew exactly what we needed to take good care of mom. Did I mess up? Sure, quite often. There were times I would become frustrated and lose patience, but God was in control of the big picture. We took one day at a time, learning along the way. He is there for you and your needs as well. Great indeed is his faithfulness.