God’s bedside manner

Renee Ann Smith —  November 12, 2012 — 37 Comments

I have sat by too many bedsides.

Six, to be exact.

You’re thinking that’s not so many. That my number is not as great as a hospice worker’s or doctor’s or Mother Teresa’s. But it looms large to me.

Two were easy, actually. In 1999, I stayed with, first, my Tennessee sister and then my South Carolina sister while they recovered from serious surgeries. Since my sisters were strong and healthy, they healed quickly. I mostly snacked and juiced and entertained them until they were ready to go home. Easy assignments that didn’t greatly impact my life.

But every other bedside vigil involved tears and heartache and passionate petitions to God.

  • In June 2000, a group of us teachers huddled in an ICU waiting room while my cancer-ridden co-worker and apartment mate silently slipped away. She was thirty-two and left behind many unfulfilled dreams—including marrying a man in uniform!
  • In July 2009, my big brother died of lung disease in a sterile ICU. I sat alone by his side because he had he so completely alienated exes and children and those he once called friends.
  • From August 2009 to February 2010, I spent almost every day with my best friend, keeping watch as breast cancer ravaged her body. Her battle was short and vicious. But her faith flamed like a beacon in the night. Many found Christ because of her testimony.

Now it is my mother’s time.

I began sitting by her bedside when she lived with me and experienced her first mini-strokes. Mom calling my name or wandering around the apartment would wake me in the night. I would sit in the pink fuzzy chair in her room and calm her until she slept.

Because of the mini-strokes and complications with her emphysema, we had to move Mom to a nursing home in February. There, my dedicated oldest sister has taken the lion’s share of responsibility for keeping her company. I share the vigils as best I can and wonder how much more my mother can take.

But white matter damage (brain stuff), dementia, and old-age are slow destroyers. Night after night, Mom struggles with fear and confusion. She yells until she’s hoarse, calling for help and comfort—even when someone is sitting right by her side.

Though my mother’s battle does not seem to have an end in sight, I believe that God cherishes her and trust He has a plan. I cling to the evidence that this is so.

Your eyes saw [my mother’s] unformed body. And all the days ordained for [her] were written in Your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16

You have kept count of my [mother’s] tossings and put [her] tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book? Psalm 56:8

And I wonder how often I am like my mom—calling out for the care and attention of my Heavenly Father, believing He has abandoned me, when all the time He has been keeping watch by my side.


(Click here to tweet this encouraging quote to your friends.)

These words from Corrie Ten Boom remind me that even in the worst circumstances, God is there. He may remain silent, but He is keeping watch.

So be comforted, my soul, and wait patiently for Him. He never abandons His own.

Today I linked up with Kris Camealy’s Weekend Wanderings at her excellent blog, Always Alleluia!

This week I’m linking up with Monday Musings, Hear It on Sunday, Soli Deo Gloria, The Better Mom, Teach Me Tuesdays, Gratituesdays, Just Write, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Tuesday Tips, What I Learned This Week, Heart and Home, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Word-filled Wednesday, Thankful Homemaker, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, This and That Thursday, Little Things Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Hearts for Home, Legacy Leaver, Beautiful Thursday, Simply Link, Favorite Things, Faith-filled Friday, Weekend WhateverYour Sunday Best, The Sunday Community, Heart Reflected, and Fresh-brewed Sundays.

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

37 responses to God’s bedside manner

  1. Oh Renee, my heart just aches for what you are going through. It sounds cliche to my overwhelmed ears, but I am thankful our God is faithful, holding both you and your mother in the palm of His hand.

  2. Prayers and blessings as you walk through this difficult time. So glad we have an amazing God who is always faithful. (Stopping in from SDG)

  3. Oh…I am so sorry for this journey…so hard on everyone….grace to you as you travel this road with your mom…and may we see God always…ever near to us…blessings and grace~

    http://tuningmyhearttopraise.blogspot.com/2012/11/two-fathers-call-me-friend.html

  4. I wish that I could reach out and hug you. I know the journey with dementia is a long and difficult one. Two months after my husband and I married, he had a stroke and then another several months later. He also has stroke related dementia. It is a daily struggle with good and bad days. For now, he’s at home and I’m grateful for this time. Our thoughts and prayers are with you on this journey.

  5. Oh, how my heart aches for you. Seeing your mom struggling like this must be agonizing for you. I’m so very thankful that you’re clinging to the truth of God’s word and promises. Last week, after a long battle with cancer, my dad ran into the arms of Jesus. I ache and I rejoice. There’s nothing easy about seeing our mom or dad struggle with a long-term illness. Please know that I’m praying right now for you, your mom and family. God bless you.

    http://marywomantowoman.blogspot.com/2012/11/my-dad-is-now-in-arms-of-jesus.html

  6. The Psalms are a great comfort to me. I have sat beside bedsides, not as a family member, but as a nurse. Unfortunately, I’ve also had patients die alone, which is very sad. I’m thankful that your mom has someone to sit with her.

  7. Oh Renee, my heart goes out to you along with prayers for comfort. Some day there will be no more sorrow, there will be no more pain or death, but in the meantime may our Savior bring you comfort and peace and strength through your trials.

  8. This story was a blessing. My friend was faithful in attending church each Sunday until her last month. Her dear children and husband come without her now. I had a wonderful visit with her two weeks before she passed. I sat with her and her family the day before. I miss her. She lost the battle but won her crown.

    Thanks for linking up with WholeHearted Home this week. I always enjoy reading your posts whether because you linked up or I just dropped by 🙂

  9. Eight years ago I sat by my dad’s bedside, he went into the hospital November 6th and he died on January 4th. Those were agonizing days – yet, in the midst of all the pain and suffering, my dear Savior was so close to me. I am praying that “He will be your strenth and shield, your ever-present help in this time of trouble.” May God encourage and build your faith during this trial, and that through it all may God be glorified.

  10. I was a Hospice nurse so I can relate to this. I sat by many of my patients sides until they passed away. On a more personal level I can relate even a deeper level. I sat by the bedside of a very dear friend while she talked to someone I couldn’t see. She was arguing with them that she couldn’t leave her children. It took several more days until she passed. She left 6 children ranging from 5 – 17. I and my husband were with my dear father when he passed a way with complication from a hip surgery and Alzheimers. My mother lived with me until she passed away. I cherish all of the moments I had with each one of them. I gain a testimony of life after death. I too want to walk with the Savior daily to help me through my life experiences. I know he is there for me.
    Thanks for a very lovely and welcomed post. It brought back some tender memories. Blessing!

  11. tears rest on my cheeks as a say a prayer for your Mother for you and for your family Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things hop xo

  12. This was a beautiful story. It was sad yet uplifting. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Renee, I, so many others was truly moved by your sharing. I know we have never met face to face but just through the internet through our love for books, but I always think that if we did live in the same place that we would be great friends as we enjoy so much of the same stuff! Your walk with God and faith in Him truly is an inspiration as you lean on Him while traveling these heartbreaking journeys. God must think so much of you as He has given you so much to handle. I just want you to know that I have been praying for you and will continue to pray for you as your travel this bedside journey with your mom. Prayers and blessings, Cheryl

    • You made me cry, Cheryl! And I feel the same—I’d love to share book talk and prayer in person. Thank you for your sweet encouragement! I’m so glad we’re in touch online. Wishing you and your sweet family many blessings!

  14. Renee…Some dear sister friends of mine are walking in your shoes as I type this. It has been a rough journey but they would not be anywhere else. Having sat by my own share of bedsides, we definitely need to lean on the Lord. Thank you for sharing your testimony at WJIM. May the Lord fill you with strength and reassurance that He is near, always.

  15. Tears here, as I think of the depth of your trial, lingering on. Clearly the size of sorrow and suffering — or caring — isn’t measured by numbers. Sometimes it’s mostly measured by love. Prayers for you, and your dear mom, as you travel this rough road. God bless you for your bedside manner.

  16. My heart aches for you and your family as you walk this difficult path. Grateful for the hope you have in Christ and praying that you may be strengthened, encouraged and able to rest in Him.

  17. I know how difficult it is and I pray for you. It is in the darkest hour that He shines so bright!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Wednesday Wisdom: Strong Shoes | Doorkeeper - July 16, 2013

    […] Dear Jesus, how foolish of me to have called on human help when you are here. ~Corrie Ten Boom~ (click to tweet) […]

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