Children of the heav’nly Father
Safely in His bosom gather;
Nestling bird nor star in heaven
Such a refuge e’er was given.

I’ve known the song my whole life. I’m guessing that my mother knew the song her whole life, too. It’s a Swedish song, written while my grandfather still lived in Sweden. I decided to sing it for my mother the other day.  I’m not a singer, of course. And it’s possible that I’ve never sung for my mother.  But I don’t think she knew any different.

God His own doth tend and nourish;
In His holy courts they flourish;
From all evil things He spares them;
In His mighty arms He bears them.

It’s an interesting song to sing, full of emotion from the moments we’ve sung it before. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to sing, that I would choke up. I’m pretty emotional. But particularly sitting with mom for what turned out to be one of the last two times I was with her. And considering the words. When you are sitting with your memory-gapped, life-ebbing mom singing, “from all evil things he spares them”, something feels a little off. Until we think about being carried. That feels a little better.

Neither life nor death shall ever
From the Lord His children sever;
Unto them His grace He showeth,
And their sorrows all He knoweth.

Alzheimer’s is an embezzler, stealing what’s valuable while leaving the appearance of normalcy. While we watched memory and clear reasoning slip away, she denied any change. However, God’s love for us doesn’t depend on our capacity to remember it.

Praise the Lord in joyful numbers:
Your Protector never slumbers;
At the will of your Defender
Every foeman must surrender.

Mom lived 88 years, 71 of them after she decided that she wanted to follow Jesus. I’m pretty sure that when she opened her eyes wide for the last ten minutes of her life on Monday morning, December 9, she was looking for Jesus. Through cataract-cloudy eyes, with hearing-aid unaided ears, through thoughts long past connecting to memory, she was looking to Jesus, to her never slumbering protector, to her heavenly father.

Though He giveth or He taketh,
God His children ne’er forsaketh;
His the loving purpose solely
To preserve them pure and holy.

I said that I sang for my mom the next to the last time I saw her. I also sang for her Monday morning, and for me. Aware that though he given or he taketh, God his children never forsakes.


I wrote yesterday about being away, not wanting to tell you why. Now you know what was happening. I’ll be back next week. I need to breath a little now. My two sisters and I, along with our spouses and kids, would be grateful for your intercession for the next few days.

7 thoughts on “Ardis.

  1. Mark Watkins

    What I remember – an infectious smile and laughter that came easy, a gracious hostess in a warm and comfortable home, a fabulous cook, undying support for her husband and his mission.


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