Into The Mist, Journey Into Dementia by Kathleen Beard, WestBow Press, 2011

This book allows us to journey along with the author as her husband deteriorated through four years of dementia. Taking selected journal entries as a springboard, the author writes each chapter, each snippet of a part of her life, as though painting the events with love, awe, horror, joy, fear, or whatever the occasion warranted, but mostly Ms. Beard communicates well the wonder and majesty of walking with such a GREAT GOD.  With a mixture of Scriptural or other quotes and stream-of-consciousness understanding, we get to participate in a Christian pilgrim’s walk through new territory, the backdrop of which was her husband’s condition, and be reminded of how greatly God uses such things in our growth. The beauty of the book is that the truths she confronted and absorbed are the ones taught to everyone who lumbers through these going-deeper-into-Christ trials, the death-to-self experiences, things we already knew but had to learn on a whole new level.  In other words, people who have already learned some spiritual truths the hard way (dare we say it is the only way? I think so) will rejoice in and relate to what she wrote; it is not just a book for people whose loved ones have (or had) dementia; it is for every believer who knows that deep and lasting spiritual growth occurs in the crucibles, no matter in what form they come to us. The book can be ordered at www.intothemistbook.com Quote: Page 44, last paragraph: “All of these things—my need for peace and then the surrendering of that peace to situations, the ‘rest’ of God—were teachings I had always believed but were now being made real in my experience. I never for a minute suspected that I was so filled with unbelief, even while I had taught these things to others for many years. It surprised me to learn how many times I succumbed to unbelief instead of rest. Worry is unbelief. Fear is unbelief. But I had a right to worry, didn’t I? My life was coming undone, my husband was fading away, everything I had believed and trusted was being tested to the limit. So, didn’t I have a right to times of worry and fear? Apparently not, according to God’s economy. Again and again, the questions were raised in my mind: Is it true, or is it not? Do I really believe it, or do I not? I had to choose again and again to believe—to trust—no matter my circumstances, no matter my emotions. I must choose to trust and to rest, even when there is no reason left to do so.”     Pros: A very interesting and easy read, almost always engaging. Toward the end I found myself hoping for a sequel about how the Lord had led her to minister the truths now carved in her heart to ladies in Honduras and elsewhere, just because she is likable and a fairly good narrator. She does not fail to communicate all the gratitude she felt to God and others as she navigated the course through her ordeal.   Cons: Some of the book is so detailed it is more of a personal tribute and family memoir, but that is neither the overall tone of the book nor the part of the book that will last in the memory of other readers. It seems like whenever I started thinking we got to know her family or surroundings a little too well in this book, all of a sudden a spiritual nugget unfolded that would’ve been easier to ignore had not the buildup of the hardships she was going through been so delineated. In other words, when we have to plod through the mundane details of life with her, we are nearly as thrilled as she when a spiritual truth rocks her world!   [rating:3.5/5]  

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