If you’ve come here directly without a link from post entitled The Interaction of Religious Beliefs and Caregiving, I urge you to go back there and read that page to give this post some context.
What is your life situation – married partner?
Married for 30 years
Do you have a religious belief? What is it? Do you consider yourself devout?
I am a born again Christian, meaning that I no longer count my life as my own to do what I please. As a born again believer, I rely on the Spirit of God to direct my actions, decisions, speech and thought.
How did you come to your beliefs?
I was raised in a Christian family who presented me with biblical knowledge and the freedom to choose for myself.
Did your belief or level of belief or lack of belief play a significant role in your life prior to FTD/
Did the onset of the disease cause a disturbance/alteration in your belief?
No, true Christian faith is absolute. It trusts in the goodness of God regardless of man’s perception of what goodness looks like. God’s ways are not man’s way and his purposes many times are hindsight if we ever understand them in this life at all.
What emotions did you feel in regards your belief and the impact disease>
I was initially assaulted with a myriad of intense emotions, none of which caused a weakening of my belief system. If anything, the reality of facing the disease caused me to cling more to God’s promises.
Did you think differently, act differently?
Not in regards to my belief, but this disease does change you as any serious life disappointment. I have daily opportunities to practice becoming more patient, compassionate and understanding. I am certainly not always successful, which makes me disappointed in myself. I tend to give grace more as God extends more grace to me.
Did the disease raise any questions/doubts?
Of course, there are questions, but having faith that God is in control and has a purpose for all things he allows in life brings a state of peace about it.
If so how have you dealt with these questions/doubts?
By asking God about them; I simply talk to God about whatever concern is on my heart and then look expectantly for answers. Answers can come in many different forms as long as I am sensitive to his ways. An answer can come anywhere from, but not limited to, the bible to words in a secular song or in a support group meeting. Many times a Sunday morning sermon feels like it was prepared solely to help me deal with a situation that is troubling me.
Did the initial reaction persist and have your beliefs changed?
Acceptance came after an intense grieving period. No, my beliefs have not changed.
Did your belief provide support?
Yes, absolutely. The assurance of an afterlife where there is no sickness or disease allows me be joyful about the future, even if that future in not in this life.
Did the organizational structure/friends/fellow believers provide support?
The memory care support group that I am very connected to is held at the church that I attend although many of the group members attend other churches or no church at all. Other believers have been very supportive.
Did you have to look/find/go without support?
Support doesn’t just come automatically. You have to put yourself out there. I did my research before we moved to this community to make sure that it had resources. I became very involved within those resources helping others that are farther along in the dementia process than we are. I have found that when you are a blessing to others, God takes care of your needs.
What are your current feelings and have they changed?
I still believe that all things work for the good of those who love God and are the called according to his purposes.
Are you more moderate or more devout now?
I am more accepting of others struggles, less judgmental, and more devout.