How Long, Lord?

How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
(Psalm 13:1-2)

I love that we can wrestle with our God in prayer. When my mother battled Alzheimer’s for fifteen years there were many times that I cried out, “Why?” and “How long?” to God.

It wasn’t until my mother’s funeral in 2013 that He answered my heart’s cry. While listening to my oldest daughter’s tribute to her grandmother, He showed me how much my mother’s story had forever impacted all of our lives.

In honor of my mother today, on what would have been her 88th birthday, here’s Christie’s beautiful tribute to her grandmother. . .

What I will remember most about my grandma is her unwavering love for her Savior. Anita lived first and foremost for her King; to honor Him, serve Him, and share His love with anyone who would listen. I believe that her love for the Lord was a quality so deeply a part of her spirit—her being—that it was the one thing that could not be erased as Alzheimer’s slowly stole her memories, independence, and mobility. The Lord called Anita from an early age, and she followed Him so faithfully until the day He called her home. What a tremendous legacy to leave her grandchild.

I am convinced that if the Lord had asked thirteen-year-old Anita if she would be willing to endure Alzheimer’s later in life in order to teach all those she loved about His faithfulness, perfect love, and grace . . . she would have signed on the dotted line.

Perhaps it would have gone something like this. . .

Anita, would you be willing to lose your independence and competency one day in order to teach your husband how to love more perfectly? To show your grandchildren what such powerful love looks like? Yes Lord, even still.

But would you be willing to lose the faces of those you love, including the many memories they inspire, in order to teach your girls what reliance on my grace and omnipotence looks like? Yes Lord, even still.

Would you be willing to give up your love of singing in the church choir and playing the piano so beautifully in order to show hundreds of strangers my love, and share the truth of my name? Yes Lord. Yes, even still.

What a tremendous romance Anita lived out with her Savior while on Earth. While it breaks our hearts to lose her sweet presence, I can’t help but smile as I imagine her first moments meeting her King face to face. I know she’s in her element. No more confusion, no more pain, no more silent suffering, she is made whole—Anita is perfect, lavished in the sweet embrace of her Jesus. I envy the angels who get to listen to her beautiful singing voice as she belts praises in His throne room, but I remain in the promise that I will get to hear that voice again. And this time, she’ll remember me.

I’m sure she’ll take my hand, as if no time has passed, and invite me to sing (though I did not inherit an ounce of her musical talent), as we stand in pure wonder and awe at the face of our God. All the while, my heart will well with thankfulness for the tremendous grandmother the Lord blessed me with, and the beautiful part she played in my knowing Him more deeply on earth. My grandma is my legacy, one I will carry through my whole life, and what an incredible gift it is to possess!

— by Christie Dunagan Riemer

What about you? I’d love to hear who has left the greatest legacy imprint on your own life. 

16 Responses

  1. Thank you, Judy, for sharing Christie’s beautiful and poignant tribute to your mother. Unfortunately, in this world of innovation, exploration, and ever-changing ideals, we forget the significance of “legacy”. My Grandmother also build a foundation of faith from which mine grew, and like Christie, I spoke at her funeral about her legacy just a few years ago. Having felt so moved by this post, I now consider sharing my words about my Grandmother on my blog. Thank you for sharing, and bringing me back to the lessons of my beloved Grandmother. How I miss her and cherish all she built within me. xo

  2. What a beautiful tribute your Christie wrote! Thank you for sharing.

    Much like your mom Anita, my late husband Ben lived out that same dedication to the Lord. Whatever it takes for Gods glory to shine. Suffering in slow motion, yet being the true essence of peace and unwavering trust in front of all those who loved him!

    “WHATEVER IT TAKES

    There’s a voice calling me from an old rugged tree
    And it whispers
    “Draw closer to Me
    Leave your world far behind
    There are new heights to climb
    And a new life in Me you will find”

    For whatever it takes to draw closer to You, Lord
    That’s what I’ll be willing to do
    And whatever it takes to be more like You
    That’s what I’ll be willing to do

    Take the dearest things to me
    If that’s how it must be to draw me closer to You
    Let my disappointments come
    Lonely days without the sun
    If in sorrow more like You I’ll become

    I’ll trade sunshine for rain, comfort for pain
    That’s what I’ll be willing to do
    For whatever it takes for my will to break
    That’s what I’ll be willing to do
    That’s what I’ll be willing to do.”

    1. Oh, Dear Crystal – Thank you for sharing so from your heart! And I love that song! Haven’t thought of it in years. I love the lyrics. I assume you may not know this side of heaven the full impact of your late husband’s legacy in the midst of his suffering.

  3. Thank you for sharing this Judy . My mom was similar to yours in her faithful devotion and hope in her savior . She also left a legacy of music and using her voice to worship God . She went to heaven about 7 weeks ago after several years of dementia. Even in her loss of memory, she never lost her ability to sing and pray . I am grateful with you to one day meetup with our moms again

    1. Renee – I am sure this holiday season is especially poignant with the recent home going of your mom. I’m grateful you have similar memories and her legacy to hold close to your heart. And yes, I can’t wait to see our moms again one day!

  4. This is so beautiful, so heartwarming, so vulnerable, so memorable! Thank you for sharing your daughter’s words with us, and along with them, your mother’s legacy. Would I be willing sign on the dotted line? If I was able to grasp the beauty of God’s design in it all, then yes….absolutely! Life is full of pain and loss is full of sorrow, yet God is in the midst of the pain and sorrow, painting a masterpiece for His glory.

    1. So true, dear Sarah! I, too, wonder about being able to “sign on the dotted line” for suffering if I knew it would impact my future generations. It was amazing how I didn’t fully grasp the impact of her story on my daughters until at my mother’s memorial service. It was like an “a-ha” moment I’ll never forget. And I hope to remember when future storms come.

  5. Beautiful? Mom was a beautiful southern lady til the end of her fight with Alzheimer’. God gave us so many beautiful moments. Her strength through life , her talent to draw, sew, loving her family is part of mom’s legacy. By, the what Judy, look on my page. Today would have been my mom’s birthday. Hugs and love my friend. Thanks for sharing.

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