Breaking Through the Darkness and Fog (by guest Shirley Crowder)

I was stunned! I had noticed something was a bit “off” when I saw them and how he was interacting with her, but I would never have guessed she had been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s.

I have known this couple since our college days. Now the Lord graciously brought us back into each other’s lives.

With this devastating diagnosis, their entire world was jumbled and turned upside down. Thankfully, their strong faith in Christ, wise biblical counsel, and the encouragement, prayers, and practical help from their church family helped them navigate the difficult journey.

We met for supper one night. I observed how the husband helped fill in the blanks in her thought processes. It was a precious and beautiful picture of God’s grace, mercy, love, and strength.

Following up with an email to her husband, I asked him to prayerfully consider ways I might be able to help. I love how the Lord orchestrates things. He takes his wife to a hair appointment on Friday mornings. As it turns out, Fridays are my day off from work. I began meeting them at the salon so she would see that I was there with her, then he would go to the office. After her appointment, we would go to one of several places and have a snack or lunch while attempting a short Bible study. Sometimes, we would window shop. Then, I would take her to meet her husband at his office.

She always had her Bible with her. I could gauge how she was that day by whether she could tell me the names of her children, a photo of whom was inserted in her Bible’s front cover. I helped her find specific verses in her Bible and used my finger to follow along as we read. We talked about the verses, and I asked questions. She wrote down her answers. Sometimes I understood what she wrote; other times I did not.

One particular Friday, when I met them at the salon, her husband told me she was in a fog. After her hair appointment, we loaded up and headed out. She wasn’t really tracking with me as we drove to the restaurant. I found a table near the window, got her seated so she could see the beautiful sunshine outside, and ordered our drinks and cinnamon crunch bagels. I chatted about various things as we ate and drank.

Suddenly, the restaurant was filled with smoke, and the fire alarm began blaring. I saw flames coming from the bagel toaster. My friend got very agitated and looked to me for help. I whispered a prayer, asking the Lord to help me. Then I reached across the table with one hand to take hold of hers while grasping her Bible with my other hand. As I turned to Psalm 23, I got up and walked around behind her. Still holding her hand, I bent over so my mouth was close to her ear. In a firm yet gentle voice, I asked her to read the psalm aloud with me as I used my finger to follow the words.

As we began reading, The Lord is my Shepherd, her hands shook and her heart beat wildly. We continued reading, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Her hands stopped shaking and her heartbeat slowed. By the time we finished reading the entire psalm, the chaos and smoke in the restaurant cleared and for a few seconds, so did the fog in her mind.

“God loves me. I am not afraid,” she said as a little tear trickled down her cheek.

I am so thankful for God’s mercy, grace, and lovingkindness. He gives us His Holy Spirit-inspired Word to break through the darkness and fog of Alzheimer’s, bringing comfort to my friend and me.

I offered companionship and assistance so her husband could have uninterrupted time in his office, thinking how it would benefit him. What I didn’t count on were the enormous, unexpected blessings God poured out on me during those precious times with my sweet friend.

Still today, those blessings continue bearing fruit in my life.

Follow Shirley at:

Shirley Crowder Author | Facebook

@ShirleyJCrowder / Twitter

Shirley Crowder is an award-winning author and freelance Christian writer living in Birmingham, Alabama. She was born under the shade of a mango tree in Nigeria, West Africa, where her parents served as missionaries. Shirley is passionate about disciple-making and has authored, co-authored, and contributed to fourteen books. Her articles have appeared in “Paper Pulpit” in the Faith section of The Gadsden (Alabama) Times. She has contributed to several blogs and published articles for David C. Cook, Student Life, and Woman’s Missionary Union publications. Shirley has appeared on The Addiction Connection Podcasts and on Shaped by Faith with Theresa Rowe. Shirley’s book Glimpses of God: a spring devotional for women, was co-authored with her lifelong friend Harriet E. Michael. Their devotionals give a glimpse of God in and through everyday life.

Posted in

Karen Allen


  1. Sharon Atwood on March 15, 2024 at 12:31 pm

    This blog brought to mind my grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. It reminded me that she used to sing hymns and watch Bill Gaither and sing along even when she couldn’t remember my name.

    • Karen Allen on March 15, 2024 at 2:48 pm

      Isn’t it nice to know that those songs were etched in her memory forever?

    • Shirley J. Crowder on March 16, 2024 at 9:28 pm

      The combination of Scripture and music makes indellible marks on our hearts and brains.

      • Karen Allen on March 17, 2024 at 3:34 pm

        You are so right, Shirley!

  2. Diana Derringer on March 15, 2024 at 4:45 pm

    Thank you for this special post, Shirley. Blessings.

    • Karen Allen on March 15, 2024 at 11:53 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Diana. That Shirley is one special lady.

  3. J.D. Wininger on March 27, 2024 at 8:33 pm

    Heartwarming Ms. Shirley. How we show God’s love to others is His business. Ours is to obey His call. God’s blessings ladies.

    • Karen Allen on March 28, 2024 at 12:18 pm

      All deserve kindness regardless of their stage in life.

Leave a Comment

Follow This Blog

Ewe R Blessed Ministries / Karen O. Allen

A woman with short hair is smiling for the camera.