Unconditional Acceptance

An Interview with Carol Spencer

It’s on all our minds as we age . . . “Will that be me in 5, 10, or 20 years?” Perhaps you know or love someone who can’t ask that question any longer because he or she can’t remember what to ask. The looming fear about the unknown is connected to the dreadful disease Alzheimer’s, a subcategory of dementia and a terminal diagnosis that turns the smartest and strongest into frightened shadows of who they used to be. Carol Spencer knows the story all too well; she cares for her knight in shining armor and husband of more than 30 years, Lew, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years ago.

Carol Spencer
Carol Spencer

Carol candidly offers compassion and wisdom that she’s gained from learning to navigate life in the midst of its never ending unknowns.

Watch the Interview

Interview Questions

  1. What was life like with Lew before Alzheimer’s, and what do you miss the most about life before the diagnosis?
  2. How did you come to accept the fact that Lew had Alzheimer’s and that he was going to have to depend on you now?
  3. How do you deal with the stress of the slow continued dependence on you?
  4. What have you learned through this experience, and what would you say to someone who is beginning this process?
  5. What have you discovered about yourself, and how has this turned into a blessing?
  6. As a caregiver for your husband with Alzheimer’s, how do you handle bad days?
  7. You decided the Lord would take control over your situation; how would you encourage someone who is starting a similar journey?
  8. What can you tell people who currently do not have a support system?
  9. What can you say to inspire caregivers of Alzheimer’s patients?

Let Me Hear from You

Without the Lord Jesus Christ in your life, there is no hope for the future . . . healthy or ill. Christ promises His strength, His comfort, His power, and His wisdom for all who believe and trust in Him. What are you waiting for? Scripture reminds us, “Nothing is impossible WITH God” (Luke 1:37 NLT, emphasis mine), even in the midst of Alzheimer’s. If you are in need, Insight for Living Ministries has a storehouse of resources to share with you. Please, take a moment to reflect on those who have lost all ability to remember. Memory . . . it’s a gift. Let’s remember that. For those who are caregivers, let’s connect today. Don’t wait . . . you are loved, and you are not alone. I hope to hear from you today!

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

About Carol Spencer

Carol SpencerCarol serves as the senior director of Resource Ministries at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where she is responsible for the church’s administrative and financial functions. Before joining Stonebriar in July 1999, Carol served as vice president and director of Investor Relations for a mid-cap investment banking firm. Her experience also includes a varied background in interior design, marketing, construction, and quarter horse ranching. She received her bachelor’s degree in English and Finance and continues to pursue further education in tax law, technology, and management. Carol and her husband, Lew, have three children and five grandchildren.

Resources

For help, information, research, advocacy, community connections, and caregiving, the following sites are suggested.

About Alzheimer’s Disease:

Senior Care Assistance and Support for Caregivers:

Insight for Living Ministries Resources

Audio Messages by Charles R. Swindoll:

E-Book by Insight for Living Ministries:

Insights by Topic:

  • Great interview, Colleen. Thank you for your consistent encouragement to those of us who need it.

    • Wayne,

      Thank you for your consistent encouragement as well. It’s always good to know our suffering is never wasted…Carol is a wonderful example of this.
      Have a great weekend. Colleen

  • Sand

    Hello Colleen, this was a great addition to your interviews, this with the truth of dimension of “unconditional acceptance”, and under the umbrella truly of “Unconditional Love”, Carol Spencer is a brilliant star and the truth shining through for me truly is that her loved one Lew is so very fortunate to have had her unconditional love, and she having had the terific remarkable life together sharing so much and greatest of what sounds like loving each other brilliantly.

    I see such similarity of you both for simply Jon having your unconditonal love and acceptance too Colleen, and the incredible bond of truest love i see and hear between the two of you, you hold for Jon, Jon hold for you, remarkable love and “acceptance” without thought of independence/dependence……it apparent and clear, both truly Brilliant stars shining outward. What a pleasure to view and It is remarkable as like a pebble tossed and skimming the water surface, the reflection and vibration of love shadows outward to all others to see and by example of Jesus Christ loving image, bringing perhaps others to treat others with same love and acceptance whether in own lives or strangers with special needs or just anyone really,and caregivers. The upstanding unconditional Love is the same.

    Thank you for this interview and enlighening so many and me too with so much in this interview! Bringing so many more to know he/she has this interview for support and encouragement and to inspire, those that may be in beginning process ,finding your blog.., such a brilliant interview of raw real truth of realities/emotions that transpire over time with this process and that all so open so more go through less blinded.

    I was a Director of an Alzehiemer unit years ago, so I understand the depths of this life, I worked hands on with those of all stages, and educated caregivers about Alzheimers and how iimportant to release from caregiving guilt and being caregiver with insight of importance of taking good care of self, and respite so vital,as you are only good to your loved one if you are well and able. There were many programs I connected and educated .

    What stands out this moment is those that I saw of family and loved one relations like Carol Spencer who loved unconditionally, and yes accepted unconditionally, to be able to say “this is the disease talking”,not to argue, to “Accept” Unconditionally,and know in your heart that this is not who is at the core of disease, but the one you had been so close is still there, glimpses will always shine, those “precious moments” “instances” I know and there were always moments i will never forget of those in later stages may not be able to vocalize,although when his/her spouse walked in, there was always a gleam in the eye at one moment or instance that shined through which acknowledged “I know You dearly my love”, .It is the ability to accept and adapt to these behaviors “creatively” and keep agreeing, story telling to help be with his/her in his/her present.

    Many Blessings extended for Carol Spencer and for her husband and life soul mate, Lew in his very Spirit. He is one of the most fortunate to have such Love of his care of family to stay the course, ultimately that is the most amazing gift through Jesus Christ where truth of Love has shined and shown up as truest of love of Lew. I love how Carol is guided by our Lord and Prayer, such Divine fortune and richness for Lew care and for growth of all.

    I love your approach and scripture teaching Colleen.
    Many Blessings, and Thank you for sharing
    Sandlee

  • Sand

    i so much wish that i could have in front of me your description of grief. you are so brilliant. “a war a sense of defeat…..”. Colleen Swindoll, “Unconditional Acceptance”….oh my goodness, I will write this down from your interview. so amazing to listen. Thank you for this,
    With Gratitude
    Sandlee

    • My dear friend….Oh Sand I have missed you so very much! It is wonderful to hear from you…so wonderful, this makes my day.
      How are you dear one? How is your health, your home, the holiday season and New Year….just so much I want to catch up on.
      Please know you are in my thoughts daily and I pray for you often. Thanks for you sweet words and it will be great to catch up when you have time.
      Have a wonderful day my friend. Colleen

      • Sand

        Hello Colleen, Yes I have missed you enormously. so much happening by you that some of which I probably unaware as in interview a fall was mentioned? I so hope that you are stengthened after your mom surgery, and issue you have had with another surgery or fall,and that you are able to catch your breathe this month.
        Oh my goodness, i am listening to the end of interview again and writing down some things that you have so brilliantly described in grief and at end another description i need relistten and type for my keeping and depth of understanding by this. brilliant where you research and find the exact descriptions that resonate and connect us all to heart and soul.
        I will connect again with update, house nothing new, that last contracter disappeared,never to have solid quote and the next one wanted to hide water damages,and i gathered by experience now that I pick up most quickly who is going to be a sure “charolettin?”, my dr describes most all contracters charlotans? sorry I did not look up spelling.
        So much other good happening with accupuncture,and furthering my opening up blossoming, for first time in over 15 years my creativity blockage is now opening and i am drawing again, and taking part in coloring book in book store once a month. I am more inspired than ever and feeling more confident in who I am. I still have more liver opening with accupuncture to do, budget way over and have accrued debt but I seem to worry less and know wholeheartedly that God has allways provided and will continue.
        . Still on suppements minerals and energy I having confidence with accupuncture initially energy comes back,and over time i know without accupuncture energy will remain consistent, this is greatest of medicine i have found for my conditions.
        So much to share, I will need come back. I was uncertain if you did write the letter of support with all you have had going on, my dr letter was returned for wrong address? and she just gave me her letter thursday and i have updated address to send. If you are too overtaken with so much, It is okay if you cannot, i will ask just to let me know about this. I am most grateful and uncertain with whether i will go to onsite, accuuncture and my Psychologist are really bringing new blossoms to my life in so many levels of awareness and work, I am so grateful and continue to keep our Lord and God so close and the Angels. I have opened my Intuition and have been albe to see it in black and white,what dangerous,or not where i need follow and it has been incredibly insightful and enlightening of the difference i can now sense with i guess clarity without blockages of doubt or covering this important aspect of myself.
        I am picking out some colors for my house while all else waiting for the right individual to be sent to me to help with repairs. I am patient as God knows what is in store. The material things in house remain on hold . ANd my joy and peace are priority around lacking furnutiture, it is the most beautiful of gifts of God to experience ,these are the truest of RICHES in life,and God is showing me this truth.
        I found a Church,the one I watch on tv as it is 50 minutes away,but I did attend Christmas Eve and I fit in well, and resonate with the Ministry, it is the one i described sermon to you a few times that so resonate, and I intend tomorrow please God willing to go to 830 am service. there is one at 11:30 i can always go to in future. I have had the fatigue previous weekends since Christmas that honestly I had such difficulty functioning, i know this will be less with furthering accumpuncture, the fibromyalgia fatigue. So mornings have still been difficult to function. ALl is on the so right path.
        I absolutely love your brilliance in research and itnerviews,and all that you share of biblical scripture and God truth through this blog.
        I am so grateful and so very happy to connect again. I also have kept you in my thoughts and prayer and think of you so often.
        I wanted to share too that interestingly I am uncertain my x husband has a girlfriend? with his new child? He had spoken child mom having a pretty terific relationship,but never has shared any more about her which is unusual although I accept his boundary with this and I continue to receive happily our connection by email and his sharing delightful photographs of his little girl. So where God leads I am most grateful and this is a soft and gentle repore we have been sharing and really quite beautiful that we are able to be sharing this connection. I am uncertain if we are leading to be reunited? I do not know what God has in store? I do know that i spoke to my dr about this. And she gently told me that i needed to experience all that I have , divorce, the unhealhty friend , all for my expereince necessary for growth and to be able to see now who my x hsuband was and he is honestly a “good soul” of Light that in hindsight i see that by all my experience since divorce that if I had understood this then, would we be able to remain married? the things that were part of our existence were all workable as far as I can see from hindsight. ONly God knows where he is leading, perhaps the connection by email and his brightness is shining upon me this relation to show me again that this is to add to my intuition, those who are so loyal and tender and soft and truly loving caring souls are who I need pay close attention to bring and keep close in realtions, and to understand this level of knowledge of heart and soul, to protect myself is to know this. It is all really incredible. it includes boundaries, “accepting” of others what he/she may not be able to be there for oneself, but to see the truth at core, those who so wounded too may need time to heal,etc. So much information, I hope it is not too confusing for you.
        I will connect again. It is so great to connect and share with you, my friend.
        With loving care,
        Sandlee

  • Dearest Friend, Sand,

    I missed this note before replying to your earlier one….thank you, thank you for your kindest words and affirming thoughts. Carol is one of the most remarkable women I know….my respect for her is off the chart! She has handled herself, her grief, her love for Lew and slowly loosing him to this dreadful disease with so much strength from Christ and yet honesty with herself…it’s been incredible to see. She is a shining example to us all of how to respond to life adversity with grace and truth…allowing time to pass and grief to surface when it does and asking our Lord for His unconditional love to fill her. I will pass along your note to her as I’m sure your affirming, loving, and deep words of truth and compassion will bring tears to her eyes.
    It is fabulous to hear from you again, I have missed you much but know you are busy. Did you start the women’s group? I hope you have found some relief from your allergies and the home challenges.
    Much love in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

    Colleen

    • Sand

      Hello Colleen , I love your description “off the charts”as you affirm my respect for you as well, and what I have been able view of Carol in her interview, remarkable people surely.
      I am delighted for you to share my thougths with Carol, it is all so truthful and genuine I have shared.
      I may even go back and re view this interview because it is so valuable , the truest of gifts of Jesus Christ are the most remarkable to hear and dwell, this interview is one of them with Carol story. as your hand writing across page and your descriptions and scripture shine through just so great of His work pulling all together to share.
      I think you are referring to the Womans yoga for woman with trauma? I intend to head there this thursday as days were off due to holidays, but I hope to be able to connect there this week, and the coloring book with woman is i think third tuesday? i need check, I was there last month first time, so look forward to returning this month. may be this week. i need check on this. I also have requested volunteer application for Childrens Hospital, to bring drawing coloring ,bringing in nature and exploring feel of vitality of such beauty of God creation from outdoors to indoor of hospital. or simply LOVE and HOPE with a smile and a warm heart and soul to say hello and encouraging those with my heart and soul. I am praying that the Lord bring me without too much pain to see a child with illness in hospital, and that I simply able to devote this time once a month to begin to simply let Love SHine in the most simplest of ways, showing up with care.
      I will keep you posted.

      • Sand,

        I just found and re-read this note…I’m thrilled you are going to help in a hospital. I’ve wanted to for years-to just bring in some sunshine and hope to those who feel forgotten…you can’t imagine how incredible such an act of love and kindness means to those who are ill. When Jon was little, there wasn’t any social media or way for people to have much contact with the outside world like they do now. It meant everything to me when someone took time to reach out. I know you will be loved and changed as a result. Let me know how things progress. Much love to you,
        Colleen

    • Sand

      Hello Colleen, I wanted to answer your question about my allergies, they continue,although at this very moment Thank God not as severe in house with previous weeks the increased humidity my face and eyes swollen and severe, but this week cooler temps slided in for moment and it seems to lessen effect of mold allergy. I had to stop allergy shots, for reason insurance not covering enough and accrued a debt with dr office, and honestly God made it very clear the way I was being treated there by the nursing team that gives shots, they were honestly and truely abusive, they played with me in evil way, the one girl grinned when she stuck my one arm so hard and said oops that happens sometimes,but i promise you it was highly intentional, the way she grinned as if she got her thrill out of this, and for some reason the three nurses whispered, stood and just stared at me, and treated me with what was the greatest disrespect and least of ease. I turned to one nurse and said when she was talking down to me about shot hours, that she need work on her communication skills because she is being rude to me. I intend to report the two nurses,especially the one that had the attitude with sticking my arm so hard and it being as intentional as it was. When I worked with Alzheimers patients in center, if any nurse showed this edge or whatever attitude this is, lacking compassion but being pushy with patient and/or any way not to be tolerated as kind and compassionate and respectful , I was sure to have that individual no longer work there. It takes a special kind of person to be in caregiving of patients. This allergy center was very lacking for whatever reason, whether I had too much joy in my heart and they jealous, or what reason beyond my knowledge to act this way to another, or if it was the most obvious God showing me that this is not where i was meant to be. He was protecting me that this was not the Chosen Path He is leading me. I truly believe this as my intuition widens and I picking up on more of His lead. So I am beleiving the accupuncture is correct plan intended and overall the allergies will be taken care of by accupuncture, and help me too while living in house with mold.It does not eliminate the noxious odors when especially humidity increases, yuck, and I waiting for all repairs to eliminate this, and i know God has a plan and I am waiting to see this restoration in His timing.
      The information i picked up in accupuncture office shows that spleen and lung dificiency or weakness are a few reasons for allergies of any kind, and these are two of multiple organs that being treated, lung for grief, heart for all i have endured over time, liver for anger and spleen i think from dampness/fibromyalgia and the other organs that go with this, adrenal gland,stomach from liver hitting stomach,etc, all these are being released gradually so i believe too that the information says that over time, over time,some i thought it said take 10 visits and greatly reduce or eliminate never have an allergy again.
      . The accupuncture addresses the root cause and/or underlying imbalance(s).
      I wanted to share this with you.
      I will keep you posted.
      WIth loving care
      Sandlee

  • Sand,

    I see you have several notes here so I’ll keep this one short. I was sitting in my Chiropractor’s waiting room when I read the update on your psychological and health treatments….sooooo very cool! I’m very interested in learning more about how acupuncture works and how you are doing. Sounded like you were doing great.
    I’ll look over your other notes and respond. Always great to connect with you.
    Colleen