By Karen O’Connor:
Lois Knutson, in an excerpt from her book Compassionate Caregiving:
Practical Help and Spiritual Encouragement, describes caregiving as a threefold call. After reading what she had to say based on her experience of caring for her mother, I believe any one of us can be finding God as a caregiver.
“View your caregiving as a spiritual experience in which you follow Jesus’ threefold calling for your life,” she says. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind;” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27).
“As you remember God’s love for you,” says Knutson, “love God in return—with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind—and confidently cling to him every day.”
Next she reminds caregivers to love the one in their care by expressing kindness, patience, physical tenderness, and accepting God’s forgiveness for themselves and the other person, especially when there are difficult memories associated with the relationship.
And finally Knutson reminds us to love ourselves. “We will never be perfect caregivers. Perfection is impossible. The only person who is perfect is Jesus. But God forgives your shortcomings. Don’t be harder on yourself than God is. God loves you. Love yourself.”
She offers the following verse from the Bible to encourage and strengthen caregivers:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. . . . You are precious and honored in my sight . . . because I love you” (Isaiah 43:1–4).
With the Lord on our side, anyone willing can be finding God as a caregiver.
Diane Blum, MSW, Editor-in-Chief of cancer.net has some encouraging advice for caregivers in this YouTube video.
©Karen O’Connor. Karen is an author, writing mentor, and frequent contributor to the Finding God Daily blog. Visit Karen on the web at www.karenoconnor.com
See also the article: Finding God While Caring for Aging Parents