I’ve scoured the Bible for validation of the emotions I experienced. I searched for the Old Testament and New for instances of caregiving. I just knew there would be a Biblical imperative for what I was doing.
The stories in God’s Word don’t scream out “HEY, HE OR SHE’S A CAREGIVER” but, then again, neither do we! A lot of times, we become caregivers without even knowing it. Sometimes, it’s at our lowest points in our journey–when our families are in crisis–we finally discover there’s a word for what we’ve been doing. Even then, depending on your situation, the world likely has little to offer you in terms of support.
An actual deacon and close family friend pointed out to me that in the New Testament, a major responsibility of the very first deacons was to care for the widows. (Acts 6:1-3)
You have to read between the lines of God’s Word if you really want to find affirmation that you are doing the right thing.
Following Jesus’s teachings and trusting in Our Heavenly Father will give you all the power you need to keep negative thoughts and feelings at bay while you are on your caregiving mission.
That’s right, caregiver. You are on a MISSION.
God didn’t choose you because you have any special qualifications.
He chose you because He knew you were the right person for the job.
He knew that because of your devotion, care and love for your family member or friend, he could rely on you to carry them safely through their circumstances.
John 13:34-35 says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
When you accept your caregiving mission, you are not only obeying the word of God, your obedience to Christ manifests in a way that people can SEE.
Most people who’ve been on a mission of one kind or another will likely agree that doing what is RIGHT is not always EASY. Just like any other experience, your caregiving mission may make you question God’s plan. It can feel like the trials and tribulations never stop coming. Sometimes it feels like your loved one’s suffering (and therefore, yours) will drag on forever.
All missions come to an end. Sometimes, the completion of our mission is clear and finite. The person we care for improves and no longer needs our help. Other times, the person we care for is at the end of their journey. Either way, one day, caregiving ends.
If you’re helping a family member or friend through their end of life journey, you see, my friend, you are a heavenly escort. Henri Nouwen says that we are helping our loved one get ready for something so wonderful it is completely indescribable.
“We are called to a life eternal and, in the long run, caregiving can only be truly life-giving if it is seen and experienced in the service of eternal life. Caregiving is bringing people into touch with their most precious self, infinitely loved and cared for, and destined for a life over which death has no power. In this sense, caregiving is a preparation for eternal life.” (Henry Nouwen, 2011)
All missions have a leader. Just like in 100% of all other situations in life, when we learn to rely on Our Heavenly Father and all He has to offer us and less in our own capabilities and resources, our caregiving mission becomes a lot more bearable. Once I accepted caregiving as a mission, it helped me realize that I didn’t have to worry about who was in control anymore or whether or not anything was going to work out. It’s something I wish I would have figured out much sooner.
No matter where you are in your caregiving mission, I hope you can find a connection to God’s word and LOVE here. There is always hope. Even if you feel like nobody sees you, Our Heavenly Father sees you.
- Nouwen, Henri (2011). p.57. In A spirituality of caregiving. essay, Upper Room Books.