By Carin LeRoy –
As we climbed in the car to drive back to where my mother-in-law lived, she told a story that I’ve heard many times before—how she first met her late husband. I listened, once again, nearly able to repeat the story verbatim. Many times over the last several years, I’ve learned to listen to the same stories and answer the same questions, sometimes only minutes apart. Alzheimer’s disease has robbed her of her short-term memory. When we arrived back at her apartment in the assisted living facility, my husband and I cleaned her room and tidied up her things—something she can no longer do for herself.
According to the National Family Caregiver Association, there are presently over 65 million Americans providing some form of care to someone in their family. If you are not a caregiver now, at some point in your life you may be.
As difficult as it is to be in a caregiver role, I believe there are many things God can teach us as we tend to another’s needs. I know I am learning patience, compassion and a lot about selflessness. It takes patience to hear stories and answer those questions…again. I become more compassionate as I realize she is no longer the independent person she once was. Still, she deserves love, respect and care. As I plan my day I think of how lonely her days are. Selflessness enlightens my heart as I consider how connecting with family will bring her joy. I put my day on hold.
Life isn’t just about us and our needs, but about serving the needs of others—especially those in our own family. If you find yourself in a caregiver role, then use it as a time to serve as Jesus did—a time when you can be a blessing and encouragement to another. I am reminded of the verse in Proverbs 14:31 that says, “…whoever is kind to the needy honors God.” If you are struggling as you care for someone today, remember your care and kindness honors God. He also says, “…blessed is he who is kind to the needy,” (Proverbs 14: 21 NIV). Who more should we care for than the needy within our own family?
PRAYER: Lord, keep me mindful that helping others, even those in my own family, honors You. Help me to be a blessing and encouragement to someone today that needs me.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (I John 3:16-18 NIV).
Today’s devotional is by Carin LeRoy, wife to Dale and mother of three grown children and one almost-grown teenager. She has been a missionary with Pioneers since 1982. Her passions are family, missions, piano, and writing to challenge others to live faithful lives for God.