The past few months I have been searching for the gifts that God blesses us with each and every day. It has been amazing to intentionally look — and find — God’s gifts…right in front of us!
Thanks to Ann Voskamp and her book, “One Thousand Gifts — A Dare To Live Fully Right Where You Are“, I have been following this practice of searching for God’s gifts every day for eight months. Nothing has surprised me –
or has it?
Recently, in my morning devotion from the Upper Room, the “Thought for the Day” was “Caregiving is a gift from God” using Deuteronomy 31:8. The Message Bible says, “God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry.”
So, what does this verse have to do with caregiving? I continued reading and found this one in Acts 20:35, also from the Message:
In everything I’ve done, I have demonstrated to you how necessary it is to work on behalf of the weak and not exploit them. You’ll not likely go wrong here if you keep remembering that our Master said, ‘You’re far happier giving than getting.’
It is “necessary to work on behalf of the weak. How is “working on behalf of the weak” a gift? How is it even considered caregiving?
As a caregiver to my husband who has Vascular dementia, I never thought about caregiving as a gift.
At the beginning of this post, I mentioned Ann Voskamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts”, and the journey I have been on discovering the gifts I have received. There have been so many gifts found on my journey, I don’t think I could name them all in one post!
But, here are some of the gifts I have found:
God’s Creatures: birds, my cat
Music, Song, Instruments
Family – Togetherness
A verse at the right moment
Connecting with Friends
God’s World: the sky, clouds, rain
I could go on and on and on to list all of the awesome gifts that God has blessed me with in these past months.
Yet, caregiving as a gift? No, I have never considered that to be a gift. A gift is something good, isn’t it? A gift is something you need; even something you may want, right? How can caregiving be good? Who really wants or needs to be a caregiver?
Maybe I need to look at this “gift” from another angle.
Perhaps I should look at this “gift” from the perspective of the care-receiver rather than the caregiver?
As a caregiver, I am helping someone else. Yes, it is my husband, and I am suppose to be there for him, to help him when he is unable to do so, right?
Didn’t I take a vow – over 30 years ago – that we would be together “in sickness and in health…’til death do us part”? That vow is a promise to my husband that I will not leave him. Just as God promises He will not leave us:
Hebrews 13:1-6 in the Message Bible says:
…Since God assured us, ‘I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,’ we can boldly quote, ‘God is there, ready to help; I’m fearless no matter what. Who or what can get to me?’
And, what about how the care-receiver feels? He (or she) may feel blessed to have someone take care of them…Even if it is their spouse! Perhaps they even feel their spouse is a gift received from God, someone who will be there for them and provide the caregiving needed.
God cares for the caregiver as well as the care-receiver; and assures us He will be with us through whatever lies ahead:
Romans 8:26-28 (MSG):
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
So, yes! As a caregiver, we can be a blessing – a gift! – to those whom receive the care we give; and we receive so many blessings ourselves from the care-receiver.
Barbara London is a wife, mother to three adult children and grandmother to six. She is retired but busier than ever! She enjoys spending time with family and friends; hobbies and traveling (limited) and just being relaxed and flexible. As a caregiver to her husband, she is still learning how that all plays out in her life. She writes to get the words out and allow her voice to be heard. Visit Barbara at her blog, where she shares her journey of being a caregiver to her husband and other uplifting tidbits, or stop by and visit her on Facebook.