Relying on God’s Strength in Caregiving

We often hear people talk about relying on God’s strength through the difficult times.  But what does that look like?  How do we find strength for the long haul, especially when we are so tired?


We can learn from the ways Jesus handled His own caregiving responsibilities while on Earth.

  • He frequently spent time alone in prayer
  • He often prayed with His closest friends
  • He publicly thanked God the Father for what God had provided.
  • He faced each crisis with calm assurance because He had placed His confidence in God
  • He delegated work to other people
  • He grieved the losses of those He loved with a sense of hope, because He had an eternal perspective


I am sure if you think and pray upon it, you will find many examples from Jesus’ life that model for us the attributes that can make our caregiving more rewarding and fulfilling. But even if we just focus on the above points, we can grow closer to our Lord as we do the work of being His hands and feet for our loved ones.


Look to Jesus as your ultimate model of a healthy caregiver (emotionally and spiritually), and follow His example in your own caregiving work.  Obviously prayer is an important part of this, as many of his techniques involved prayer.  If you are at a loss for prayer, don’t worry.  God already gave us one;  The Lord’s Prayer.  Don’t forget to ask others to pray for you and your family as you navigate this difficult time of life.  I know when I have had my greatest pain and hardships, I could actually feel the prayers of others when I felt too lost to pray myself.


Jesus faced each crisis with calm assurance because He had placed His confidence in God.  We need to ask ourselves if we are keeping God’s promises forefront in our mind; which can be difficult to do when overwhelmed with your own life, plus taking care of someone.  How can I switch over to this calm assurance?  For myself, I leave post it notes on the mirror in my bathroom.  Little inspirational sayings or bible verses.  Goodness knows that my mind is so busy thinking of what I have to do next, that these positive thoughts might never enter my brain if I don’t have some sort of reminder.  The same goes for the eternal perspective.  Reminders and prayers definitely help.


Yes, Jesus delegated.  You can too!  Using the Genus™ app, you can create a care circle of friends and family to provide respite care or perhaps a meal.  If your church is involved with using Genus™, then maybe you can enlist help there as well.  Don’t feel you shouldn’t ask for help.  Jesus asked for help.   Remember that you are providing an opportunity for others to be blessed by being His hands and feet for your loved one.  Being a martyr and trying to do it all yourself doesn’t honor God or your loved one.


Jesus did all these things and more.  We can use him as our Givers of Care Role Model.  He wants to help.  All we have to do is ask!

God Has Entrusted Us

God has entrusted to be a Giver of Care for our loved one.  He/she i into our capable hands.  Whew!  He has ENTRUSTED us!  That statement alone can change one’s perspective.  As incapable as we may feel, He will provide the strength we need.  All we need to do is ask for His help, rather than relying on our own limited power.


Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with al your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 


Trust Him…. Does that mean I have to stop focusing on me and how unfair life is right now?  I know that left to my own devices, I can be self-centered.  I can get bothered by the inconvenience of caring for my parents, and then I feel guilty.   I don’t think that is what God had in mind when He entrusted me with my parents’ care.  However, even the mundane tasks of caregiving can become spiritual experiences for us and our loved ones.  Transforming our hearts; transforming our loved one’s life.


While your work as a caregiver is vitally important, don’t make the mistake of defining yourself by the services you perform. Instead, ask God to help you see yourself as He sees you and focus on the fact that you are a child of God being the hands and feet of Christ for another one of His children.  Ask Him to help you understand how your caregiving fits into His overall purpose for your life. Place your trust in the fact that God’s grace will always be there to give you the help you need.

Let your love for God flow into all areas of your life, especially this most important duty of caregiving.  Try thanking God for the opportunity to be HIS hands and feet for one of HIS children.   When my dad was alive, battling Alzheimer’s, I didn’t do this.  But with my mom and her dementia, I am able to thank God for our times together.  I have a much better attitude with my mom than I did with my dad.  Coincidence?  I think not.  It seems that this time around I have added gratitude and increased prayer time to my arsenal.


God’s message is spread through God’s children.  We, as caregivers, are His children, providing loving care to another one of His children.  We are furthering His kingdom when we provide vital care for someone in need.  What greater honor can there be?


I pray that God can help me keep this focus, rather than focusing on how tired and/or inconvenienced I am.  By asking God to help me keep this focus, then I know I can do it.  And while I’m at it, I can pray for all the other millions of Givers of Care out there as well.  We need to help each other!

Our Caregiving Story As Part of God’s Story


Your caregiving story is a part of the greater story God is writing for the world.  As you spend time with the loved one you’re caring for, see if you can find points of connection between your two stories.   Your lives connect in shared compassion, intimacy, and revelation. As you care for your loved one, remember that God has the power to redeem yours AND your loved one’s story – changing it for the better in ways that will matter for eternity.

Recognize the significance of the times you share with your loved one. When you both enter each other’s stories, you can make connections that will matter forever. Even your most mundane work (like changing your loved one’s diapers or driving him or her to the doctor) isn’t just physical.  Rather, it can be a spiritual experience, if we allow it.

However, we are human.  We get overwhelmed, discouraged, and tired.  In our exhaustion, it’s hard to remember these important and faith strengthening ideals.   That’s when we need to rely on prayer.  Sometimes the prayer is a memorized “Lord’s Prayer”, other times it is a more intimate conversation with God.  Either way, God knows what is in your heart.  If you’re too tired to get “real” with your prayers, it’s okay.  He knows. He understands.  That’s why He gave the Lord’s prayer.  It covers the bases:

  • Our Holy Father
  • Thy will be done
  • Give us this day our daily bread ( many interpret this as strength)
  • Forgive us and help us forgive
  • Keep us from temptation and evil

And remember, God has a plan for all of this.  We might not see it.  But it’s there.  Pray for Him to reveal His purpose and shower you with His grace.  He often reveals himself during our trials as it is when we are hurting that we are more open to Him.


Jeremiah 29:11

 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Showing Forgiveness in Caregiving

Forgiveness is crucial in life, but especially in a caregiving situation.   Let your gratitude for how much you have been forgiven by God motivate you to show that same forgiveness.   Forgive the loved one you care for when he or she hurts or offends you.  It will happen.  Your loved one is facing major setbacks and frustrations, and those may cause unkind words to flow or inconsiderate actions to surface.  Of course those words and actions sting.

Pray, pray, and pray some more when you are feeling offended.   As you forgive the loved one you’re caring for, commit to act with his or her best interests in mind going forward. Let your thoughts, actions, and words about your loved one reflect that commitment.

Forgive other family members, like siblings, who don’t pitch in to do their fair share of the caregiving work.  This can be more difficult than forgiving your person of care.  I know I have had many moments of disappointment and anger when a sibling or two has not done what I wanted them to do in regards to my parents’ care.  I’ve even been known to send out a scolding email now and then when I was feeling particularly stressed and overwhelmed.  NOT a good idea, trust me!!  Remember, we don’t know what is going on in someone else’s life.  And not all of our siblings will prioritize care for an ailing parent in the same way that we might.  Playing “martyr” doesn’t help.  It might make us feel more important, but it does nothing toward building family relationships.  And it certainly isn’t what God wants us to do.

Forgive doctors who don’t take enough time to answer your questions. Forgive care workers who may fall short on the job.  Remember that their job is a tough one, and most definitely not a well-paying one.  They need our support, prayers, and encouragement.

Forgive yourself for not being able to do everything you’d like to do as a Giver of Care.  You are human.  You will make mistakes with your actions, priorities and much, much more.  If you are praying for God’s grace to get you through this trying time, then He will provide.  God does not want us beating ourselves up.

Regularly ask God to show you both your own shortcomings and who you need to forgive. Then confess your sins, repent, accept God’s forgiveness for yourself, and rely on God’s help to forgive others. In the process, you’ll find that God gives you the grace to develop greater compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and love.


            Colossians 3:13:  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.


Cultivating a Spirit of Joy

You can find joy – the spiritual confidence that all will be well, even in the midst of your caregiving challenges – by trusting in God’s promise to work all things out for a good purpose in your life. (reference to Jeramiah 39:11)  Remember that God is always with you, even in the middle of the toughest circumstances. Let your sorrow lead you to joy by helping you discover God’s sufficiency in deeper and more meaningful ways.


It is sad to watch our loved ones suffer or watch their capacity diminish.  We shed tears of grief as we see these things, but they can be turned into tears of joy.  How??  With His help.  There is joy in living out God’s will for us to care for our loved ones.  We might have to work at bringing joy to the forefront, but it can be found, with the help of prayer.  When we ask the Lord to help us find joy in the difficult moments, He will show up.  You’ll see.


Many people choose joy, even when they aren’t feeling joyful.  It’s important to try to stay away from complaining. This is a huge thief of joy.  Of course, we may need to unload on a trusted friend or family member or two.   But try to remember to turn to Jesus first.  He can take it!  He understands.  Remember, he had moments when he felt overwhelmed and frustrated too!  Look to what Jesus did when he felt this way.  He spent time alone with God.  He rested.  He delegated.  He trusted his Lord.  We can follow His example.


            Galatians 5:22    But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.

            Romans 15:13   I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with JOY and peace because you trust in him.  Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. 




Caregiving and Suffering

What does God tell us about suffering and hardship? People who trust God are not exempt from difficult life circumstances. But we also know, we have the Ultimate Support at our disposal during hardship: God’s Grace. Being a Giver of Care as well as a Receiver of Care can often be a hardship. A struggle that can involve great suffering. It’s one of life’s biggest challenges. But we have hope. Thank God for that!

Did you know that suffering and glory are often linked in the New Testament? Some of my favorite passages on this topic:
• 1 Peter 5:10 – After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
• Romans 8:18 – I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
• 1 Peter 2:21 – For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you.
Our Lord promises to help us through our suffering. If the loved one you are caring for is a believer, then sharing these passages during your visit may provide relief for their suffering.

In our family, we use the Moments module of the Genus™ App to provide some pictures of favorite bible versus to share with our mom when we visit. By doing a Google search for bible verses that give hope, then click on the Images tab, and you will find loads of them. I took a picture of bible verse with my phone, and added it to the Moments module. Mom loves it when we share these verses of hope, and it’s all at our finger tips using Genus™. Not only does she appreciate the messages, they truly serve to lift her mood and spirit, which is what we are doing this for in the first place: providing the best emotional, physical and spiritual support for our loved ones.

Remember that there is pain and suffering in life, especially in a caregiving situation. But with God’s help, we can not only endure, but we can overcome, and find the glory in the midst of the chaos. That, my friends, is the purpose of our suffering. We can use God’s grace to not only endure our troubles, but to shine through them, in His light, showing others that God does provide love, hope, and encouragement in our darkest times.

You are NOT Alone!

If you are reading this article, then you are being blessed by a church that cares about you and your situation.  The team at genusConnect™ recognizes that the spiritual community (churches) wants to support their members in any possible way that they can when they are enduring hardships.  You are NOT alone!   As a result, Genus™ offers a free church platform in our app that will allow members of the care community to choose a church to come along side them during this difficult time in life.  If your church doesn’t offer this platform yet, you may want to encourage them to contact genusConnect™ to be added to the growing list!


Providing care, and even receiving care, can be one of life’s greatest challenges.   Over 40 million people in the US are involved in providing care of some sort for a loved one.  Nearly ½ of those providing care have reported depression and anxiety over the situation.  Your church cares and wants to help.


Different churches have different ways of helping, and the church connected with your Genus™ app has decided upon the best ways they can help.  Some of the ways churches are offering help through Genus™:

  • Request a prayer
  • Request a pastoral visit
  • Request transportation
  • Request a meal
  • Connect with the church and other avenues of support (support groups)
  • Inspirational, faith-based stories


We have a saying at genusConnect ™: Once a caregiver, always a caregiver.  Someday, when your caregiving duties are over, you may even decide to get involved in helping others who are in a caregiving situation at your own church someday.  Talk to the leadership at your church and see how you can get involved.  Or, maybe you have friends you know who want to get involved in helping others who are enduring the stress of providing care.  You can encourage them to get involved as well.   care


You are NOT alone.  Genus™ cares.  God cares.  Your church cares.  God Bless you in this journey!

Prayers for Givers of Care

We know that we need God’s help to be the best Giver of Care that our loved ones deserve.  Listed below are some prayers that you may consider using when you can’t find the words you are looking for.  Of course, The Lord’s Prayer is one many of us revert to either out of habit or choice.  The team at Genus™  decided to put together some prayers to help you through the difficult and often overwhelming task of being a Giver of Care.  We know that with a little help, this task can become rewarding and fulfilling.  Perhaps one day you will look back on and thank God for having this special opportunity to bless another one of God’s children by being the hands of feet of Jesus.


Short prayers, often called “breath prayers” as they can be said in one breath.  These are helpful when you are in the midst of a task, or in a particularly stressful moment that you need to call upon God for help.  Sometimes, just saying the name of “Jesus” or “Help me Lord” or “Show me the way, God” can get you through a tough moment.  It helps to take a deep breath as you say them.  In this link from Guideposts, there is a short slide show (for those of us who are visually motivated) with meaningful illustrations for some short “breath prayers.


Other prayers to consider
God, help me to be flexible and have the ability to go with the flow as I care for ________. I pray that I will not get angry when and if things don’t go as planned. Help me to uncover the humor in these situations and not take life so seriously. But most of all, Lord, I want my Receiver of Care to know he/she is loved. Thank you for your unconditional love and strength.


Lord, thank you for allowing me the honor of being your hands and feet today.  Help me to shower your grace and love upon my Receiver of Care today, and every day.  Help me to show him/her your joy and peace.  I don’t always feel peaceful or joyful when being a Giver of Care.  I need you to help me do this please.  I thank you and praise you God.


Thank you for the precious gift of laughter, Lord.  Please lift the heavy burdens I feel today and let me lift the spirits of my Receiver of Care. I thank you and praise you, Father, for the unique gifts you have blessed me with and those you have yet to reveal. Continue to use me boldly for your honor and glory.


Change my heart, O God, and give me compassion to love others even when they are difficult to love and not able or willing to show appreciation. Please rid me of the negative feelings I have, and help me know in my heart that this IS your purpose for my life right now.  I want to honor you and my Receiver of Care Lord.  Help me to do that with grace and dignity.


From the Catholic Health Association:

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.
MATTHEW 11:28-30

Accompany them on their journey and ease their anxiety and fears. Surround them with the love and strength of others, so they may experience the healing presence of the communion of saints. We ask this through the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes and in the name of your Son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. AMEN.



If you don’t find what you are looking for here, Amazon has some nice devotional books for Caregivers.  It’s a good idea to start your day out with some sort of devotional to put you into a “God frame of mind”.  I personally read “Jesus Calling” each morning and can usually apply it to my caregiving situation.  I use both the hardcover version and the app version on my phone.  There are many prayer apps available as well.  Let Google be your friend.   God bless you on this journey!  We are praying for you in this caregiving journey!


What Does the Bible Tell Us About Respite Care?

As caregivers who are also Christians, we need to be especially mindful of how we are following God’s will when we take care of the person God entrusted us to care for.  Whether it be a spouse, a parent, a grandparent or other aging relative, a child, or a close friend, we have an important and exhausting job.  What does the bible tell us about respite care?

In Mark 6:30-32: “The apostles returned to Jesus, and told Him all that they had done and taught. And He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.”

Now, if Jesus recognized that the apostles had need for recreation and rest, shouldn’t we as Givers of Care do the same? The apostles obviously experienced stress and strain in taking the challenge of Jesus and going out into the world to spread the “good news” of the Gospel. Upon their return, they needed some “quiet time” to regroup for the next phase of their mission. Therefore, Jesus suggested that they “rest a while.”

Some of us have more need for respite time (“resting a while”) than others — it depends upon the diagnosis and prognosis of the Receiver of Care. Shouldn’t we also “rest a while” to “recharge our batteries” periodically?

The word “respite” (pronounced “res-pit”) may be new to some caregivers — but it shouldn’t be. It means “rest.” And don’t we all need some rest from our caregiving duties? Respite care provides the main caregiver with a temporary break from the daily caregiving activities and responsibilities. Using respite services can support and strengthen the Giver of Care’s abilities to continue taking care of their loved one. If Jesus told His apostles to “rest a while,” knowing that they needed that time to recover from their travels, shouldn’t you and I as Givers of Care also listen to Jesus and “rest a while?”

Respite care services can take many forms. The most common respite care services for caregivers are in-home care and adult day care centers, which are offered through community organizations, agencies, or residential care facilities. You may also be able to have family members, friends, or neighbors provide limited respite care support although these may not have professional training for the services provided.

In-home care services typically offer a range of options including:

  • Companion services typically provide the care-recipient with company and interactions. It may also include various activities.
  • Personal care or home health aide services typically assist with feeding, dressing, toileting, bathing, and exercising.
  • Homemaker or maid services typically provide housekeeping, laundry, shopping, and meal preparation.
  • Skilled care services typically help with medications and related medical requirements.

Adult day care centers typically are staffed locations where the care-recipient can be with others in a safe and caring environment. Skilled staff lead planned activities such as music, games, and art programs. Meals and transportation are often provided. When choosing an adult day care center for your spouse, ask these questions of the staff:

  • What are the hours, fees, and services provided?
  • What types of program activity do you offer?
  • Are clients with dementia separated from other participants or are they included in general activities.
  • Is the staff trained on dementia issues? This is important since many elders in day care centers have some type of dementia problem.
  • What types of healthcare professionals are on staff? How is this staff screened to make sure that they won’t abuse the clients?
  • How are emergency situations addressed?
  • How do you ensure the safety of the clients?
  • Is transportation available?
  • Do you provide snacks and meals?

Finding the right respite service for your Receiver of Care may present significant challenges. For example, your loved one may not like the respite person or the adult day care facility (I have personal experience in these areas). My wife, Carol, who has late-stage Alzheimer’s disease, had personality problems with a number of the respite persons provided by the agencies. In fact, so did I! Regarding the adult day care facility, after two visits, that was the end of it!

So how do you find the right respite care services for your loved one? I would start with these resources:

  • Contact the local association that relates to your spouse’s diagnosis and prognosis. In my case, that was the Alzheimer’s Association. They helped me determine which respite services I needed and provided referrals for my area.
  • Contact the Eldercare Locator to connect with your local Area Agency on Aging or local community service. They can help you to identify local respite care services. Call 1-800-677-1116 or do an internet search for your local agency. In my community we have an agency called SOC (Society for Older Citizens) that provides help with securing respite care.
  • Check with your church or local religious organizations. They often offer respite services, albeit on a limited basis, for community members.
  • Consider asking or hiring a family member, friend, or neighbor to spend time with your spouse while you take a break.

Why should you consider respite care for your loved one — and yourself? Because, as a Giver of Care, you are at a greater health risk than your loved one! Think about it. That’s because by devoting yourself to the needs of your Receiver of Care, you may tend to neglect your own health. You may not recognize or you may ignore the signs of illness, exhaustion, or depression that you are experiencing. But recent studies have proven what family caregiver advocates have known for a long time: providing care to someone that you love — whether full-time, part-time, or long distance — takes a huge toll on caregiver health, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

A whole body of research now demonstrates the correlation between caregiving, stress, and poor health. It is now recognized that the stress and strain of caregiving results in any number of long-term health effects for all family caregivers, including:

  1. Infectious diseases
  2. Depression
  3. Sleep deprivation
  4. Premature aging
  5. Higher mortality (death) rate

These findings mean that the cumulative effects of the stress of caregiving are not laughing matter.

No wonder that Jesus told His apostles to “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.” If that advice is good enough for Jesus and His apostles, shouldn’t it be good enough for you and I as caregivers? I know it is for me! Is it for you?



“Come away by yourselves to a lonely place,

and rest a while.”

Mark 6:31