The Rewards of Caregiving
Guideposts|June/July 2021
Three family caregivers share their most important spiritual takeaways
KIMBERLY ELKINS

“There are only four kinds of people in the world,” former First Lady Rosalynn Carter has said. “Those who have been caregivers. Those who are currently caregivers. Those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers.” A sobering thought but a reality we’re all likely to confront at some point in our lives. As someone who once cared for a friend with cancer and also briefly needed a caregiver myself after an operation, I thought I had a decent handle on the subject. Then I became the editor of Strength & Grace, our bi-monthly devotional magazine focused on caregiving and found I still had a lot to learn. What has struck me the most are all the ways in which our writers illuminate the journey of caregiving—the stresses and struggles as well as the opportunities for emotional and spiritual growth. I’d never thought of caregiving quite that way before: an opportunity not only to get to know our loved ones better but also to examine our relationships with God and with ourselves.

In the past, whenever I’d considered the possibility of one day becoming a caregiver for one or both of my parents, the truth is I started to panic. But after reading and editing our contributors’ devotions, which are equally pragmatic and inspiring, I’ve found my panic immeasurably lessened. Though our caregivers never sugarcoat the multitude of challenges they face, the moments of unsurpassed poignancy, deepening bonds and— yes—joy help balance the load. Here, three of our writers share their stories and hard-won advice with you.

Norm Stolpe

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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