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A Caregiver’s Prayer

Today’s Reflection

THE PHONE startled me as I was deeply engrossed in research for a small “for hire” writing project. The deadline loomed, and I was taking advantage of the mornings Bob was away in the nursing center to make good progress on my work. I estimated eight more days to complete the job.

“Mrs. Noonan, this is the social worker at the nursing home. Your husband has decided he is leaving and going home today. He is adamant and doesn’t care what anyone thinks. No one has been able to convince him he needs two to three more weeks of therapy. He has declared he is leaving even though it is A.M.A. [against medical advice].”

My first reaction was to deny this was happening. Following the wave of shock, I felt an outburst of anger. I am not a skilled nurse, and Bob needs one around the clock. He is so weak he can’t even get to the bathroom by himself. How would I manage? I was being treated for a compression fracture in my lower back from pushing him in a wheelchair up an incline. I had strict instructions not to lift or do even slightly strenuous activity. …

O dear Lord, what am I going to do now?

It had been years since I felt such intense anger. …

I fell to my knees and cried out, “O Lord, how long? You know my strength is depleted. I simply can’t do this. How in the world can I take care of him? How will I finish my project? I am so angry. O God, please.”

Bob had his way; he came home. Somehow, with God’s help, I managed to get through each new day. By staying up late at night, I even turned the project in on time.


O Lord, I am so angry and tired. Hear my cries: How long? How can I do this? … Really, God, don’t you think this is enough already? Amen.

– Nell E. Noonan
The Struggles of Caregiving

From pages 20-21 of The Struggles of Caregiving: 28 Days of Prayer by Nell E. Noonan. Copyright © 2011 by Nell E. Noonan. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.

Today’s Question

Do you know someone who is a caregiver? Pray for her or him today. Share your thoughts.

Today’s Scripture

17:22 Thus says the Lord GOD: I myself will take a sprig from the lofty top of a cedar; I will set it out. I will break off a tender one from the topmost of its young twigs; I myself will plant it on a high and lofty mountain.
Ezekiel 17:22, NRSV

This Week: pray for weary caregivers. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room Living Prayer Center or share it in the comment section below.

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This week we remember Anthony of Padua (June 13).

Lectionary Readings

(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)

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{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Betsy June 11, 2012, 7:20 am

    Nell, I have so been in your position. I cared for my ill mother for 4 years, both in assisted care facilities and later in an advanced nursing home. Even though I had skilled professionals to help with her day to day care, I bore the emotional burdens of her depression over her lost home, life without my father who had passed away, and her despair over her loss of independence. I pray for all those in our age group who care for older loved ones (spouses, parents, etc). May they all gather strength in the gifts that our Lord has given to them, and may they know the grace that comes with connecting with another in their time of need. Thank you for such an honest reflection on the plight of the caregiver!

  • Debbie June 11, 2012, 7:27 am

    How appropriate to read this devotion this morning. My mother moved in with me last summer due to rheumatoid arthritis and congestive heart failure. Everything was fine until February when she mixed up some of her meds by accident. After that my sister and I have been giving her meds to her daily. She was doing fine until early May when she developed pneumonia. She’s never really recovered and found herself in critical care unit. She came home for a few days where it became clear to us that we cannot give our mother the care she needs right now. After me trying to put her on a bedpan and her falling three times in one day. Now she is back in hospital awaiting a room at a rehab facility. My sister and I are emotionally drained. This has taken a toll on every member of our family, my sister’s teenage daughter has even picked her grandmother off the floor. We are in unchartered waters. We are relying on the Lord and the skilled medical professionals. But as my mother said this week “Oh Jesus I love you so and I know you love us.” We will get through this and be better for it all.

  • Connie June 11, 2012, 9:02 am

    No matter what a caregiver gives, you can never give enough because what the person wants is their life to be as it was before. Good health, independence, etc. The care and attention you give is always left lacking. This contributes to a feeling of guilt even though you know you are doing all you can do and still keep your own life and health intact so you can continue on.
    Today I pray for my neighbor, Ginny, who carries a heavy load and carries it well. God, give her strength for each day. Her faith is wonderful to see. Be with Nell, Betsy, and Debbie and her sister and show them they have the love of God, who knows all they have done and loves them even more for it.

  • Buzz June 11, 2012, 12:25 pm

    O God,
    I pray for all who do direct care for others.
    Give them patience to attend to others even when tired physically, emotionally and spiritually.
    Give them freedom from trying to understand the rapidly changing emotions of others.
    Surround them in Your loving embrace that they may share Your love with all who are near.
    In Jesus’ name.

  • robert moeller June 11, 2012, 6:45 pm

    I have helped others care for their loved ones and am now helping my sister take care of our Mom. So far it has not been nearly as difficult as many others here have described, I am thankful for that. My sister and I hope that we can care for Mom for the rest of her life. We’re committed. Yes we do have some help now and then but as long as we are able taking care of Mom is our mission.

    Being a caregiver asks for your all, Jesus can give you what you need.

  • Charlotte June 11, 2012, 9:12 pm

    I pray for all Caregivers and those who take care of our loved ones that are in Nursing Homes or Rehab Centers. I especially would like to pray for Grace Bein who will be going to be with the Lord soon. I would like to pray for her family who is taking care of her at home. That there will be peace when family members are around her. She doesn’t need to hear the squabbles at this time.

  • Michael Ulmen June 15, 2012, 3:47 pm

    Sometimes God sends us unpleasant circumstances, things that we tell ourselves that we cannot do, but God wants to show us that, with his help we are capable of doing and develop some self- confidence and pride in the fact that God trusts us with these responsibilities!

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