Today's daily devotion

The Caretaker vs. the Caregiver

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.—HEBREWS 13:16 [NIV]

“I wish you didn’t always have to drive,” my husband, Lynn, told me wistfully as I drove down a busy four-lane highway in the dark after a family birthday party.

A couple of years ago, I moved from the passenger seat to my permanent place in the driver’s seat when Lynn began suffering the more serious long-term effects of brain cancer, surgeries and radiation.

Moving into a caregiving role is an emotionally complicated adjustment in a marriage. Lynn and I have been slowly rearranging some job descriptions we’ve taken for granted in our more than 50 years together. But his loss of some of those roles and responsibilities chipped away at his self-image and confidence. I wanted to take care of him without making him feel that way, but he didn’t want me to take care of him.

What’s helped us is understanding the difference between being a caregiver versus a caretaker. Caretaking takes something away from a person without regard for how that person feels, while caregiving gives the gift of care to another. That may sound simplistic, but the difference shapes my responses to Lynn’s comments like “I wish I could drive.”

“I understand,” I said that night on our trip home, “but I don’t mind driving and I want to give you freedom from the stress of driving.”

“Thank you,” he said.

Lord, help us adjust to the give and take of new roles in our lives.

Adapted from
Strength & Grace Magazine

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