You shall stand up before the gray head
and honor the face of an old man,
and you shall fear your God: I am the LORD.
Leviticus 19:32 (ESV)

Ray and I are blessed to have his father live with us. Almost 94, Ray’s dad is sound in mind, but his dear body is failing in many ways. Unable to stand or walk, he needs help with most daily tasks. God has used this season of caregiving to teach me abundant lessons, and I will be forever grateful that Dad joined our little family here in New Hampshire. In the past year and a half with him, I have learned …

  • Be kind. Dad is a kind person. Whether it’s a visiting nurse, an aide, or one of us caring for him, he’s quick to say thank you and slow to complain. Guess what? People like to take care of him because of his attitude. If I am ever the one who needs full care, I hope and pray that I will be kind and pleasant like he is. So, I am practicing up on kindness!
  • Life is short. Savor each day. Dad doesn’t take his days for granted at this stage in his life. He treats each one as the treasure it is. Whether it’s savoring that first cup of coffee in the morning or watching leaves turn green, then gold in the autumn … Dad notices and comments. Because of him, I’m noticing and commenting more myself.
  • Slow down. Before Dad moved in, I hurriedly ate my breakfast and lunch. Even dinner was a quick affair, done in 20 minutes or less. This is no longer the case. Dad finds it hard to eat fast. A typical lunch or dinner takes at least an hour. When he first moved in, I had a choice. Would I eat until I was done and leave him to eat alone? Or would I slow down and give him the courtesy of company while he ate? We do eat breakfast separately, but lunch and dinner are now … long. After a few months of squirming on the inside at this snail’s pace, I settled into a new habit of eating slowly, digesting, and commenting on life at the table. I like it.
  • Plan ahead. With Dad, there’s no “just going out” anymore. First, I need to change his oxygen to the portable tank, then affix the footrest to his wheelchair, gather various pieces of paraphernalia, and transport him into the wheelchair van. This means my days require planning ahead and not just diving in willy-nilly. It turns out that having a plan is actually less stressful than the chaos that often ensues with last minute decisions.
  • It’s not about me. Of course, in theory, I’ve known this since I was about two years old whether I liked it or not. In practice, I’ll admit, I’ve had times when I’ve been able to arrange life to suit me pretty well. This is not one of those times—and it’s been good. Having to think about how another human being feels, having to anticipate his needs, having to put his comfort ahead of my own is actually a good thing. Caring for others brings more joy than a self-focused lifestyle ever could. We tend to grow too fussy when we have only ourselves to worry about and pamper.
  • Say Yes to help. Ray and I haven’t often asked for help, but when it’s offered in the form of a meal or a time away, we say “yes.” We are also blessed that income from the sale of Dad’s home covers aides who help in the morning. How easily we might think that we are the “only ones” who could care for him and wear ourselves out. We’ve learned that we are not indispensable, and we cannot do it all alone.
  • God sustains. The very nature of caregiving is tiring. Whether you are caring for a child or an aging parent, the constancy of the care can grow wearisome. How deeply we need to seek God and rely on His strength when our own is depleted. Daily quiet times, reading His Word, remembering how He constantly cares for us … sustain us. Days away from caregiving, listening to God’s voice through song and book and quiet … restore us. We could not do this with glad hearts without allowing the love of God to be poured into us and then out again through us. God has helped and held us, and we trust that He will continue to do so as long as we are blessed to “do life” with Dad in our home.

You are loved,

Sweet Selah Ministries



To encourage a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth that stillness and knowing God matter most—
and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)


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