Inner Strength

Woman on the beach

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being.—EPHESIANS 3:16 (NIV)

My mother-in-law has been fiercely independent her entire life. Raised in rural Georgia at the edge of the Okefenokee Swamp, she shelled peas and butterbeans or picked berries as a child to earn money for her family. For nearly 20 years, until he passed away, she cared for her ill husband. She worked outside the home to support her three children. She cared for the sick, the needy, the downtrodden without complaint for 83 years.

Until she was forced to stop.

Illness took its toll on her, and despite her wishes, she became dependent on her children to provide care for her. She moved in with my husband, John, and me, but Granny missed her independence. Her life became surrounded by a wreath of “Don’ts.” “Don’t pick up that bag.” “Don’t go down the steps unless someone is with you.” “Don’t forget your medicine.”

Each “Don’t” led to countless disagreements with us and pushed her closer to depression. After several months and lots of prayer, Granny began to feel better.

An unlikely sign of this renewed strength involved our household laundry. Granny had always enjoyed doing laundry, and she was delighted when she was finally able to do it on her own again.

This limited freedom has been instrumental in boosting her emotional health. She doesn’t have time to be depressed any more. She’s too busy doing everyone’s wash.

Today's Prayer:

Lord, thank you for little things that keep our spirits strong.

Adapted from Strength & Grace: Daily Devotions for Caregivers, a new publication from Guideposts