Strength for the Journey

Woman hugging her senior father

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.—PHILIPPIANS 4:13 [NRSV]

“Hold it, please.” I rushed to open the car door for my father when we parked.

Operation “Get Dad to the Barber Safely” required ensuring that I had the car keys in my pocket, purse over my shoulder, walker from the trunk, wheeled and locked in front of Dad, all before he decided to get out of the car on his own. My father suffered from Alzheimer’s, and normally when I walked with him along the hallway of his assisted living facility, I would almost trip over my feet because we were progressing so slowly. But when he wanted to get out of the car, it was another story. I had to perform at an Olympic sprinter’s speed in order to prevent him from falling out of the car. He would forget he needed help to get out, just like he would forget to unbuckle his seat belt.

Some days I wondered if I had the strength. I’d cry to God, “Help me.” This was one of those days.

After we finished our errands and were driving home, Dad said, “Honey. I appreciate all you do for me. I love you.”

His words melted my heart. “Oh Dad, I love you too. I wish I could make things better.” I realized that my role was to serve my dad in whatever capacity he needed. His moment of lucidity was God’s answer to providing me with strength.

Today's Prayer:

Thank you, God, for knowing just what we need in order to have the strength to care for others.

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