Introductory Note:

Many in our midst serve as caregivers in their homes or communities. Caregiving is incredibly challenging—whether one enters that role as a chosen vocation, or comes to it by necessity. We share this excerpt from a new resource that is designed to help caregivers receive God’s love so that they can share it “with abandon” as they tend to the needs of another. Hope for Caregivers is a book of 42 daily devotions, combining timeless wisdom from Henri Nouwen with scripture and prayers. To our brothers and sisters who serve as caregivers—we bless you and thank you.

Renovaré Team

Taken from Week 1: The Eyes of Pain”

A word from Henri:

We live in a world that suggests one person is strong and another person is weak, or some people have it together and others do not. And that those who are strong should help the weak. Now that’s not what the gospel is speaking about. It belongs to the center of the gospel that God became vulnerable. That God stripped himself from power. That he didn’t cling to his equality with God, but emptied himself and became a human being like we are. As a follower of Jesus, what I have to offer is first of all my own vulnerability. My own weakness, my own brokenness, my own wounds. My wounds can only be a source of healing for others if I care for my wounds, if I bandage them well with my willingness to create a fellowship of the weak and trust that there God’s healing power will become visible.”

A word from the scripture:

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:5 – 7)

Reflection:

As a caregiver you may feel that you have to be strong for the sake of the one you care for. When Jesus emptied himself of power and became human, as we are, he showed us that our weaknesses and vulnerabilities may be as much a gift of caring as any experience of knowledge and competence. What we expect to see in the caregiving relationship may not be what God means for us to see. Reconsidering the balance of weak and strong may open our eyes.

• In what ways have you felt too weak to be a caregiver?

• How might accepting your own weakness change your relationship with the one you care for?

God who offered vulnerability to a broken world, be the one who bandages wounds in a fellowship of the weak. Amen.


Taken from Hope for Caregivers edited by Susan Martins Miller. Copyright © 2022 by The Henri Nouwen Legacy Trust and Church Health Center of Memphis Inc. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press. www​.ivpress​.com

Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Text First Published August 2022 · Last Featured on Renovare.org June 2022

New Online Course: Living Inside the Lord’s Prayer

Author, teacher, and songwriter Carolyn Arends pulls back the veil of familiarity to throw fresh light on the brilliantly succinct prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray.

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