Spiritual Care for the Caregiver

By Dr. Julie Welborn

Self-care has increased in popularity, and for good reason, but we oftentimes forget that spiritual care is just as critical to maintaining as a caregiver. In addition to serving in Retreat ministry, I am also caring for my 91-year-old mother whom I am blessed to still have with me. I view this time in my life as a season of grace, and a chance to show my mother the same care that she has shown me all of my life. 

There is healing in surrendering and allowing God to give you peace of mind.  In the same way that you take care of your body and your mental health, the same focus should be given to Spiritual health and remaining close to God.  What does Spiritual Care look like? Here are some ways that you can enhance your spiritual care routine and strengthen your walk with God. 

Commit to Daily Prayer and Meditation

Remaining in fellowship with God is the center of spiritual care. Whether it is in the morning when you wake up, or at night, speak with God daily. Caregiving comes with very human feelings that include, frustration and anger, which you are very much allowed to feel. While it is ok to acknowledge your feelings, we cannot allow them to control our actions. We must continue to set our hearts and minds on things above and allow the Spirit to control the flesh. In order to maintain an attitude of grace and understanding, we must remain connected spiritually with God. 

Use this time to be very honest with God. Tell God you are feeling angry, bitter, stressed, or overwhelmed. Then ask for peace for the things that you cannot control in addition to wisdom and guidance. You can also use this time to journal, release your thoughts and meditate. Setting this time aside daily will make you feel renewed and ready to deal with life’s challenges. 

I recommend finding and memorizing an anchor scripture during this time of prayer. My favorite is Isaiah 26:3 (NLV): You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. When any person, situation, or circumstance tries to destroy my peace, this is what I fall back on. Think about what that verse is for you. 

Lean on Community and Fellowship

I ran a 3-day retreat for caregivers and saw God work through these women and heal them from the inside out. There was so much healing in simply being together and creating a safe space where we shared our experiences. This retreat created so many bonds and friendships that are still present today. 

Being a part of a community, whether it is a church, a bible study group, or a social circle can provide you with a solid foundation of support. You need people to vent to, who truly understand what you are going through, and to give you perspective. But this cannot just be anyone! It is important to be intentional about who your people are in this season of your life. When pouring into your spiritual care, God will make clear who is for you. 

Having Spiritual Accountability Partners

Who are you mentoring and who is mentoring you? Spiritual care is being as much of a blessing to someone as they are to you. When seeking an accountability partner, choose someone you can be vulnerable with without being judged, but also a person who will hold you accountable.  Accountability is a difficult process!  When Nathan held David accountable for his sins in the Scripture the conversation was tough, but needed, and ultimately resulted in David repenting to God. Sometimes we may not see where we are wrong. But having that person in our lives that serves as a voice of correction will help us to be our best.

Prayer and Fasting

The biblical roots for fasting are about putting yourself in a position to clearly hear God and gives us a clean heart, mind, and spirit. As caregivers, we can find ourselves in situations where we need to rely on God’s wisdom to make difficult decisions. In this humble and decreased state, we can truly hear when God is speaking. Fasting can be done in many ways and does not need to entail complete deprivation. You can choose to give up sugar or television, or your favorite food. The point is to sacrifice so that you can remain in close fellowship with God. 

Caregiving is about giving your best to someone who needs your support. The best way to do that is to consistently assure that we are aligned spiritually with God’s plan for our lives. Some of us, even as Christians, may feel that we have fallen far off from our walk with God. But it is never too late. Start by simply spending more time with God, and less worrying, and watch God transform your life!

1 Comment

  1. Dana

    Your thoughts on being honest about what you are going through as a caregiver (especially the ugly stuff), as well as your words on accountability are spot on. I find that complete honesty about where I have fallen short leads me to a humility that makes me a kinder, more patient caregiver. Of course, it’s not a one and done situation. I fall short often, but I get up just as often to try again. Thanks, Dr. Welborn.

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