Today's daily devotion

A Caregiver’s First Commandment

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.—JOSHUA 1:9 [NIV]

“I found a penny in the street—roughed up, beaten and defaced. I picked it up and kept it, for there’s still value here. As I dropped it in my pocket, I thought: There’s my life, too. Roughed up, beaten and defaced . . . yet God still is the center of my soul.”

This excerpt is from my journal dated October 1998, a year after my wife, Martha, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 50. When hit with this troubling news, I feared that my experience and skills were too shallow for what lay ahead. Desperate, I searched for answers—medical, physical, emotional, mental, relational and spiritual.

Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk and author, says: “He who attempts to act and do things for others . . . without deepening his own self-understanding . . . and capacity to love, will not have anything to give others.”

Over the course of my volatile 17-year odyssey with Martha, I finally learned this: If I was going to care for my loved one with empathy and love, then I must care for myself.

I call this the “Caregiver’s First Commandment,” and I try my best to follow it.

Dear Father, thank you for teaching me to care for myself as I also care for my loved one.

Adapted from
Join Guideposts

Share this story

Daily devotion calendar


Popular Books from our Library

Learn how we help
More Devotions

Though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.—Psalm 37:24 (ESV)

A woman prays at sunrise

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38–39 (NIV)

Donate to change a life together
Scroll to Top