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Friday, July 13, 2018

If Grace is an Ocean ... But Oh, to Walk a Mile in His Shoes

God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain. ~C.S. Lewis

Without stain? I’m hoping that the “without stain” C.S. Lewis mentioned was the grace of God because I’m pretty stained; I’m flustered with frustration, tired of battling with weeds of anger and impatience. And drops of self-pity have freely escaped down my ruffled caregiver’s cape. Thank God for grace. Like David Crowder says, “If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.”

We, the caregiver, could so easily lose ourselves in a shallow creek of self-pity but it’s not a creek we want to draw water from. We’re looking to swim in a calm, crystal clear infinity pool looking over that blue ocean of grace at sunset.

Yet, if we think we’re having a hard time maybe we should take a closer look at what our loved ones are going through. You know, walk a mile in their shoes.

Just a quick reminder: God equipped us for this journey. Sometimes, however, we forget our tool box. Psalms is my go-to book, my tool box—a ship ready to sail through that ocean of grace. Hang on though, it gets stormy sometimes.

In any case, start there—with the Psalms—and soon you’ll have gathered all the necessary tools. And from where I stand, it’s okay to ask for help along this voyage. Sure we may sink a bit, but we can learn from that. God knows how to rise above the murky waters. Listen for his direction, you’ll get there.

Last week Dad spent 3 days in the hospital. I stayed with him on a not-so-cozy chair sleeper, but I was grateful for that bumpy mattress. Doctors concluded that Dad developed hypertensive urgency. His blood pressure spiked over 200 which gave him stroke-like symptoms.

Our hospital stay gave me time to reflect. I asked the Lord to reveal a little of what Dad is going through so I could pray and give care accordingly—and again to grant me patience and sympathy.

I’ve been afraid to ask for empathy since I’m horrified that God might give me a taste of what Dad is going through. What must it be like to not remember your name, or birthday? How would I handle short term memory loss? Can I manage a life that is nothing but white noise—a blank screen? How can I stay calm when I don’t know the right words to communicate? Why doesn’t my body or brain work? Why do I need help to get up, walk, or bathe? A mile in his shoes is terrifying. He’s learning to be brave, I’m learning not to fear empathy.

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand. ~Isaiah 41:10

Three days later, when the doctor told Dad he was going home in the afternoon he perked up; eyes bright, and a smile that lifted his own spirit. He was able to refresh his face with a warm washcloth, brush his teeth, and comb his hair. At breakfast he prayed this short prayer: “Lord, thank you for life. Let me live only to serve you.”

He would forget he ever prayed such a prayer, but it doesn’t matter. It’s called grace. And for a brief moment he felt its refreshing waves.

Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these. ~George Washington Carver

A Caregiver’s Prayer

Thank you Lord for your grace. Help me to see my loved one through your eyes. Give me empathy. Turn my anger into love, my frustration into Godly patience, my self-pity into strength so that I may give the care my loved one deserves. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. ~Amen.


Come swim in a sea of grace
In the calm of an evening cool
Come dive in an ocean of praise
In tranquil waters of an heavenly pool

You are the one I sent with love
You are the hope sent from above
You are the sails that never fail
You are their happy ending tale

When things get tough
When life is rough
Come swim in grace
With drops of praise

Well done, thy good and faithful servant.
(copyright, 2018 by Deborah L. Alten)


  1. Love this! Just what I needed to hear, I tend to fall into self pity too much lately.

  2. I think we all go there once in a while. I'm so glad this helped a bit.