Today is the first day in five of being down and out with the FLU that I have felt “mostly” human again. I’ve had a headache that has lasted for days. My body felt like I was the chosen target at the fifth grade dodge ball game, chased after by the come and go fever. I have felt beat up, aching and chilled. It has been years since I have felt like this. And so, of course, I complain to God, “why God? Why now, why am I sick now, when I have already been so ‘needy’ because of my grief. Why, just when I was starting to feel more productive, and more like a human again. Now this.”
“It’s not okay to need this much help!…or at least that is what I have lived the majority of my life believing. It’s not okay to need help. But is this belief that I have long held on to the truth? It is what glorifies God and is it what’s best for me?
I have lived with the belief that I should not be a burden on anyone. And that asking for help is burdensome to others. I should be ABLE; able to handle whatever comes my way, all on my own. And believe me, I wanted to be strong. I wanted to be resilient. I wanted to be courageous, and confident in my own ability to plow through any circumstance, all on my own.
In recent days God exposed the brokenness in this web of thinking. In fact it has become quite a tangled web, of mostly wanting to rely on no one but myself to make things happen. I have believed that through my own grit and sheer intensity I can get where I want to go…all on my own. I struggle to accept help. I struggle to accept help graciously.
But when the FLU hits, on top of grieving, and navigating a call of ministry, STRENGTH looks like accepting help. STRENGTH looks like saying, “I don’t know.” STRENGTH looks like not leaning on my own understanding. STRENGTH looks like trusting God to work out the details. STRENGTH looks like one step at a time, one day at a time.
God, in his goodness and desire to teach me, has situated my life to be in need at some level. I need help in almost every area. I am not saying that he chose for me to be sick, but he is using it for my good, and for his glory. He is using it to expose a deep seated belief that I don’t want to be a burden on anyone and certainly do not want to be in need of help.
In my work, the vision and dream he has planted in my heart, I cannot achieve on my own, it will require the help of many hands, heads and hearts. In my home, I have needed help from my husband to do not only his normal load, but also mine. I have needed friends and colleagues to be patient with me, to put plans on hold, to reschedule, I have needed my kids to bring me a cold rag and rub my back. I have needed sleep. I have needed rest. All of these needs have turned out to be gifts, gifts from God that have given others the opportunity to be a blessing to me.
It occurred to me that if I think I don’t need help, then perhaps there are days I believe I don’t need Jesus? Can that be? The reality is, I have been in need, all along. I am still in need. And each day going forward of my life on this earth, I will continue to be in need of help, and in need of Jesus. Without Him I have no love, acceptance, grace, joy, mercy and comfort. I would be “self-made” without Him, but I would be self-made and empty, void of the goodness that comes with accepting his help, and the help he gives through the hands and hearts of other people.
Psalm 121:1-2 says, “I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Laying in bed with my head pounding and every bone aching, I cried out to heaven and asked the Lord, “where does my help come from?” And His peace like sweet tender embrace flooded my body and a gentle smile shone across my face. “My help comes from the Lord!” I said it aloud. The more I said it, the more peace washed over me. And the help I had been resisting, I was now aware of its blessing. “This was God trying to love on me,” I thought.
Help from the Lord may look like my husband letting me sleep in and to get some extra rest. Help from the Lord looks like a business introduction at just the right time. Help from the Lord looks like friends delivering meals. Help from the Lord looks like a card of sweet encouragement, a text message from a friend letting me know they are praying. Help from the Lord comes in many shapes and sizes, it comes in many forms and fashions.
But the key is, if I don’t stop and fix my eyes on the Lord, from whom my help comes from, I will miss it. I first have to recognize and be content with the fact that I need help. If I don’t I will miss out on the beauty of the help, and willingly accepting help is accepting a loving gift from my Heavenly Father.
So, I ask you today, do you struggle with this same notion about help? Do you struggle to accept the help of others? Do you fight against the belief that you may need help? Do you know where your help comes from? Are you willing to accept help and allow God the opportunity to show you that he loves you through the hands and hearts of people? Can you let God love on you by accepting help from others?
If you find yourself in a season of needing help, don’t miss out on the gift of help that God has for you. If I can give you any encouragement today it would be this, accept the help. Embrace those who are willing to help. Be enlivened by the helpers. Don’t miss out on the help, because God is trying to love you and show you another picture of himself through people around you.
If you find yourself today as the one who is in the position of helper, being the hands and heart for God to others, would you also consider that you are the answer to prayer that someone has prayed? Would you consider that you are being the hands and feet of God and putting his love and care on display? Would you allow him to be glorified through your actions of service? Would you continue to serve even when your serving isn’t always well received by those like me who have a hard time accepting your help? We need you, we just may not see it yet, but don’t give up on us!
Thank you Stephanie for this , I grew up that you never asked for help even when you were sick or told anyone my secrets.
We have been going through a lot of grief with a daughter in a divorce with a grandson stuck in the middle (that has been going on for 18 months, finally divorce with a grandson still stuck with being with a alcoholic father sometime from the court system). Then found out my son left his family with 4 kids–left because he was forced out by a raging wife who has pitted the children against him.
Yes , I have been asking for prayer with my church group and going to Al-anon for support. I could not have gotten this for without Jesus and these caring and trust worthy friends and listening friends.
I sent this on to my husband and he sent it onto a friend and my daughter loved it, too!
Thank you God for bringing Stephanie into my life at the conference last fall.
Hi Caryn, I am so sorry to hear of the news with your family. Jesus really is the only way we can walk through difficult days. We are so blessed to be able to call him Lord and Savior. We are blessed to be his children. Thank you for sharing this word of hope with your family and friends. I pray God is glorified. And you are so sweet for your kind comments. Praying that your family is restored, day by day, and that you can find peace in the middle of the storm around you.