April 25, 2012

A Little Help From My Friend...

... Jesus.

Last week I read a thought provoking post at my friend, Darcie's blog.  She shared a beautiful picture of the space shuttle getting a lift from a NASA plane.  She used this to illustrate how even the strongest among us need a little lift sometimes.

With some people it is often easy to see when they need help.  And some people have no trouble asking for help.  Some people are the people we can regularly go to for help.  Some people we know we can not count on.  And some people won't ever ask, no matter how much they need it.

In my pre-married years, I got used to relying just on myself.  For that, I am grateful.  I think it has made me a stronger person than I would have been if I had been able to lean on others.  But being a strong person has its down side.  One being people think you never need help because they are accustomed to you being the helper.  Another being it is hard to burden others when you know all that is going on in their lives.  This is not the same as people who are too proud to admit their humanness and ask for help.  What I am speaking of here is desire not to add to the day to day burden of others.

And then there is this.  When I need help, I usually don't know what to ask for.  I am used to knowing what to do, when to do it and how to do it.  If I am going to bother someone for help, I want to have some idea what to ask for.  And when I get to the point of needing help its because I don't know what to do.  An interesting paradox that can be incredibly frustrating when I get to that corner.

All that being said, when I read Darcie's post I thought, "Yes, we all need help.  But for those who struggle with seeking help, we need to observe and seek out the strong ones among us and watch for opportunities to minister to those who seem to not need it."

I read it, pondered it, commented on it and then jumped into a very full weekend and forgot about it.  But it wasn't long before the Lord would use this simple illustration in my life.

As I said, the weekend was a full one.  We have been part of an outreach this month to reach 10,000 homes in our community.  The two hours allotted comes and goes each week long before we finish.  Which is fine.  It is a blessing to be sharing the message with the world.  However, by the time we get back home mid afternoon, our only day for chores and rest and family time is gone.  This Saturday was particularly tiring because we popped back home for an hour or so and then popped back out to celebrate our friend's birthday.  It was nearly 10:30 Saturday night before our kids were even in bed.  Sundays are never restful with two services it is a challenge just to get the family fed and have time to do our family devotions and personal time with the Lord.  This Sunday was no exception and more so since, with Saturday full, we had to get Allen ready to travel.

And then Sunday night was a sleepless night.  That's what happens when my hubby is traveling.  And it happens to be the night before finals.  And it just so happens to be the night before my brother leaves to do mission work in Botswana.  (That's in Africa, in case you didn't know.)  Oh, and that's what happens when you realize, after waking from a nightmare, in the middle of the night, that you made a mistake and it affects the main dish for dinner to 20 or more people that night.  It was a long and painfully sleepless night.

I really wanted to get up with Allen and see him off for his week in Dallas, but I was kind of relieved when he encouraged me to stay in bed and catch up on the missed hours.  I rolled over and curled up under the comforter (it was only 35 degrees here) and contemplated the likelihood of me going to sleep.  Long time readers and real life friends know we have a very small home for ten people and you see every light and hear every sound from just about anywhere on the main floor.  My thoughtful hubby went to the basement bathroom to shave and dress so it would be quiet.

Then there was a knock at the door.

I knew who it was and I also knew Allen couldn't hear the knock from the basement.  But I wasn't dressed so I was not about to open the door to the stranger and our young friend who were due to arrive with Frank.  But it was pouring down rain.  So how could I continue to lie in my nice warm bed while they were on the front porch?  I debated for several minutes wondering how long it would take Allen to get upstairs and why on earth didn't my brother let himself in.  (He has a key and knows the electronic code.)  Frank didn't come in nor did Allen come up.  I considered how to get to Allen so he could get the door, but I have to walk by the front door and big picture window to get to the basement.  I even thought about calling his cell phone but figured it wasn't turned on yet this early in the morning.  Of course,  just as I started digging around in the dark for some clothes, I heard my Allen come upstairs and noticed the light come on down the hall.  Grateful to be spared the indignity of opening the door before putting on my face, I flopped back on the pillows.

Only, he didn't answer the door.  He came back to say goodbye to me.   I pointed out he may want to let his car pool buddies in out of the rain.  He did.  We said goodbye.  I curled up, again.  Except, the third fellow hadn't arrived yet, so the three men stood around the living room chatting about how to fit all the luggage in Allen's car.  *Eye's rolling*  Only a group of men could make it such a big deal, right?  Finally, I conceded there was no way I was going back to sleep and decided to get ready for the day and have my quiet time and maybe some time to study for my test before I got the kids up.  Yeah, right.  I don't know who I was kidding.

No sooner did my feet hit the floor, I heard the baby crying.  She never wakes up before 8 am.  However, Carmella's nursery is right off the living room and I guess the lights and people standing outside her door woke her up.  Mind you, I have not even brushed my teeth but on went the yoga pants and off I went to fetch her.

As the men continued to wait for the last gentlemen who was to ride with them, every one of my kids got out of bed.  Did I mention it was not yet 5:30 in the morning?  I knew for certain it would be a long day.

The girls and I settled down to do our Bible study and Carmella sat on the floor playing.  Now fully awake, I was juggling the problems of the day.

1- Do I cook the meal for class since I confused matters or impose on someone else?  I had no groceries in the house so that would mean a wrench in the entire schedule for the day and I was really thinking my family needed my undivided attention for the day.

2- A four hour family dental appointment on Tuesday and a change of plans for Brianna's Tuesday morning ride had left me with a logistical dilemma to solve.  This would be most easily handled by her going to class on Monday night with me and taking her final then instead of trying to get her to class on Tuesday morning.  (However class swapping is frowned upon and we didn't really want to ask for an exception to the policy if we could find another way around it).

As I sat there debating what to do the rain turned to snow.  Usually, I love snow, but quite frankly, it was a discouraging sight as I thought of the ten boxwoods sitting outside waiting to get in the ground.

Add to that one hour of sleep and it just wasn't a great kick off to Monday morning or a week as a single mom.  If I had been rested, I may have easily arrived at the solutions to both issues and set the kids to work on school since they were milling about.  However, my mind was too foggy to focus and I was feeling more than a little emotional about my hubby being away, again.

I arrived at what seemed like a good solution.  Sunday morning another lady from class had offered help with the meal.  I text her and explained the situation and asked if she could provide the main course.  Her answer made it clear that it would be an intrusion into her day.  For someone who doesn't  like to ask for help in the first place, it was a huge discouragement.  I mean, when you actually ask and someone makes it clear you are imposing.

So then I toyed with calling on the lady who I thought was supposed to provide dinner.  She didn't know because she was out last week and I had failed to notify her.  To complicate matters, I wasn't one hundred percent certain someone else wasn't on the list because I didn't have it with me.  I take full blame for the confusion.  I did not want to burden her at the last minute because she has a lot on her plate right now and I knew she would do it no matter how much of a trouble it was.  And someone else might have been bringing a main dish.   There is another friend who might have known who was signed up but I didn't want to bother her because she would feel responsible for doing it and I didn't want to impose on her.  Do you get the picture?   It is such a struggle debating when it is appropriate to bother someone else and when it is best to suck it up and do it myself.  It was a terrible turmoil for me that morning, even though it should have been a non-issue.

In the meantime, we tripped a breaker and could not get the power back on.  As I was flipping breakers (all of them... none of which worked) and we were trying to track down the correct one, I debated calling on our neighbor for help.  I know he would have come in a breath without thinking twice about it.  But who wants to drag someone out of their nice warm home on a cold raining morning for something so basic I should have been able to do it myself?

And that is where I was.  More confused and frustrated than was really reasonable but unable to do anything about it.  Have you ever been there?

Enter my best friend and helper, Jesus.

Allen sent me a text.

Attached was a picture.

The note said he was sitting on the runway at Dulles and look what he saw.  Normally, that photo would not have meant anything to me.  I would have sent him a message back saying something along the lines of what is it???   But just as the Lord prepared a fish and a gourd for Jonah, He had known this morning was coming. And he had been making preparations for me.


Aha.  I see, El Roi, my LORD who sees.  I see it so clear.  You want to give me a piggy back ride today.


A friend sent me a text and said she was praying for me.

I had a text from my memory verse buddy and let her know my day needed some prayer.

A third friend text me about something else and asked how I was doing and I told her I hadn't had much sleep and had finals that night.  She said she would be praying for me to be clear and focused.


And I had another text from a friend on a different topic who wanted me to know she had me on her heart for prayers that day.

I "suddenly" remembered a roast I had in the freezer.  We popped it in the crock pot.  It was a hit at class and my girls said they thought it was the best crock pot roast we had ever made.

I asked another friend to bring the noodles to go with the meat.

And another friend offered to bring green beans.

We got permission for Brianna to attend the Monday night class.

And we commenced with a day of lessons.

Exams went better than any I have ever taken.

And I didn't get the usual migraine and nausea that follow a sleepless night.

Allen arrived safely.

Frank arrived safely.

And all is was well in my world.

Once I remembered I had a lift.

3 comments :

  1. What a great continuation on that thought. Enjoyed reading this post so much. Glad you got the lift you most certainly needed. So thankful in our need God always sees and provides. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I was also thinking how I am one of those people that struggles asking for help. In my early walk with God, I oftened wondered, if He saw our need, then why didn't He just provide? But even spirtually we have to reach out to God, and ask..ask for help believing. A special thing for sure!

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    Replies
    1. Also, there is the idea that God wants us to ask to show that we trust Him and to show that we are relying on Him.

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