“Just go,” my husband said, as he lifted a ketchup and sand covered toddler out of her camp chair with one hand. The other hand held his coffee, and his unshaved face held a rueful smile. It was NOT a good time for me to leave. We both knew that.
It’s odd that accepting help (which my pride hates to do) can be a form of denying myself. Gratitude bloomed and I went to find my running clothes. Going for a run was not what I felt I should do at that moment, but I went.
Care. It’s so hard to drink it in. But with one freed foot in front of the other, I was soon moving to a comfortable gait, reveling in the endless miles of sunshine, wind, and hills. In breathing, thrilling silence.
Summer was upon us. Which for us, means camping. With all of its sunshine, dirty fingernails, mud streaked smiles, late nights, long giggles and chest deep pouty whines that echo off the knotty evergreens all around us. Endless packing and unpacking. Oh and a splatter of stars hanging over darkness so deep you’re not sure where you end and where it starts. How I love these exhausting days.
Because it is love that enables me to push through the exhaustion. This is where love comes into action. It is love that makes the burden bearable and love that moves into the yoke with me as His hands and feet are sharing, helping and carrying with me. Love that supports and comforts. Love that opens my soul to the loveliness in my chaotic days.
Love that looked like my rumpled husband taking over so I could check out. Love that comes in the form of my sister picking me up for an afternoon away from the girls. Love that motivates my friend to send that text that challenges lies I have swallowed and gently shows me the truth.
They are all demonstrations of His love. His hands and His feet. I know. But in the moment, I always, always, want to turn them away. Why?
Because I can do it alone. Or so I think in that moment of choice.
The clutter, the bickering children, the exhaustion. From the moment I wake, my fears quietly whisper, “You’re alone. You’re alone. No one cares. You HAVE to turn this around.” Holding everyone and everything together crushes me like the darkness of my campsite in the middle of the night.
When someone offers help, my gut reaction is, “No! I CAN do this. I HAVE to!” But just like the darkness can’t block the stars, my burdens can’t cover His care. So here I am, speaking the truth in love over the lies I too have swallowed.
The act of receiving often is the denial of self that I am called to do. Denial of my flesh that rises up in indignant pride when help or comfort is offered. Denial of self sufficiency and denial of my tendency to blame the kids, the mess or the schedule, for the gaping needs I miss in my own soul.
Dear friend, we’re standing here, holding it all, in a place we were never called to stand. When we whisper “help” in our unguarded moments, it is God that hears from His throne. And Psalm 18:6 tells me that from His temple, somehow He hears my whisper. And He is coming to answer my call with His hands and feet, that is His body here on earth.
“Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart” (Psalm 97:11). Even now, He’s sowing light for your path because you’ll need it down the road. Preparing the people and truth He’s planning to bring into your life.
Maybe it’s your husband’s hands–voicing your need is an opportunity for him to hear God’s call to protect and provide for the woman he loves and serves with. Does he know what you need?
Maybe it’s a lonely friend that longs for intimacy. For the trust you could give her by being vulnerable with your struggles, and letting her hold you up in prayer like Aaron and Hur held Moses up during the battle with the Amalekites–a battle against the flesh.
Maybe it’s a woman in the local church you admire and would love to pour out your heart to. She longs for it too but lacks the courage to offer her help and prayer. Maybe your need is a chance for His hands to provide in ways you simply didn’t know were there.
Ask them. Ask Him, sister. He’s promised to answer.
The soft peace of knowing that He is close, working and active is enough to look up and smile at the stars. Because it was never the mess or clutter talking. It was Satan and my own catastrophize-everything flesh. It was dark and I didn’t know that my noisy kids or my messy house (or campsite!) was never the problem at all.
I don’t wrestle with the physical things I see, I wrestle with the lies that all moms wrestle with. But I have an Ally, one that steps in, who turns on the light and deeply encourages my soul, often through other people.
“I have been as a portent to many” but you, you my dear Friend “are my strong refuge” (Psalm 71:7).
So here I am, still wiping out toddler rolls. But the lights are on. And my flesh and Satan’s lies are defeated. For now.
Surely, He’s given me everything I need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). Today will be a good day.