Tired. Thirsty. Hot. Swollen.
The words above are just a few of the words I’ve used to describe my state of being over the last couple of weeks. I am currently 34 weeks pregnant and caring for two toddlers, which can make for some really long days.
Recently my husband and I were in need of some alone time so my mom offered to help while we snuck away for the weekend. Leading up to our departure we found that the plans we had carefully crafted were slowly beginning to unravel. Over time we realized that not only did the change in plans mean a little added stress for us, but it meant asking my mom to take on more than we originally had asked of her. Without any hesitation she stepped in and took control of all that needed to be done so that we could enjoy our weekend as planned.
It’s always been hard for me to let go of control and allow others to handle the details. I struggle with this in my relationship with my husband, children, friends, and especially with God. I pray for patience and the ability to let go and trust others; it’s a daily struggle.
The older I get (and the more children I have!) I’m recognizing that sometimes the answer to these prayers come in the form of other people. Sure, God could just snap his fingers and give me patience and make me more trusting of others, but I couldn’t learn the valuable lessons he’s trying to teach me. He could also just fix my problems and allow things to turn out smooth every time – but we all know that isn’t how he works.
Often times God sends people into our lives whose sole purpose is to help us in a time of need or be an ear to listen, but then there are other times he sends people to help us see a bigger picture; a picture that can sometimes be clouded by our own selfish pride.
How often are we aware of these people?
Do we brush off their offers to help?
Do we discount their suggestions because we believe we know better or can do better?
Are we so caught up in our own daily lives that we don’t recognize the purpose we could play in the lives of others, or step in to help people that God is placing in our paths each day?
As I allowed my mom to step in to handle the details so that I could enjoy my weekend and time with my husband something happened to me: one evening as my husband and I were walking to dinner we passed a man on the street that could have used some help. Sadly (and embarrassingly), we walked right past him – not giving it a second thought. Later that evening as I was falling asleep I couldn’t get the man out of my head. I hadn’t thought about him since I passed him, but as I was lying there God kept placing him on my heart. The next morning I woke up and my first thought was of the same man. I prayed that God would open my eyes, that he would help me to use the skills and resources I had to recognize where I could help someone that day.
I was amazed at how many people I became aware of – all because I was less focused on ME: the dad struggling with his stroller, the older woman no one would hold the door for, the homeless man named Jason who just wanted $2 for a taco, the mother on the bench with her son and a sign that read, “kindness matters”.
The truth is we all feel scorched, and often times we compare our circumstances to that of someone else – trying to quantify who has bigger problems in this world. Whether we’re dealing with children who test our patience, trying to find a job after being laid off, a cancer diagnosis or wondering where our next meal will come from – every single one of us is carrying a reminder that we are not in complete control.
Rather than holding on to the reigns so tightly, let go a little and instead of asking, “Lord, why me?” ask “Lord, what are you trying to teach me?” Then, allow those that he brings into your life guide you back to his truth; sometimes those people are meant to help you and sometimes you are meant to help them.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 says,
How often do we allow ourselves to feel as though acceptance of another’s offer to help means we are less than capable or not fully equipped to handle our own problems?
Imagine how much easier our struggles could be if we truly allowed God to help us through his church. And then, imagine how much more fulfilled we would be when our offers to help are welcomed and enjoyed by another.
God never intended for us to go through this life alone; in addition to giving us his spirit, he gave us each other.
As I prepare to welcome another child into our family I’m reminded daily that I am in desperate need of God’s mercy and the graciousness of others, but I’m also reminded of the blessings I’ve been given and the opportunity I have to be of service to others. While this season of life can be trying, it’s certainly not the hardest season I’ve been through (even though my sinful human nature constantly tries to trick me into playing the victim).
Is there an area of your life where you could use the help of others?
Are you in a place where you can be of service to someone else?
Start by asking the Lord to soften your prideful heart and to open your eyes to the specific people he is placing along your path today, and then watch in amazement as he guides you and satisfies your desires in all of your scorched places (Isaiah 58:11).