Confessions of a Pathetic Weakling – God’s Grace at the End of my Rope

One day a couple of months ago, if you had walked into my home in the mid-morning, you would have found this scene:

Mom dozing off on the couch, sick and dizzy with some unexplainable bug on top of my morning sickness.

Toddlers breaking into the upstairs bathroom.

Baby woken in the next room by their antics.

Cries.

Mom wakens, and panic strikes. The kids are in the upstairs bathroom??  The baby’s nap interrupted??

I was so dizzy I couldn’t walk up the stairs to deal with the situation.  I crawled up – and rammed into the wall on my way despite my efforts to crawl straight.  In the bathroom, the gleeful toddlers were running around with bath toys and who knows what else in their hands.

“Go downstairs,” I pleaded.

More giggling and running in circles.  They totally ignored me.

And I’m ashamed to say that not sure I’ve ever yelled louder in my life.

screamed at them.  I could barely see straight, I could barely stand without fear I was going to fall, and volume felt like the only way I could possibly touch base with reality enough to connect with the children over the sound of their baby sister crying.

They scampered down the stairs – fortunately not seeming traumatized by Mom’s explosion.  But when I had fetched the baby from the crib, I couldn’t follow them.  My head spun too much.  Pitching headlong to our deaths seemed all too likely.

So I scooted down on my backside, one scary step at a time.

Somehow, I managed to get the kids’ diapers changed and plop them in front of the TV before I collapsed on the couch.  I needed help.  Major help.

After agonized deliberation, I called my friend and neighbor down the street.  “I’m so sorry to bother you, but I think I need help today,” I whispered into the phone, swallowing back the misery in my throat.  “I’m really sick and dizzy.  I can barely even go up and down the stairs.  Can you come over?”

She sounded surprised, but immediately said, “Sure!  I’ll be right over.”

“Thank you,” I choked.  I hung up the phone and wept into my hands.

How pathetic am I?

(Seriously.  A mom who needs help?  What a ridiculous idea.  How unheard of!  What a sad excuse for a human being!  I’m so pathetic that I’m actually a burden on other people.  Disgusting. </end sarcasm>)

My friend arrived shortly – a wonderful blur to my sore eyes – bearing ginger ale, a cheery mood, and her kids and all their homeschool work.

Guilt dragged me down another few feet into despair.  I had disrupted their school day with this!  Was I contagious?  Was she bringing her children into a germ-infested house for me?

She poured me a cup of ginger ale, took the fussy baby off my hands, and encouraged me to go upstairs and take a nap.  I crept up the steps, fell into bed, and sobbed uncontrollably.

As the misery subsided, comfort and wisdom came.

If the situation had been reversed, and someone came to me needing help, would I have been secretly hating her and feeling burdened?  Noooo.  I would have felt excited to help, eager to be there for someone I loved in her time of need.  But here a friend was doing such a thing for me, and I was upstairs crying my little heart out with self-loathing?  That didn’t compute.  I needed help.  Why was I so ashamed to need help?

There are some women who are truly alone, who pull themselves together with God’s help and do what needs to be done.  But I had help!  That is the beauty of the Body of Christ.  I had help right here, in my own neighborhood, from a sister in Jesus.  What would I have proven by pushing on instead of seeking and accepting the help that was available?

We all need help sometimes.  Why am I so reluctant to ask for it?  Why do I see it like a mark of strength to say, “No thank you – I can handle it”?

God knows we all need help.  It’s why He sent His own beloved Son for us!

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. – Matthew 5:3-5

Those who think they are worthy, who don’t feel like they have any need, who are proud?  They are deceived.  I am the one who is so often deceived.  It is those who see their need who are blessed.

“Beware the subtle arrogance of self-sufficiency.” – from “Crown of Fire” by Kathy Tyers

Being at the end of my rope has shown me that I truly can’t do it all.  Sometimes I can’t even do anything.  And that’s okay.

I am slowly, sloooowly learning to accept offers of help: from the stranger at the airport who sees me carrying too much – from the bagger at the grocery store who knows I’ll need assistance getting to my car – from church members eager to aid me in toting kids and bags up to the fellowship hall.  There was a time when I would have smiled and said, “No thank you!  I’ve got it!” to all these helpers.  I was sure I had it all under control.

But for what?  What did I ever prove by saying no to these kinds of offers?

Nothing – except that I’m an arrogant snoot!

I’m not sure why I’ve have such a fear of accepting assistance.  Maybe on some gut level I feel like I need to repay all the help that is given to me.  I tend to carry around a lot of guilt that people help me and I can’t think of something tangible to do in return.  Do I see loving help as some kind of bargain?  You help me, I’ll help you, we’ll be even, and then I won’t feel “inferior” because everything’s fair, right?

God’s help certainly isn’t conditional.  His grace is free, and we are lost without it.

Amid our deepest challenges is when God often brings us to a better understanding of Himself and His love.

I find myself at the end of my rope a lot during this pregnancy, and every time I am reminded that it’s okay when I can’t do it all.  God never expected me to do it all.  Every time I fall short my shortcomings are covered by the blood of His Son.

Sometimes I’m tempted to look on Jesus as a comparison rather than a covering for sin.  C’mon.  Jesus was tired and he still preached to the thousands and healed all the sick that came his way!  You can’t get off the couch?  You’re nauseous and washing the dishes right now would make you sick so you’re going to wait until tonight?  You can’t pop right up and change that diaper immediately – you have to steel yourself first?  What a lousy Christian you make!  JESUS could pull Himself together and do that.  God expects you to be like Him, so quit being a wimp and work, work, work!

NO!

Jesus didn’t come to raise the bar.  He came to lift it off our shoulders, because we could never carry it to begin with.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t bother to try to do hard things. But why is my focus on what I can do for my Savior, rather than what my gracious Savior has done for me?

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs in his arms; He will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.” – Isaiah 40:11

My beautiful friend watched my three children half the day, homeschooled her kids from my house, ordered pizza to feed them all, and washed my entire kitchen full of dirty dishes…possibly saving us from death by dish avalanche.  She was the hands and feet of Christ to me that day – Jesus Christ, who came to help pathetic weaklings like you and me.

(And she didn’t know I was going to blog about her, so…surprise, friend!  I love you so very much.)

*

Do you find yourself ashamed or reluctant to accept help?  Why do you think that is?  Have you ever learned something beautiful at the end of your rope?

Leave a comment

4 Comments

  1. Kessie

     /  November 22, 2014

    Goodness, you were really bad off! I wish I lived closer so I could have helped out, too.

    And you’re right–I’m just as bad about not accepting help. It’s a pride thing, and boy, my life has been harder because of it. But God’s working with me in this area, same as He’s working with you. 🙂

    Reply
  2. Very sweet!
    I remember that day. You also had a bunch of us praying for you too. I’m always so glad for the body of Christ who helps!

    Reply

I love to hear your thoughts!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.