Last week I made a trip to one of my favorite stores, IKEA. We go about once a year or so, and had made a trip, a twenty-minute drive, the week before. But I had a rug to exchange and wanted to go without my son, who quickly had become bored. It was my first trip down “south” on the freeway with my new car and I was feeling confident. I could easily see my car’s blind spot with the special mirrors and I felt free!
As I went to look at lampshades, however, I backed up by a pallet on the ground and flailed in the air in slow motion before falling down on it. I had to sit there about five minutes before someone noticed me. I asked the woman if her husband could help me up. I told him where to grasp my arm, and I said, “I will count, 1, 2, 3 and pull on 3 no matter how much pain I seem to be in.” He was glad to help and I told him he would have a good story to tell later as he and his wife walked away.
I limped through the rest of the store, determined to not let the pain ruin my trip and I left with a rolled up rug that was 6 feet long. As I got to the parking lot a young man approached me and asked if I needed help. As he sat the seat down to fit the rug through the car, I realized he was not an employee. “Ma’am,” he said, “I believe in working for every dime I earn. It goes for food and clothes and my mama. I don’t drink or do no drugs or nothin'” I handed him the smallest bill I had, a generous amount, and he was pleasantly surprised.
I said, “I have rheumatoid arthritis and I had no idea how I was going to get that into the car, but I am stubborn and I figured God would work it out and He sent me you.” He smiled and said, “It is refreshing to hear a woman say she is stubborn.” I have prayed for him more than once since then, as he continues to be on my mind.
The scripture above tells us to be strong, for our work will be rewarded. But sometimes we are strong by admitting just how weak we really are. We need help. Rather than worrying about how I would get through the store and get my purchases into the car, I assumed God would send me the help I needed. But I certainly didn’t predict it would be to help me up off the floor!
I hope that this little outing was rewarding–not because I got my rug (which I do love!), but because I was able to tell three people that God has sent them specifically to me that day in my time of need. And it was quite obvious that I needed them! Don’t be afraid to allow your weaknesses to show; allowing someone to help you may bless them more than you ever could through your strengths.
Prayer: Lord, so often I don’t want to ask for help. “I should be able to do that” I tell myself. Or “If I am able to do such and such, I can’t ask for help on that other task. What would people think?” Allow me to practice asking for help so that You can shine through the cracks in my life.
About the author:
Lisa Copen is the founder of Rest Ministries and she lives in San Diego with her husband and son. She is gradually learning how to balance motherhood, family, illness, and ministry, but she still knows it will be a lifetime lesson. You can see the books she has written, including, Why Can’t I Make People Understand? at the Rest Ministries shop.
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Do you have a difficult time asking for help when living with our chronic, maybe invisible, illness? How may others be blessed by you admitting you sometimes need help? hint: Sometimes it is easier to practice first on someone you don’t know!