This past month, and in particular this week, has presented me with a unique opportunity. I have been given the opportunity to be overwhelmed. This week I am a mom-of-five who’s husband is away from home. Now, I won’t pretend to know what it is like to live in a continual cycle of having a husband alternating between home and away for weeks at a time. Let’s avoid all comparisons here. I’ve fallen into that troubling trap more times than I’d like to admit, and these comparisons do nothing to help any of us.
I have no desire to compare my situation to yours because we all have our struggles and our strengths; our champions and our challengers. We each have our own journey, and our own unique way we walk that out. The purpose of this post is not to appear heroic (HOW did she manage without her husband), or antagonistic (WHY does she think that’s such a big deal), but simply to share a little piece of my life. I want to share with you my gratitude.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to be overwhelmed. These past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity at home, at church, and at ringette; culminating with my darling husband going to Moose Jaw for 6 days to attend an estimation course. So many times in October I felt pent up, frustrated, inadequate, incapable…overwhelmed. Adding to the pressure I felt from within myself was the knowledge that we were approaching a time when I would have to hold down the fort all by myself. “Oh man,” I thought, “I am in deep”.
Last Tuesday, I finally allowed myself to break a little. I had a nice long moment alone in the shower where I asked God to help me get in touch of what was going on inside, to put a name to all the feelings I was battling. How on earth could I overcome these feelings if I didn’t know their real names, or where they were coming from? When I allowed myself to be humble, to ask Him for help, He met me in such a real and tangible way. He revealed to me what I was truly struggling with, and I again realized His grace is sufficient. The experience is still too fresh and raw for me to name all the things that came out of it in such a public way, but I can tell you God met me there.
I’ve known Jesus for 5 years now, and I still get caught up in trying to do things the old way. I try and be strong, to figure it all out and do it all myself. But you know, there is something amazing that can happen when you are willing to say “I am not equal to this task, my abilities are not enough.” Grace. Mercy. Kindness. Only where I know I cannot accomplish something, only where I am able to surrender and call out for help, am I able to receive help. Please don’t assume if you are not a believer that this message is not for you. It is.
Sometimes that call for help is not at all spiritual. The call for help may be as simple as asking a friend to watch the kids for an hour so you can have a moment to yourself. Help could mean calling in the calvary to shuttle your little ones to various events, because you simply cannot be three places at once. In having Dylan away this week I have become acutely aware of how independent I can still be. I used to see this as a strength, but I now recognize that it is truly a weakness. We all have a load to carry, but occasionally we all face burdens. Situations that are just too heavy for us to carry alone. It is not strength to try and shoulder it alone, it is folly. It is an opportunity to overextend, and even harm ourselves. For some unknown reason I still feel twinges of guilt, of insecurity (maybe even inadequacy?) when I ask those who love me to help me. It’s as if I think I should be able to manage it alone, or just Dylan and I.
Having Dylan away this week has been an absolute blessing. His absence has forced me to call out for help, with less guilt. I say less guilt because I’m still growing. That battleground is one where I have gained ground, but where I am still not victorious. Perhaps I never will be, but I will soldier on one day at a time.
So I am so thankful for the opportunity to be overwhelmed. It is in that place of insufficiency that the love of God, and the love of my family and friends flowed most freely. I humbled myself enough to let them love me, and out of this love grace has also flowed.
Please don’t be deceived, I had moments where I didn’t handle the pressures as well as I would like, there were moments where I fell short. I even completely forgot about an appointment because I was extended too far. I was far from perfect. In my weaknesses, in my little “failures” I was able to apologize, receive forgiveness, and not hold myself in guilt and shame. There were mistakes, but there was grace, amazing grace.
While I am grateful for the chance to be overcome by the love of God and others, and for the opportunity to receive grace from God and myself; I’m also so very thankful my honey will be home soon! I’ve missed him. Perhaps the most beautiful part of this week is that I’ve missed his presence so much more than I’ve missed his help. It could be that I needed this week to refocus on why he is so valuable in my life; his value is in who he is, not what he does.
Have a blessed and beautiful weekend, and maybe try letting a little love into your own situation and struggles. You may be amazed by just how good it feels!