I recall when my husband was part of a softball league, I took my first son, who was less than 2 months old with me to watch one of his games. It was a beautiful afternoon and we had gotten to the field before my husband (he was coming from work and I was still on maternity leave) and so I had spread a blanket out while we were waiting. One of my husband’s teammates had arrived early and came by to say hello. He sat down and asked, “So how’re you doing?” I answered, “Oh, we went to see the doctor yesterday, and we’re doing well and now we’re learning how to hold our head up….”and my husband’s friend waited till I finished and then looked at me in the eye and said, “No, I mean, how are YOU doing?”. I was so caught off guard that I just stared at him and couldn’t really answer. I think, after what seemed like a lifetime, I mumbled out “Oh, I’m fine” and as he went off to start practicing I was left on the blanket stunned. My life was so filled with the constant care of my baby, the difficulties I had breastfeeding and just the general worries of being a new mother that I didn’t know how I was doing!
In the days that followed, I thought about that question and I realized I was feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, alone, unaccomplished and oh so TIRED!!! There were times I felt like the worst mother in the world because I wanted to just shut the door to my son’s room when I couldn’t get him to stop crying. I just wanted some time to go to the store alone or take a nap without being jarred awake with him needing something else from me. I needed help, but I didn’t want to ask for it because I thought others would think of me as weak or incompetent.
By the time I had my second son, I had started to learn 2 valuable lessons. Despite what others might think or my own pride, 1) I learned to ask for help and 2) I allowed other people to help me. When we would go to a gathering or to church and someone asked to hold the baby, off he went! When my Mom offered to come cook for us, out came the welcome mat!
I love when I am able to offer my help to someone who is in need; when I can offer an encouraging word or make their life easier somehow; and I love it when they let me, because it gives me joy. It takes humility to ask for help, but it also takes humility to accept it. Think of it this way: it is actually an act of arrogance denying someone else the pleasure of blessing us with their help. In a way you’re saying, “My help is valuable, but yours is not.”
I know those of you reading this are a blessing to your family and friends, and you enjoy helping others in need. I continue to challenge us to graciously and humbly accept the blessing of others. I also want to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have helped me and my family all these years; you know who you are. You are a gift to me.
Leave a comment; I’d love to hear about your experiences. Have a blessed weekend!
-Tessa L. Charles
-Tessa L. Charles