I feel the change, and I know when I should ask for help.
It is slow, which is good, because if it happened all at once we might think we were failing all the things, right Mamas?
I gave up on cloth diapers first. We did them for a year and a half without it being a big deal. Then it was all too hard. So one week I gave myself a break. Then I just stopped.
Then I stopped doing so much laundry. I didn’t ask for help then. I bought three more laundry baskets. We have five now, even though only three people live here. Now, I figure, I can fold out of one and into another and organize the chaos if I haven’t done laundry in a week. It changed my life when I realized I could fold and put away at separate times. I know, shocking.
Then I gave up grocery shopping because hello? Meijer Curbside.
Then I gave up Meijer Curbside because hello? Blue Apron.
That’s when I knew I needed to ask for help…
So I decided to ask for help, like last week. One gal pal came and helped me cook for house church. Someone else came over and cleaned my bathrooms. Seriously. She cleaned my bathrooms and they didn’t even need cleaned all that bad but she did it because she knew it would make my day. I asked my MIL to go shopping to find Tim some new work pants because I just can’t stomach a trip to Kohl’s right now.
What is means to be in community
These requests would have humiliated me two years ago, but now I realize, we so desperately need one another. And sometimes I have to be the one to ask for help first, so that someone else feels free to ask me later.
In our house church, we discussed this aspect of community on Friday night. Giving and receiving. One brother said, “I would rather not ask for help because I don’t want to feel like I owe someone. And so I would rather not enter into that transaction in the first place.” I admitted, “I try to spread out my requests so that I’m not a burden on someone. I think, Who hasn’t watched Titus in a while? when I schedule my doctor appointments, because I don’t want to take advantage of anyone’s kindness to us.”
Then my best friend, who has loved me so well, looked at me and said, “If you asked, maybe Titus would be able to sit on someone else’s lap for awhile. Maybe he would let someone else love him.” Ouch. The truth really convicted me. Titus doesn’t spend time with anyone else enough to have that kind of relationship with them.
I don’t let other people really love me, or maybe I’m incapable of accepting that kind of love, which doesn’t have a score card. I’m inadvertently teaching my son that if anyone really got to know us, they wouldn’t like us anymore. That we are too much. That other people helping is a transaction to be repaid, rather than a grace that can never be. I’m teaching him that no one could truly love him that way.
Because maybe I don’t believe anybody could ever really love me that way.
The truth? Jesus loves me that way. I can never pay him back for what he did for me. And he doesn’t expect me to.
BOOM. And the second I accept that is the second I can let other people love me that way too, without a score card and without balance. And I can help and love others with that freedom and joy too.
So what, pray tell, have I been doing in light of all this giving up? A whole lot more that matters.
- Building blocks and squeezing play doh with Titus.
- Crawling up in my chair and reading God’s Word, just to be with Him!
- Volunteering to watch my friends kiddos.
- Working on a new project for Dayton Women in the Word- it’s a secret for now but will be revealed next week at our gathering!
- Putting pink lipstick on my lips.
- Reading. (Latest- Ursula Under and None Like HIm).
- Taking Tim lunch at work.
- Watching Chef’s Table on Netflix. (Have you seen it? Seriously you foodies. Do it.)
Big Finish: Resting fully that God’s opinion of me does not depend on how hard I hustle. Not one bit. In as much as Titus’ life gave me an oatmeal heart, Matthias’ life is already giving me a hushed heart, a heart capable of receiving love and giving it in return. The kind that sits in the presence of our Lord and receives all He is offering when He says, “It is finished.” He said the score is over. “I’ve evened it up. We’re good. Sit down and let me love you. Come, crawl on my lap and get to know me.”
I’ve been living like I’m loved.
That same friend? Who told me to let her love us? She has four kids, and she used paper plates while her husband was out of town last week. Yes, I cheered and clapped for her when she told me and I have will have to stow away that trick, too. I get the feeling that moms who understand that Jesus evened up the score aren’t trying to catch up by doing dishes for hours every day.
When we really receive grace, and love, we can give it to ourselves, and we can give it to others. And our kids can have the benefit of that grace, or they can watch us try to catch up with all the ways we think we have to.
For my boys, today, I choose to accept it and give it away.