It was early afternoon, four years ago, when I slid to the kitchen floor sobbing hysterically with an infant in my arms as my 2-year-old stubbornly refused me, yet again. I look back and know that I was at the end of my rope. Yet I never let anyone know, not even my husband. I never reached out for help, stubbornly striving to make it on my own. How might those days have changed if I had let someone in?
Then last autumn, after three horrific days of not being able to sleep, anxiety crashing over me, the pressure of too many commitments, too little joy, I knew I couldn’t do it on my own any longer. It felt like my world was coming apart. My husband must have wondered what happened to his independent, head-strong wife as I lay on the couch knowing I had to pull it together for a workshop in the morning, yet realizing I was too tired to even be able to drive there without putting myself and others at risk.
I clutched the phone and called my mother. As I opened up and told her about the incessant insomnia, something shifted, and I felt lighter sharing my burden. She offered to get up ridiculously early, pick up my sister, and then drive to my house to take me to the workshop. Incredibly, even in that moment of desperate need, my first instinct was to brush away the offer…but this time I had to accept. That’s the amazing thing about asking for help. Others are usually more than happy to give it.
Through that experience and others like it, God has shown me that we are not meant to walk this life on our own. Dependence on others, and on Him, is at the core of His loving plans for us. All we need to do is look at the life of Jesus to see that even though He could have accomplished everything on His own, He chose to work through others. The disciples, the woman at the well, the most unlikely characters, were all instruments of God’s love because Jesus let them into His life. Through that inter-dependence and partnership, He touched lives in powerful ways.
So, when this opportunity to go to Africa presented itself, I knew I had no way to make the funds available in such a short amount of time. I stepped out of my comfort zone, asked for help, and my friends and family responded in amazing ways. I have no words to describe the feeling of gratitude I have knowing that so many want to be part of this journey with me. I am so very humbled that God would use this mission to show me once again that IT IS NOT ABOUT ME. That in accepting help and allowing others in my life, I can experience the most incredible feelings of unity and fellowship.
Not only did I receive enough gifts to get me to Uganda this summer, the generosity far exceeded the cost of the trip. So those extra funds will now be available to support a future mission opportunity and allow the gift to be extended far beyond myself.
I wish I could say that it has become easier for me to ask for help, but it is something I struggle with every day. Just last night I was feeling sorry for myself as I had three things cooking on the stove, Anna was needing attention, and Audrey asked, “why are you so crabby?” I curtly responded that I just had too much to do. She immediately replied, “then why don’t you just ask for help?” I took a deep breath, turned, and did just that. As we all worked together to get dinner ready, I marveled that God, yet again, used a child to remind me of His desire to make ourselves vulnerable, to ask for help, and give it freely, as well.
My your heart be open to dependence on The One who sets us free and those He puts in your life to share your journey.
For those of you who may be interested in an opportunity to share your own journey of dependence on our Heavenly Father and connect with other women, please check out the She Speaks Conference web site. Ann Voskamp also has an opportunity to win a scholarship to attend!