Wednesday, July 22, 2015

when the helper needs help

I am a helper by nature.  Always have been.  My parents were the first of their friends to have a baby, and as each child was born, I took it upon myself to be their "mini-mom".  I've volunteered to serve and help since before I can remember and in many different ways.  I'm a teacher; I help for a living.  I love to cook and love taking meals to people. The older I've gotten, I've realized that, in many ways, that's how I show my people I love them:  I see a need, and I fill it. Love is a verb, and I strive to love in action.  In my heart and mind, that means meeting the needs of people where they are. 

Just over 48 hours ago, I had my gallbladder removed.  And the helper became the helpless.  This is my first surgery, and I have to be honest:  I'm not exactly a model patient.  I've had a lot of pain, especially at night, in spite of following the doctor's orders to the letter.  But some of the pain has been in my heart:  I hate needing so much help.  Like really hate it.  Because of my currently limited mobility and because of medications I'm on, I'm not able to be left alone.  I love having my people here, that's the best, but I hate feeling so useless. From waking my husband in the night to help me sit up, to depending on my mom to help me shower, I'm just pretty dependent right now.  Last night, between the physical pain and hating needing help, I cried and cried.  My heart was just sad. 

In the midst of my tears, I felt in my heart:  independence is not a fruit of the Spirit.  Independence is not what my Savior desires for or expects of me.  In fact, He wants me to depend on Him completely and only.  The only person who is disappointed and frustrated by my lack of independence is me. And Jesus, in His compassion and grace, has shown up over and over in very real and tangible ways, encouraging me to fight for a soft heart and to find my identity in Who He is and what He has done, not what I can or cannot do. 

He has shown up through some incredible friends, who came from near and far this past Saturday to help us move so I could recover in our new home.  He has shown up in my sweet church family, praying peace over me with such love and sincerity, speaking words of encouragement.  He has shown up in the pastor who married us, who came to the hospital to pray with me before surgery and stayed until I was well in recovery.  He has shown up in the women of my life group, who have been and are providing dinner for Mr. Cook and I nearly every day this week.  He has shown up in my sweet husband, adjusting pillows and helping me do such simple tasks as sitting up with such compassion.  He has shown up in family and friends as they have cleaned my house, brushed my hair, played with my dog, sent pictures to make me laugh, brought flowers, called and texted to check on me, and so much more, and all with such cheerful hearts.  He is present, and He is teaching me to rest:  in His provision, His grace, His great love and compassion, in Who He is.  I am a go-er and a do-er; I do not do "still" very well.  But my Martha heart is learning be be still and know that He is God.  It's amazing the lengths He will go for me- to the cross and to the OR, that I might be still and know. 

Learning to chill out,