One of the things God has been teaching me in the past year or so is that He plans for us to live in community. He wants us to need each other. That’s why He calls us His body, collectively, all together. I am not His body. I am a small part of His body.
Now, maybe you all grasped this concept long ago. I tend to be a little slow sometimes. 🙂 But this lesson continues to unfold before me.
I need other people. Wow! And it’s OK. It’s OK that I cannot do everything on my own; it’s OK that I’m not SuperWoman. God designed me to need other people. Just as my arm cannot flop around apart from the rest of my body and accomplish anything, so I cannot cut myself off from the rest of the Body and do anything.
It’s tough for us to admit that we need help. At least, it’s tough for me; though, it is getting easier. God just keeps breaking me. There have been moments in the past year when I’ve lost all pride, when I’ve been completely humbled.
I have mentioned before on this blog about my surgery last January. There I was with no make-up, my hair unwashed, unstyled, my teeth needing brushed, and people were visiting me. I was throwing up right in front of everyone. Goodness! A dad from the soccer field was the anesthesiologist during my surgery (a surgery in which parts of my body that I never display at the soccer field were laid bare for all the OR to see!). See, totally humbling!
And after I came home from the hospital, I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t lift my babies. I couldn’t clean my house. I was dependent on other people to take care of me and my children. If I wanted to hold my two little ones, I had to ask someone to lift them onto my lap. I felt so helpless, so needy. Very humbling.
During the summer, we were trying to sort through all our earthly belongings and prepare our house to sell and do all the normal life-stuff with six children. I asked some friends to help with the children at the beginning of the summer, and they graciously baby-sat. I thought I was making strides in asking for help; but I really thought I ought to just get my act together and try harder and work harder and get more accomplished.
Finally, in August the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart that I needed help and that I had to ask for help. So I stood before our church family and wept and admitted that I am not SuperWoman. And I asked for help. And God moved in their hearts and they responded. Friends from church cooked meals for us and entertained my children and took them out for fun meals at restaurants. Other friends came over and worked under the hot sun to scatter a pile of dirt and to paint the foundation of our house and to pull weeds and to clean out our storage building. Some of them saw our house at its messiest. Some of them peeled wallpaper and painted walls. Some of them saw dirty floors and crayon-stained walls. It was humbling!
As we boxed up our stuff and loaded the moving van, more friends came to help. As our friends helped pack up our stuff . . . as they saw all of our stuff, our messes, the dust-covered junk and clutter I’d shoved under our bed for all these years . . . I felt so vulnerable, so humbled. And the night before our move, we were running out of time, cramming things into boxes, thinking there was no way we were going to get finished in time, when friends stopped by to tell us goodbye. It was a Divine Appointment because they jumped right in and helped. I stood and wept as I thanked them and said, “I don’t know what we would have done without you.” Overwhelmed by emotion, I realized again how much we need each other and how foolish I had ever been to try to be the Lone Ranger.
We arrived last week and 15 people from our new community showed up to help us unload our moving truck. (We moved to serve at a mission organization.) Everything was unloaded in a couple of hours! And for at least 3 days, people fixed meals for us. The other day, a woman offered to take me grocery shopping and show me around. A year ago, I might have told her I had a map and thought I knew the two main drags so I’d be OK. 🙂 Instead, I went shopping with her. I learned a new short-cut and some other helpful tips. I allowed myself to be needy; I allowed her to bless me. A year ago, I would have been worried about the impression we were making on this new community as they touched and carried and saw all our stuff. Instead, I felt relief that God had provided the rest of the Body to help.
Oh, I’m so thankful God does not expect us to do life on our own. Joy fills me up and overflows because I now know that God expects me to be needy. He does not, for one minute, expect that I should pull myself up by my bootstraps and try harder and work smarter and be independent. No, He knows my weakness and my brokenness. He knows all about my messes, my dust-bunnies, my pack-rattedness. He knows my tendency to procrastinate, my bent toward becoming overwhelmed and shutting down. He knows I need to be balanced out by task-oriented, goal-minded, punctual people. And He has plenty of those people in His Body. And I need them. And I know they need me too, for something, somewhere down the line.
I’m so relieved He wants us in community. I could never do this on my own.