There are certain roles and positions people are in that require a certain amount of grit. A steadfastness that involves many moments of tending to others first, then yourself. I see it in parents, in teachers, in pastors and ministry leaders. It’s in coaches, counselors, military personnel and public service positions. These people are not exempt from life happening to them, just like the people they help when life hits. However, there is, a grace and resolve to help others even when you need help yourself.
It wasn’t until I became an adult myself that I began to see the strength in others I would depend on at times. Working with teachers who deal with divorce, and still have to go to work day after day. Having friends who serve many daily with their own problems that meet them right when they leave work. Now as an adult, that supernatural strength is even more evident.
I was once at a hair salon and noticed the lady doing my hair suddenly stopped, went to the back and cried. She then came back and began doing my hair again. I vividly remember students crying in bathroom stalls, wiping their faces and going about their day. I remember my own mother as a single mom with all the duties that entails, take a cry break in the laundry room.
But, the laundry still has to get done, right?
Hair appointments are still standing….
Tears in the bathroom won’t stop the exam week, right?
My heart goes out to a lot of people who go through this life and seems like time should stand still for them every once in a while. That they’ll get their tears wiped every now and then, or receive a kind smile or respect of time. The reality is, its hard. Its not always easy teaching a class heartbroken. Its not easy preaching a sermon sad. Its not easy defending and rescuing people when you yourself could use some rescuing.If no one else is there, God is. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely people who "help the helpers" and have definitely assisted me in hard times for sure, but God is there and He's omnipresent. Willing and ready to uplift and carry us with every need.
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18
When my Grandmother passed, I found out at a meeting, and 20 minutes before I had to coach at the school I work at. After being in counseling and walking with the Lord for some time, I did the best I could by sitting down at a desk, opened my journal and began to write………
“Today my grandmother passed away. It wasn’t expected. I didn’t really comprehend my mom on the phone.
I am going to take time to process it.
My Aunt called, too. So did my sister…
I pray everyone is around someone.
I pray that everyone prays…
Right now I’m getting ready to do a Basketball game with the girls. Two games then we’re done.
Then I’ll get to go home and be with Jas. I hope it goes quick. Might have to cancel plans because I’m over it. Gotta see how the sibs are doing.”
When I look at these types of situations I’m reminded that there was one person who we can relate to and learn from: Jesus. Jesus suffered greatly but somehow, still had the grace to do both: serve and seek. To serve others, but also seek God for the help that he needed to carry on. In seeking God for help in my personal life, this is some of the practical guidance I’ve learned.
Coinciding with the above story I used, I had to say what I had the capacity for. At the game that day, I couldn’t discipline at the moment. I couldn’t correct and certainly couldn’t yell at anyone. I didn’t want to have normal conversations with people and I had to tell them that. We huddled together before the game and I told them what I was dealing with. Emotions can be an interesting thing. We all have them, and they come out differently with different situations. So, in order for me not to cry mid-sentence talking to a random person, or yell at my team for something really small I had to apply the boundaries I needed and were specific to me.
Its Ok To Take A Day Off
People discuss mental health days a lot, and I was never really the one to take them seriously. However, I knew that during that time of pain I was no good to anyone else; and that also, it would be too much for me to handle. Work could wait. Ministry meetings could wait. Normal interactions and duties could wait. I took three days off in a row once and had no thought in my mind if I should change my decision.
There have been times in my life where all I could do was lay on the floor and listen to worship music. Times where my prayers were a couple minutes long if that. Times when prayer requests were more given than received on my end. All in all, I learned that prayer really does work! I know it does, but sometimes I have sweet reminders that God is really working on my behalf through the avenue of prayer. When I can feel and see the results of prayer in my situations. Sparks of joy, feelings of hope, and times of peace are all results of prayer.
When Jesus was overwhelmed He would always find times to steal away and pray. I think if the Savior of the whole world did that and it helped to give him strength and closeness to the Father, I think we should definitely give it a try. Be encouraged, encourager. Be strong, strong friend. The bible gives us proof that there is always an ever present help when we need Him.
Until Next Time,