Learning to Expect Help

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M_ColleenBy Colleen Mitchell@colleenmitch

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? —Psalm 121:1 (NKJV)

Last week, one of the moms we were caring for in our maternity center was released after a very long stay in the hospital following a difficult birth. She had been transferred to a private hospital in the capitol city three hours from here, and we planned to go pick up her up. We arrived only to find out she had already left.

She arrived at our house that afternoon. She was wearing only a hospital gown and carrying nothing. She didn’t know where her clothes had been left or who to ask about them. And she did not expect us to be coming to help her.

This mother has learned to take matters into her own hands and do what needs to be done to survive. She makes her way in the world, tired and heavy and at risk, without the hope of someone coming to help her carry her burden.

She is strong. She is capable. And she is surviving.

But that day, I was so sad thinking of what she had missed by taking it all on herself—the little gift bag of fresh clothes and baby gifts we were going to arrive with, a nice lunch on the ride home, arriving to people waiting to celebrate her health and acknowledge the hard time she had been through, people who wanted to applaud her bravery, care for her, and ease her burden.

There is something brave and beautiful in her ability to survive and make life work all on her own. But there is also something beautiful about receiving help, about being able to hope that someone will care enough to come to your aid.

This precious mother did not have that hope, and I wonder how many of us have forgotten it as well. How many of us are shouldering our burdens and pushing forward, thinking the world doesn’t want or need to know about our problems and our difficulties? How many of us are walking around in a half-dazed state not sure what happened to us, but never asking for help because we figure everyone else is busy with her own life and doesn’t have time to help us find our way?

Truthfully, I was a little sad that day. I wanted to help this mother. I wanted to embrace her and hold her hand as she told her baby goodbye, and help her step in to fresh clothes and bring her home to a place of rest. I was hoping she would let me.

And yet, when it is the other way around, I am so quick to hide my vulnerability and my need, pull myself together and make life work. And I wonder how many times my favorite reply, “I’ve got this” has denied me the gift of help and support that someone wanted to offer me.

And then there’s Jesus. Just waiting for me to call out to Him for help, to let him be my Savior. And how many times do I, instead, take matters into my own hands and figure out a way on my own—ignoring the risks I am taking and the grace I am denying myself in doing so.

We know where our help comes from, yet it seems easier to put our heads down and push through the hard times than to lift our eyes up to the mountains and wait for rescue and rest. It is easier to be capable than to be vulnerable.

But there are gifts waiting for us in outstretched, nail-scarred hands, and there is saving grace running toward us in our need. If we can admit that we need saving, there is a Savior just waiting to rescue us.

What if we stopped making it work and having it together and instead we waited? What if we cried out for help and for rescue and we believed with all our hearts that it would come.

Let’s be brave enough to hope for help. Let’s lift our eyes up and know that it is coming.

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About Colleen:

Colleen Colleen Mitchell is wife to Greg and mother to five amazing sons here on earth and five precious little ones in heaven. She and her husband serve in Costa Rica where they run the St. Francis Emmaus Center, a ministry that welcomes indigenous mothers into their home. She works out what it means to love Jesus and live the Gospel as an adventure at her blog Blessed Are the Feet.

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