My literal home away from home.
I’m there so much, I truly need a vest.
All through the store I could hear this one child.
Wailing and crying.
Clearly we had the same feelings about being at the grocery store.
I was in the last check out lane and was next in line when I heard his screams very closely.
I look over and see a young mom.
Newborn in the carrier, toddler on her hip, and a not much older than a toddler in the buggy.
He was the one who was so upset.
Mom was frustrated as she was trying to console him, throwing a few “shut ups” in there while she was trying to manuever the self checkout lane and holding baby #2.
I kept checking her out. My heart broke for her. I wanted to help her.
I kept feeling the urge to go rescue her but I couldn’t because I had a lady in front of me and a lady behind me.
This youngster was SO distraught, I couldn’t help it anymore. I looked at the register gal and told her, “When it’s my turn, check my stuff out. I’m going to go help her.”
She gave me a confused look but went with it anyway.
I walked up to this complete stranger and said, “Hey, can I help you?”
She was immediately irritated with me.
“Um, no. I’m fine thanks.”
“No, really, I want to help you. I can occupy your son so you can finish. I can help you carry your groceries out.”
“Um, no, no I got it. He just woke up from a nap. I’m fine” (as she’s sliding a roast down her free hip into the buggy)
“Well, um okay. Have a good day.”
And I left.
I don’t like to admit defeat.
But she gave me the major shaft.
I knew she needed help.
I wasn’t doubting her ability. Clearly she could grocery shop with three young kids.
But at this specific moment in the cosmos…the odds were NOT in her favor.
Oh, how I’ve been her.
I’ve been the one with the screaming kid in a public place, praying for the Lord’s return.
I’ve been the one deny help from someone extending a hand and saying, “No, no, no! I got this! Thanks! I’m totally fine!”
Why are we so resistant to 1) admit we need help and 2) accept that help when it comes?
What’s going on in our hearts that we choose to struggle rather than seek help?
I am so guilty of this.
I used to take offers of help as a personal attack on my ability to parent, lead, teach, wife…whatever I was trying to do.
With me, it was a pride thing. I didn’t want anyone to think that I wasn’t capable of opening a door just because I was pushing a stroller while carrying 14 bags of groceries on my arms and a baby strapped to my chest.
Do they give out an award to the person who can do the most crap at the same time and not lose her ever loving mind?
Apparently I thought so.
I have no idea who I was trying to impress.
Or prove myself to.
Maybe you try to impress her too.
She’s in your workplace, or your church, or your small group, or your neighborhood, or your family.
I still catch myself trying to live up to her standards.
She’s the invisible woman I strive to please with a perfectly clean home or perfectly decorated house or perfectly styled wardrobe or perfectly behaved children.
While I’m killing myself with all this striving, I hear the sweet voice of the Lord say, “Sis…that lady is no where around here. She’s not coming over. She’s not evaluating you. She doesn’t exist. Chill out.”
That kingdom permission is a sweet balm to a self inflicted wound.
And it is what I am learning to receive from God as the help only He can give.
The only help I need.
For He is an ever present help in the time of trouble.
Will He step out of Heaven and come down in the middle of Kroger to rescue us?
Not exactly, but He will send someone who will.
We can choose to take up His righteous right hand and receive His help.
The choice again is ours.