Almost twenty seven years ago, I had the crazy idea to drive about six hours from Myrtle Beach, SC to Valdosta, GA to visit with some friends. What’s so crazy about that you may wonder? I was about seven months pregnant with a two year old in tow. I drove alone, because my husband had been deployed to Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War.
For about two weeks before Les left to fly across the Atlantic to Moron, Spain and then to Saudi Arabia, we had no idea which day he was to leave. We talked a lot. We cried and prayed. We hoped he would be back by November for the birth of our second son. (He returned in March of the following year. Our second son was about 4 months old when he met his dad for the first time.)
I remember one thing he asked me to do before he left:
Ask for help.
What a crazy thing to say, but he knew me well. He knew, I was stubborn and didn’t like to ask others for help. So, I promised him that I would. After the crazy idea of driving by myself with a two year old to see our friends, I began asking for help. My emotions were out of control, and I couldn’t keep up with our daily life. I found a counselor to help with my emotions. I asked my mom if she could come for a month or so to support me with our oldest son, and she actually ended up staying for about five out of the seven months that Les was gone. It was one of the hardest season’s of our life, but asking for help became easier each time.
A strange thing happened, as I allowed myself to be vulnerable by reaching out to others, my self-confidence grew. Before the war, I relied on Les quite a bit to do things for me. (Maybe that’s why he told me to ask for help.) I learned to ask for help, but I also learned to take care of myself in new ways. Things I relied on Les to do in our daily life became points of honor for me. It sounds silly, but I learned that I could rely on God, myself and others in reasonable proportions. Before Les went away, I spent a lot of energy depending solely on him.
It was a growing time, and although we both still get emotional when we recall those days, I’m thankful for the crazy lesson of learning to ask for help.
When was the last time you asked for help? Was it hard? Was it easy? Why?
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from? (Psalm 121:1 NIV)
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