Years ago, I was on pregnancy bedrest for what seemed like an eternity. The women at my church wanted to provide my family with meals a couple times a week. Being a typical American woman, my response was, “Oh, that is so sweet. But no thanks. We’ll be fine.” Several times a week, I got phone calls from women who wanted to set up a meal ministry for us. “No, we’ll be fine.
After two weeks, I got a call from the matriarch of the church women—and she chewed me out! What she said boiled down to this: God calls us to serve. There isn’t anything we can do for you to make sure your pregnancy has a great outcome, but by God, we can make sure you have food while you’re getting through it. You have absolutely no right to interfere with our right to do what God is calling us to do. So, we’re going to be bringing you meals twice a week, and you’re just going to have to deal with it. Will Tuesday and Thursday be okay for you?
Wow. I felt smacked—and she was absolutely right. Why was it so hard for me to accept food? Women are wonderful at supporting each other. When a girlfriend goes through a breakup, we sit with them through tears and ice cream. When a baby is on the way, we throw a shower. When a woman faces a difficult surgery, her friends surround her with comfort and wisdom. Women make connections with each other. It’s what we do.
We’re great at providing assistance. But we aren’t so great at accepting it. Why? Why do we think we need to be able to do things alone? It’s hard enough to ask for help, but even when it is offered, we find it easier to say “no” than “yes.” Why do we find it so hard to simply accept someone’s heartfelt offer of ministry to us?
As we try to figure out how to navigate and heal our marriages, it is good to think of what will help us be better equipped to do the work and face the challenges. As you prepare to move forward with your own marriage, think of how others can minister to you. Has someone ever said any of these things to you?
- “Let me know if you need a babysitter. I’d love to watch the kids for a couple hours!”
- “Would you like to come to my exercise class with me tonight? I can take a guest in for free.”
- “We went through financial challenges early in our marriage, too. Let me take you out for coffee and I’ll share with you some of the things that worked for us.”
- “Honey, let me get the kids to bed so you can enjoy a relaxing bubble bath.”
What would it take for you to just say, “Yes, thank you”?
Have you heard the lifeboat story, with the man drowning in the river who turns down assistance from people with a rope, a lifeboat, and then a helicopter? He drowns, and when he gets to heaven, he asks why God didn’t save him. He’s told, “I sent a rope, a lifeboat, and a helicopter. What more did you want?” What are the things God is sending in your life right now? Who is God sending to help you?
Let yourself learn to graciously accept the ministry of others. They are the hands God uses to help you and heal you and hold you.
And think for a moment about your husband. He is the man God has placed into your life. When he tries to place his arms around you, or put his hands on yours, or kiss you…yes, he may be doing it for his own reasons, too…but isn’t it possible that he is serving as the arms of God, to meet needs you might not even know you have? Accept the ministry of your husband, as God uses him to heal and hold you.