Hard to Help - Girlfriends in God - July 28, 2016

July 28, 2016
Hard to Help
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

You have not because you do not ask God (James 4:2, NIV).

Friend to Friend

I was behind … tired … and stressed out. I had too many irons in the fire and too many writing deadlines staring me in the face. So when my husband Dan asked if he could do anything to help, I said, “Sure! You can write one of the Girlfriends in God devotions I need to turn in tomorrow.” I didn’t really think he would do it. But he did. And God used it to smack me right between the eyes. I just had to share it with you!

There are so things I absolutely adore about my wife of forty years. She is my best friend, the best mom I have ever known, and the walking definition of the perfect grandmother. She is an amazing writer and mentor and teacher. And she is one of the sweetest people I know. In forty years, I have never seen her be mean – not for one minute.

I can remember thinking in our early years of marriage that there was nothing I would change about this woman that I had managed to marry by catching her in a moment of weakness. But that is no longer the case. Mary has one crack in her armor, just one small imperfection that I must share with you.

She is ridiculously hard to help!

A single mom of seven kids raised Mary and taught her from an early age that “you don’t ever need to depend on anyone else.” And Mary took it to heart. She is very independent and very able to handle more, endure more and accomplish more than anyone I have ever known. She is amazing! But Mary is hard to help – because she wants to do it on her own.

We have all been around two and three year old kids whose favorite line is “I do it myself.” It is the mantra of every preschooler. Don’t they know they have a loving parent who is ready to help? Do they not understand that there is someone who wants to intervene on their behalf?

They are so cute. And so hard to help!

Which brings me back to my wife. She is so cute – and so hard to help. Mary will not ask for help - whether it is carrying the groceries into the house, getting ready for company, fixing something that is broken – it does not matter. Her mantra is “I do it myself.”

The good news is that if that is her only flaw, then I am a blessed man to have her as my wife. And I am!

The bad news is that I am always ready to help if she will just ask – and she often misses out on that help.

Many of us do the same thing in our relationship with God. We are convinced that we can reform our character on our own. So we work at being more patient. We work at being more loving. We try so hard to be kind. When we blow it, we redouble our efforts. We roll up our spiritual sleeves and exert more spiritual elbow grease. We tell ourselves a variety of lies like “I can do this” and “I don’t need any help.”

We have a heavenly Father who stands ready to help us!
We have an advocate in Jesus the Son who stands ready to mediate for us!
And we have the Spirit of God who is waiting to comfort and mold and guide us!
And we say, “No thank you – I do it myself!”

There are dozens of verses in the Bible that haunt me when I realize what they really mean. James 4:2 is one of the simplest but scariest: “You have not because you do not ask God.”


There is help available. Ask God for it.
There is healing available. Ask Jesus, the Great Physician for it.
There is guidance and comfort available. Ask the Holy Spirit for it.
Don’t do it yourself. God is available. Just ask.

Like I said … Dan’s words hit me right between the eyes. He is so right! I tend to rely on my own strength and abilities instead of God’s power. I have spent so much time and energy honing and refining the gifts God gave me … that I tend to rely on those gifts instead of the Giver of those gifts. And that is sin!

I hugged my sweet husband and thanked him for the kind words, the hard words, and for helping me. I promised to ask for his help more often.

I went to my Father and asked Him to forgive me for depending on my own pitiful strength instead of His. He promised to always be there for me.

How about you? Need help? Just ask.

Let’s Pray

Father, I confess that I try to do life on my own. I try to figure things out and change my ways on my own. Please forgive me for my “I do it myself” attitude. Teach me to depend on You. Teach me to trust You and cry out to You. Thank You for wanting to help me.

In Jesus’ Name,


Now It’s Your Turn

  • Do you want to continue in “I do it myself” mode?
  • If not, confess your tendency to be in charge to God.
  • Start asking Him for help!

More from the Girlfriends

Do you need encouragement and help from someone who has been where you are and lived to tell about it? Check out Mary’s new Skype ministry, Friends for the Journey.

Be sure to check out the FREEBIES on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

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Huntersville, NC 28070



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Originally published Thursday, 28 July 2016.