Let me tell you about unseen beauty, silent comfort, touchless embraces, solitary support. The rhythm and ever-present beating of the heart of the Body of Christ as it rings in my ears and soothes my soul. Let me tell you how I’ve been healed, transformed, by accepting help from others.
On April 30, 2013, I got some astounding news. Twelve weeks in to my second pregnancy, and there wasn’t just one little nugget growing in my womb, but two. Twins.
Wait. What. Twins?
Suddenly there were double the appointments, double the stuff to buy and borrow and assemble and sort and organize. It all panicked me just a little. I was filled with fear and excitement for this new season, but kinda mostly fear. Fear that everyone would wish me well and ask to see pictures, but I would drown alone under piles of laundry and diapers and dishes and tears.
Then, one by one they came. With unseen beauty, silent comfort, touchless embraces, solitary support.
No one ever saw the gorgeous mama who brought me a basket of love. The breathtaking woman who showed up on my doorstep, a gift basket on her hip, over flowing with all my favorite delights. Who fed my toddler and changed his diaper and put him to bed because I wasn’t allowed to carry him and change him and cuddle him in my extra -impregnated state. Who fed my soul that day with her secret beautiful service, and who will forever be one of the most stunning souls I ever lay eyes on for her act of unpublicized love.
No one ever heard the words of comfort written to me, scrawled on scraps of yellow paper, read through tears, in between night feedings to combat the heart-crushing, mind-numbing screeching of two wailing babes. The words of peace and support and encouragement sent from afar. No ear heard the prayers shared and prayed via text and Facebook message. Prayers for sleep and sanity and strength. Prayers that etched into my heart and soul words of warmth and healing and comfort.
No one observed the touchless embrace, the deep wrapping around of those who showed up in whatever way or time or place they could. With Chili Pie and Tortilla Pie and Chicken Pot Pie and Pumpkin Pie (so many amazing pies) as far as the eye could see. Each bite of each delicious delight a slice of home, a filling of my stomach and soul, a hug from the inside out, sprinkled with love and prayer and blessing and well-wishing. Closing my eyes with each chew with each swallow with each bite, knowing in my marrow that I was being fed by the Body of Christ and growing closer to my brothers and sisters then I ever could have imagined.
No one will ever know how surrounded and accepted and cared for I have felt in the acceptance of these gifts and so many more. By allowing a sweet friend to bring me groceries. Another to stop by Starbucks. Another to pick up remedies for my post-partum ailments. Another to take my son to Bible Study while I slept and nursed my newborns. To do dishes and fold laundry and clean messes and stock the fridge. To be so raw and open and vulnerable in my inability to juggle it all. To share these needs, to show my mess, to appear haggard and war-weary in my pajamas at all hours of the day as I accepted their help with open, soften, unclenched hands. To be filled and rejuvenated and strengthened through these beautiful, generous gifts.
But even more than that.
In my accepting, we were unified together as family members giving and accepting from one another. By allowing them to love me, I blessed them as well, with the opportunity to serve, to bless, to love, to be Christ, to live as Christ. I provided a receptacle for His love, for my brothers and sisters to be filled by Him and pour out as He did, to give to me as they have received. I have grown closer to Him and them through this outpouring and so very, very grateful for each and every drop of it. And my brothers and sisters have grown closer to Him, more like Him, through my acceptance of their service.
There is beauty in this amazing exchange, in the music and rhythm of giving and receiving help. It’s a symphony conceived by our Lord. I see it in the Creation Story. Adam wasn't alone for long. God saw he needed a suitable helper, and ever since that fateful day, God has told story after story of helpers and accepters of help. Married couples, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, brothers, sisters, friends, His Son, His disciples, all His children.
I have experienced this year just how powerfully this giving and receiving binds us together like nothing else in life, and when we deny others the opportunity to help us, we may just be (however inadvertently) destroying a great transformative and unifying work in our souls and theirs. Turning our backs on the union God had meant not just for husband and wife as helpers to one another, but for all mankind, as helpers and receivers of help, each and every one.
I want to teach and live these lessons for my children. Teaching them to serve, but also how to graciously accept help from others. So that they too might join in God’s great work by meeting needs and helping friends and accepting help in turn. We’ll start small, helping in small ways, asking and accepting help in even the tiniest things. Slowing building the muscles of humble service and humble acceptance of help. I hope that one day these muscles will grow into such strength that they won’t flinch at the weight of shouldering heavy burdens with their brothers and sisters, but also that they will be so accustomed to humbly asking and accepting help that they won’t struggle and buckle under the weight of their own burdens, feeling the need to shoulder them alone.
Having received this kind of unifying love and service, I am forever changed. Forever dedicated and motivated to love others through service in their time of need as well as accepting help in mine.
Marie Osborne is a wife, mama, and blogger who loves Jesus & large non-fat lattes. You can find Marie on her blog encouraging, challenging, and laughing… under a pile of diapers.