when you're the one that needs help...

>> May 22, 2009

As PW's, it seems we often exist only to help others. Meeting their needs, listening to their stories, sharing advice in their context, bringing food to their homes, and so on. And that's all good - after all, it's what we're called to do, right? To serve others selflessly?

But what about when YOU are the one in need? Is it hard for you to accept help when you're so often the one giving it?

The past months have been tough on us for a few reasons - it's the busiest season at church and my husband has had to spend many evenings working late, I'm pregnant and have been quite sick & nauseated for four months, and the week after the baby news his mother was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of leukemia.

Since we've been married, my husband has served as a pastor in four different churches. I've often sent pots of soup or loaves of bread or extra casseroles to members that were sick or grieving.

Until a few weeks ago, no one from our churches has ever done that for us.

At a recent church dinner the subject of my pregnancy came up. I bragged on my PH who has faithfully taken over jobs like cooking and laundry. Since my nausea is most acutely triggered by smells he's had to take control of the entire kitchen.

One woman at the table immediately offered to bring food sometime this week. No offense to her, but I didn't really think it would happen. Lots of people offer to do things, but life often gets in the way of their good intentions. Besides, I'm a PW. I'm used to being the one helping other people - not the other way around.

Two days later, she emailed asking for our address, and to expect her at 6 PM. I was really surprised, and excited (she's a fabulous cook, I already knew that).

She showed up at our door bearing a feast. Scalloped potatoes, roasted butternut squash, seasoned vegetarian chicken, greenbean salad, two kinds of homemade dips with pita and veggie sticks, sliced cucumbers in lemon juice and herbs, lentils, and homemade pumpkin bread for dessert.

Food enough for two days at least - and the PH won't have to lift a finger (except for washing the dishes, of course)!

Her act of service was so kind and undeserved. It really met my love language. I was so overwhelmed with thanks and appreciation that I really didn't know what to say.

How do you react to people serving you? Does it feel weird? Do you need people to notice your needs more than they do?

How can we tactfully but clearly communicate our needs as pastoral families to the congregation?


Indy May 22, 2009 at 2:38 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Indy May 22, 2009 at 2:39 PM  

Wow! That was so sweet...

I think before we can accept help we have to communicate our needs and sometimes that's the challenge for us as PWs. We are constantly trying to meet the needs of those around us that others forget we too have needs (we tend to forget about our own needs, also).

I believe that if we do what God asks us to do, then He will take care of us. He did it with you when he sent over that amazing cook with the feast. I'm sure you enjoyed i and I disagree with one thing, it was probably well-deserved!

Angela May 22, 2009 at 4:43 PM  

It's so refreshing and encouraging to hear a PW speak openly and freely! I find pastoring can be a very alone life as you have to always be watching what you say and do & can't really express your needs! I would love to be able to meet up with other PW's and support each other and speak freely as we do have needs don't we, even though we don't focus on them they are still there.

I hope your pregnancy goes very well and that the nausea soon subsides :) It is well worth it, children really are a blessing!

Please do keep in touch via Blogs, mine is http://kingsdaughters21.blogspot.com/ and thank you so much for your Blog, it is GREAT!

Opal May 22, 2009 at 5:02 PM  

I feel that this post was just for me this week :-). I was struggling with the same thoughts lately. A few weeks ago I had a major sergury and was at home for six weeks convalescing. I don't live near my family, so my dearest PH took on all of the household chores as well as attended to me wholeheartedly. But I could not help feeling sad, becasue of the insensitivity of our congregation. We (my PH and I) have givien unslefishily to our members when they were in need and when they were ill, but when it was our turn the support was so few and far between. But GOD is soooo very faithful just when I was about to think that no one cared he sent a few angels (members) our way, they may never fully understand the depth of my appreciation for them.

I now need to move on and get the negative feelings, for others who showed no love, out of my heart.

Anonymous,  May 22, 2009 at 11:30 PM  

God pressed upon my heart about 5 years ago to start being "real" with people. I began a "real" women's ministry at church to encourage talk about the real issues in our lives.

The fruits of those seeds are being harvested today more than ever.

I deal with depression. Due to my openness about my struggle, people are aware. Recently my depression has started to take over. Yestersday I completely missed my women's bible class that I lead due to the fatigue, sleepiness, forgetfulness of my depression.

The ladies were concerned. Went to my PH's office and asked how they could help. Now we have families praying for us, bringing us meals and caring for our kids.

Yes, I was totally embarrassed... but "when I am weak, then I am strong" and this is how the hands of Christ work in a broken world.

The ministry continues to grow because people know they can be real with each other. They know we will care for each other no matter what. And they feel extremely happy to help me, the one who is often the key leader.

Erin May 24, 2009 at 9:10 PM  

I am so happy that you were so blessed this week!

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