A piercing cry tears through the quiet night. I groggily open my eyes and see the clock – 3:28 a.m. I go through the motions of making a bottle, only half awake, my body and mind heavy. As I pick up my son to feed him for the third time that night, tears begin slipping down my cheeks. Exhaustion courses through me. But that exhaustion isn’t just from sleep deprivation. Or the extreme level of hormones my body’s trying to wash out of my system. It comes from someone needing you – all the time. It comes from being in constant contact with people, but feeling all alone. It comes from feeling like accepting help shows weakness. It comes from constantly trying to prove to someone – anyone, that I am capable of handling anything thrown my way.
I could probably take you through my life’s story and point out situations and examples of why I became the way I am, but if I did that then I would only feel justified where I should not. Almost every problem in my life comes down to one major flaw. I am filled to the brim with pride. And I cannot accept grace. I cannot accept grace because of my pride. Even the process of deciding to write all this down, for people who know me to read, was a battle with my own pride. It goes against every fiber of me to admit that I had hard nights with my son. To admit that I should have accepted help when it was offered to me, but I didn’t.
I have always felt that if I needed help, or if I am overwhelmed, then I have failed. Yet when I look at others who ask for help, I think they are perfectly justified. They deserve help, where as I do not. I suffer; I make my family suffer, because I have a double standard for me and those around me. I hold myself to an extreme standard of excellence. I feel that if I am not stressed to my breaking point every day, then I am lazy. And all the while I feel like no one can know. That I have to keep a smile on and tell everyone (mainly myself) that “I’ve got this,” that we live in a state of perfection. All these feelings and expectations rob my family and me of happiness and comfort.
So how do I combat this? How do I accept grace? How do I let go of the rules and stress that I have placed on myself? For me it is an everyday choice to lay down my pride and accept gifts from God in the form of help and encouragement from others. Really it all comes down to LIVING this Bible verse:
“And He said unto me, ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 2:9 (KJV)
I am not perfect. I have bad days. I have bad nights. Sometimes I don’t think I can take one more second of crying, one more load of laundry, or one more stinky diaper. Sometimes I need help! And that is okay. In fact it is wonderful! Maybe some days are too much because I need to look around and see all the blessings that God has given me; the people willing to pick me up when I am falling, willing to love me even when I don’t feel lovable, willing to accept me even though I am not superwoman. Accepting help does not mean that I am falling short of what God wants for me. It means that he is daily molding me into what He intends for me to be. And what He intends for me is NOT to be self-sufficient, but whole-heartedly dependent on Him and willing to accept the gifts he offers every day. Truly amazing grace.