Trusting for Grace to Receive

This post first appeared at Soli Deo Gloria, but today, the community at #WholeMama is talking about the word “receive.”  I was immediately reminded of the challenge of graciously receiving help from others, and started my story with a flash back to my days of babies in cloth diapers . . .


They had come to visit and to help, but I couldn’t have been more horrified if the people at my door had been bandits or kidnappers. Number one, I was on the couch. Number two, I had been sick for weeks and the house must have looked like a train wreck. (Fortunately, my memory has blotted out those details.) Number three, Mount Laundry had taken over my living room, because I was going to try to fold some diapers . . . eventually. Number four, I was in my pajamas!

Sick and exceedingly pregnant with my fourth son, I was in need of help, but too stubborn to ask for it. The angels of mercy who arrived at my door on that winter evening over a dozen years ago folded all my laundry (even the diapers!) and left a complete meal to be heated up the next day. Sadly, instead of feeling loved, ministered to, or even relieved, all I could feel was mortified!

I really should have known better.  After all, I had been on the opposite end of that equation countless times, my casserole dishes travelling far and wide to the sick and the discouraged. The truth is that my judgment was clouded by pride, insecurity, and feelings of unworthiness. Somewhere along the way the wrong drumbeat had become my marching companion:

Be the helper, never the helped.

Be the giver, never the receiver.

Be the strong, never the weak.

The writing of Dietrich Bonhoeffer diagnoses my faulty thinking with skill:

“It is not our judgment of the situation which can show us what is wise,

but only the truth of the Word of God.”

Looking to Psalm 121, I experience a much-needed realignment of my warped perspective:

“I lift my eyes to the hills.

From where does my help come?

My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.”

God stands ready to help – not with a promise of a perfect, trouble-free life (or an illness-free pregnancy), but with everyday help to walk through hard times in the way of faith. Slowly, it has begun to dawn on me that it is often His plan to use fellow travelers on the road to provide that help.

So, when I’m feeling scorched and overwhelmed like a traveler too long in the sun, I am learning to take counsel from the pilgrim who wrote Psalm 121. God’s interest in me is unwavering. He calls himself a Guardian (or Keeper) eight times in the psalm, and He does not slumber on His watch. He is the perfect traveling companion.

In addition, like that Jerusalem-bound pilgrim, I would do well to monitor my focus while I’m on the road. When I “lift my eyes to the hills,” am I tempted to “flee like a bird to the mountains” (Psalm 11:1)? Remember, soul, your help comes from the maker of the hills, the maker of heaven and earth.

So, why do I keep catching myself lifting my eyes to . . . the fridge?

Or to the consoling notion of my accomplishments?

Or to the number of likes on my latest social media post?

Taking Bonhoeffer’s advice, once again, the truth of the Word shows me what is wise: my help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth.

  • He is a living help, and I am wise to look to Him before all others sources of comfort.
  • He may choose to send help to me through one of His people, and if I am wise, I will take it!

At times, I still struggle with graciously receiving help from others, but I have learned that those “angels” who showed up at my door to fold my laundry and feed my family had not come because they wanted to catch me being lazy or to make me feel weak and incompetent. They had been sent by God, and, at the same time, He was sending me on a pilgrimage of understanding: My help comes from the Lord.

How is God working in your life to teach the humility of receiving help?  When God sends you on a pilgrimage of understanding, do you travel willingly?

photo credit:  Inside via photopin

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20 thoughts on “Trusting for Grace to Receive”

  1. Such powerful words today! I have had God teach me a similar lesson and the humility it took to accept help was a lesson from God that strength shows up in the form of other people. We are not strong enough on our own and God provides that for us when we let go of all the feelings that we need to do it on our own. Blessed to have you join us at The Weekend Brew.


  2. i also had to learn this lesson the hard way. mine was different than yours however. i went thro’ a season when my epilepsy was going wild after many years of being under control. it meant i couldn’t drive of course…and the seizures weren’t anywhere close to being controlled either.
    many people offered to take me places but often they weren’t my favorite drivers. their driving made me nervous. but GOD kept hounding me. “you are just using that as an excuse for your pride. you don’t want to accept favors from other people. you only want to be on the giving end of favors.”

    “if i was able to protect you and your family from accidents and injury in the days before we had seat belts and child safety seats, don’t you think i can protect you from a driver that isn’t as good a driver as you would like?”

    i couldn’t get around that hounding…and i was wearing my husband out! so i started accepting help from women in my church to take me places. i found that i got to know them better than i had up to that time. it also created a bond that hadn’t been there before.

    who knew? i felt so inadequate and was trying to show that i was up to the job of being their pastor’s wife when they needed to see more of my neediness. wow!


    1. Thank you for sharing your story. Sometimes we are most effective in ministry when we are clearly and obviously in need of God’s help to make it happen! So glad you stopped by!


  3. I hopped over and read your post. It was one of those “ouch” reads. I’d be horrified. So you can see that I needed to read it. While I dwell on it the next few days i’ll be asking God to for grace to receive.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been there, Michele. Bless you for sharing this wisdom with others who may benefit and don’t have to learn the hard way as we did! Each season offers it’s own challenges and needs to ask for help but those baby years are unique in such a need for extra hands. Thanks for linking up with Playdates with God this week, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I do pray that others will benefit from these words and learn without the “cringe.” Very thankful for your hospitality at Playdates with God. What a lovely and peaceful place.


  5. Michele, I hear these messages in my head too: “Be the helper, never the helped. Be the giver, never the receiver. Be the strong, never the weak.” Those words compel me to say I’m fine and rob others to be His hands and feet. Those words in my head convince I can do it on my own, but my weaknesses point to my constant needing of Jesus. Even when I’m strong, He’s stronger. Thank you, Michele, for sharing your heart at #IntentionalTuesday on Intentionally Pursuing. : )

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great post, thank you for sharing this with us at Good Morning Mondays. Allowing people to help us is important but sometimes so difficult. Blessings


  7. I am still in the stage of Mount Laundry, with piles of cloth diapers on my couch, so this was a great reminder! As a general rule, I think it can be very hard for Americans to accept help from others. After all, aren’t we supposed to be self-sufficient and independent? But I think something happens in a relationship when we are able to show our vulnerability to others and accept their help. Thank you for these words today!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I really appreciated this post, Michelle. It is oh so hard to receive graciously sometimes realizing our help comes from God ultimately. And I do think I lift my eyes to the fridge/chocolate/coffee all too often. Thanks for reminding me to point my eyes in a more lovely and filling direction.


    1. Erika, thanks for letting me know that the post resonated with you. I, too, need the reminder that my eyes need to go first to the Lord when I am in need of help. And then . . . I need to take it. Blessings and Happy 2016! Thanks for persevering at the link-up!


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