Everyone Needs Help Sometime

“It’s okay…I’ve been there before…Everyone needs help sometime…”

Deana was calling our store’s adopted “Christmas family” to get specific items they needed.  The person on the other line was overwhelmed.

Hearing Deana’s side of the phone conversation took me back to a time when one of my husband’s colleagues showed up on our doorstep with four or five bags of groceries.  It was 1983 or 1984.  My husband was teaching high school, I was home with a baby. We didn’t have two dimes to jingle in our pocket; it was a paycheck to paycheck life. 

Then the flu flattened us. The fridge had free space on every shelf. It was all we could do to make a fire, wrap a blanket around our shoulders, and stare at the wall. Dave Steen, a legendary high school baseball coach, called to check on our Thanksgiving plans. He listened to Curt’s explanation and heard the unspoken pathos between his words. 

And the next day there he was on our front porch.  Cheerful, matter of fact, generous.  Paper bags spilling over with groceries.

I felt embarrassed, relieved, exhausted, awkward, thankful, humbled, uneasy, shy. Reluctant to admit that we needed help and yet incapable of arguing otherwise.  
How grateful I am for that Thanksgiving. That pitiful, miserable, rotten Thanksgiving that turned a corner when our front door opened.  Admittedly, it’s easier to be thankful for hard times when they are in the rear view mirror.

Any of you been there?

Everyone needs help sometime.


9 thoughts on “Everyone Needs Help Sometime

  1. We had a year in 1999-2000 when things were very tight.  God worked through so many people to supply our needs: an aunt and uncle who brought out their lawn mower and mowed our huge yard; the choir director at church who moved and hired our son to mow his yard then left us all the contents of their freezer, a weedeater and a vacuum (two specific things we needed and I had prayed about!); the parents of a student of mine who cut down a large tree and offered us the firewood and helped us saw it and transport it for splitting; a friend who worked at an auto dealership and told us about an older car with low mileage and in our meager range of affordability. We think of that time in the fondest way, not as a time of want, but a time of total dependence on God and of the lessons of his faithfulness.  It was humbling, but we needed the humbling. 🙂

  2. We have been on the receiving end of others’ generosity more times than I can count. My parents were missionaries, and I remember a furlough Christmas when we were told there would be no presents and no Christmas food. But then friends filled our kitchen with food and even arranged for my brothers and I to get some gifts from a local lodge. Then as an adult, when my husband and I came back from the mission field, there were several years when our former church chose us as their family to bless for the holiday season. Two dear old ladies would show up at our house with a trunk full of food. Yes, it was embarrassing  and humbling to think that we needed it that badly—but we were so very grateful. This year we have been saving our change in a special “blessing jar”. We put some bills in there too. Next week we will leave it anonymously on the doorstep of a young student couple who are struggling financially, in hopes that it will be an encouragement to them. We are still struggling in many ways ourselves, but we want to bless others to the best of our ability after being on the receiving end for so long.

  3. oh, how i enjoy your blog!  i rarely comment but i do read your posts and they so encourage me.  this post reminded me of a time when my husband and i were living paycheck to paycheck (perhaps even slimmer than that.) with 2 children at that time very young. we had scraped enough money for milk but didn’t have any left for juice for the 2 kids.  we prayed in our living room that God would provide.  this happened in 1994 and to this day i still get excited thinking about it….about 20 minutes after our prayer, there was a knock on door. it was a neighbor we had only seen occasionally while us passing on the way to his apartment on the third floor.  he said he worked for tropicana orange juice and he had several gallons of frozen orange juice he had brought home from work and “by ANY chance, could we use them?” we were stunned and barely we able to choke out a thank you….i will never forget that time. God is good.

  4. many times… one that stands out: no money, no food, no bread; I opened the cupboard and in front of my eyes stood flour & yeast; it was more than 10 years ago but it still has an impact in our lives: to continue baking our daily bread. 

  5. sonskyn made me laugh!  I remember those times, “no money, no food, no bread”.  My moment of impact was when I opened the cupboard and all we had were dry beans.  I remember thinking, “We have no food!” and then hearing the rest of the verse, “and we loathe this manna!”  I sure took THAT one to heart!Once, in AK, when I was about 15, we had the church over after service.  We had one small stewing hen, and a couple cups of rice.  We fed everyone 2nds and 3rds on that.  (There were about 30 people.)  I distinctly remember while my sister and I kept serving people, my mom, with sparkling eyes, remarking that this was the Lord’s doing, and to never forget it.   

  6. We ARE there, and thankfulness is admittedly a daily struggle!  Feeling thankful, yet like I owe those who are providing our shelter.  Watched for everything, yet knowing it is just me and that they are simply being gracious.  Yes, I’m sure the thankfulness will come more easily later, though I know we have much to be thankful for now.

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