I realized what was coming as I was getting ready for bed the other night, taking off my makeup and brushing my teeth. Maddie has been sick for a couple of days, up all night coughing and sneezing, and despite my best efforts to avoid catching her cold, I could feel it coming on. I swallowed a few times, testing out my throat to see if it was, indeed, sore.
I carried an already-sleeping Maddie to bed and rushed through Charlie’s bedtime stories in the hopes that if I got into bed early I could fight off the cold. I turned down Jason’s request that I watch Alaska-somthing-or-other, jumped into bed, and closed my eyes tightly, praying that the way I was feeling was just my imagination. All of you moms know we don’t get sick days.
I was woken at 1 in the morning by Maddie coming down the stairs, coughing the entire way. I was up for a couple of hours with her, all the while ignoring the fact that I couldn’t breathe through my nose or swallow at all.
A few hours later, I woke up to start a busy day. We had a MOPS meeting first thing and I had to get apples and oranges cut up for a fruit salad and put the butter braid in the oven, then get to the church early to get the heat turned on and the food set out. I chugged some Alka-Seltzer Cold and started drinking lots of coffee, informing Jason that I was sick but that wasn’t going to acknowledge that I was sick until after lunch.
After dropping Maddie off to stay with Aunt Betty (my great aunt who lives with my mom), Charlie and I went to MOPS. I didn’t tell anyone I was sick, because sometimes just not admitting it makes it seem like it’s not real, you know?
The meeting went very well (God was totally in control of that!) and we went to pick up Maddie. I just wanted to sling her in the car and get home so I could lay on the couch.
Aunt Betty, however, had a different idea.
She had heated up a pot of her vegetable soup (the best vegetable soup in the world, by the way) and had it ready for me. The kids went into the back to play and she fixed me a bowl and insisted that I sit down to eat it. I started to protest, thinking I just have to get home. But something told me to stop and let her baby me a bit. Something told me that I needed it, and she did, too.
It was so good, ya’ll, and just what my sore throat and clogged sinuses needed. And it was also what my heart needed.
She stood there and talked to me the entire time, about the home and friends she left behind in Florida, about Maddie and what they had done that morning, and some other things. She fixed me a glass of water and handed me a napkin, and gave me advice on what to do when I got home: start a load of laundry and a load of dishes in the dishwasher, then lay down and take a nap.
Then she said, “I’m cooking dinner tonight. I’ll have your mom bring it over.”
My instincts kicked in, “Aunt Betty, you don’t have to do that. I can cook dinner.”
She shook her head, “I know, but I am cooking. You need to rest. You can’t be sick.”
I protested some more, then stopped. Why shouldn’t I let her take care of me?
“OK,” I said. “That will be wonderful. Thank you so much.”
Then I took the kids home, started a load of laundry and dishes, turned a cartoon on and took a nap. I didn’t worry about cooking dinner, because Aunt Betty and my mom were providing it for me. It was a wonderful, recharging afternoon.
Saying yes is sometimes really hard for me. Like
most women every woman I know, I just like to do do things myself. It seems easier and quicker to not accept help from other people, even when I need it, and I also don’t want anyone to go out of their way for me.
What I realized today is this: letting other people do things for me is not only a blessing to me, but to them. I need to change my mindset. If someone offers to help me or care for me, I don’t need to look at it as an inconvenience to them, but as a way for them to show a bit of Jesus to me. By saying no to people’s offers of help, I am robbing them of an opportunity to minister to someone.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
By letting people in to help us when we need help, we are giving them a chance to use their God-given gifts for ministry, a chance to shine their lights in this dark world. And isn’t that the point of this life?
God works through people to minister to us. In the Old Testament, he worked through Moses. In the New Testament, he worked through Paul.
And, just yesterday, he worked through Aunt Betty.