"I hope you're not going to be mad at me." My husband's cousin met me at the door. I looked at her in surprise. I had just come back from a much needed walk, a walk that without her willingness to come over and watch Trey, would not have happened.
Taking off my walking shoes, I looked up. "Why would I possibly be mad at you?"
"Well, I couldn't help myself," she stammered, looking very guilty. "I washed your dishes. I clean when I'm nervous..."
I began to laugh, and gave her a big hug. "Thank you so much!" I said. "And I'll never be mad at you for THAT!"
Remembering this made me smile as I began to write our devotional today. A few years ago, I struggled with all the help my mother wanted to give me. She was amazing - folding laundry, washing dishes, cleaning up around my house. But I was proud, and I felt guilty about accepting her help.
It was Rebekah, my Amish girlfriend, who changed my mind. "As our children get bigger, we mothers want to do whatever we can to help," she scolded. "You need to learn to just say 'Thank you' and let her be happy helping you!"
Sometimes, I think we're that way with God, too. We fret and worry, we stew and fume, we feel guilty and think we're failures - and we forget that God, our Father, wants to help us. We forget that Jesus lived this life and understands our struggles. How many times in the past week did you ask Jesus to help you figure out a struggle?
Today's encouragement is this:
"We don't have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He's been through weakness and testing, experienced it all - all but the sin. So let's walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help."
Hebrews 4:15-16 MSG (emphasis mine)
Jesus WANTS to help you. He is waiting for you to ask for his help. You don't need to feel weird about taking the mercy he wants you to have.
And it trickles over into your other relationships too. When you allow yourself to accept Jesus' help and mercy - you'll find yourself more willing to extend it to other people as well.
Just say 'Thank you'. Then let him help you clean up that mess you're in...
"Here you go!" The midwife said, "You're doing great...just one more moment... Ah ha! Congratulations! You have a healthy baby boy!"
A pall settled over the room. The new mother began to sob quietly in exhaustion and fear. Her sisters gathered around her, tears streaming down their faces. The new grandmother left her post at the foot of the bed and put her arms around her daughter. "I'm so very sorry, my dear..."
The midwife looked up, a sweet smile on her face. "It's just so amazing that you were able to have this baby before I even arrived!" She finished her task of cleaning and swaddling the baby. "We Hebrew women are quite a sturdy lot, aren't we? I can't tell you how many of my clients have delivered their beautiful baby boys without any help from me at all!"
The women turned to each other, eyes wide.
Handing the newborn to his mother, the midwife turned back to her bag and swiftly packed her things. Turning to leave, she faced the women in the room one more time.
"Truly," she said softly, "God has blessed me with laughter and all who get the news will laugh with me!"
The women looked up and smiled at the midwife's use of their matriarch Sarah's words.(Genesis 21:6)
This story caught my eye as I was reading through Exodus this week. The midwives to the Hebrew people had been called before the king of Egypt. He was a fearful man, looking around at the numbers of the Hebrew people and determining that they were not to be trusted.
The midwives were instructed to kill every baby boy they delivered.
But the midwives, named in the bible as Shiphrah and Puah, were what we would call 'God-fearing' women. They knew wrong when they heard it.
If you read through these verses, Exodus 1:1-23, I hope you notice what I did.
The king, the most powerful man in the world at that time is never given a name. He's just one more... ho hum... king.
In contrast, the midwives, nobodies in the political and economic platform, are named individually. Those women are the very same women who were delivering babies when Aaron and Moses were born.
The point? In God's eyes, there are no obscure people.
In God's plans, there are no 'unimportant' Christians.
Your encouragement today is this:
No matter your task today, no matter your situation, your struggles or your status - your respect for God, your choice to believe and trust Jesus, your decisions to reflect God's truth and love put you in the perfect position to be used by God.
"We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well."
(1 Corinthians 10:24b MSG)