"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help."
(Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NLT)
A Helping Hand
By Tiffany Stuart
- Mary was only 44 when cancer invaded her brain, destroying her ability to live a normal life. She spoke intelligently one minute and sat bewildered the next. While Mary’s husband worked, volunteers helped Mary pour her cereal and walk without falling. I was one of her helpers.
During my second visit, Mary spent the first hour in bed. I read a book and listened. I heard nothing until bath water started running.
What is she doing? She’s not allowed to bathe alone. She might have a seizure. What should I do? I can’t just barge in on her.
So I said a quick prayer for her safety and waited; hoping I was doing the right thing.
Eventually Mary came out dressed and barefoot. I helped her downstairs and then watched her brush her inch-long brown hair.
“My mom’s taking me to lunch today,” Mary said.
“That sounds like fun. Where are you going?”
I listened while she told me the details, even though I knew Mary’s mom died years earlier.
“I need to call my husband,” Mary said as she fumbled with the phone.
“I’ll dial the number."
" No, I can do it.”
After four unsuccessful tries, she handed me the handset. Her husband told her he was leaving work to pick her up for her doctor’s appointment.
She forgot. So much for lunch with mom.
“Mary, can I get your shoes and socks for you?”“
"No, I’ll get them. My room’s a mess; you’ll never find them.”
“Okay, just remember—I’m here to help you.”
I locked my arm with hers as she crept up the stairs. To respect her privacy, I let her go into her room alone. I waited downstairs. Mary came out holding her white tennis shoes and no socks. Instead, she held a pair of white underwear. My heart ached.
“Mary dear, you grabbed the wrong thing. Let’s go find your socks.”
Confused, Mary gazed at her underwear. I led her back to her bedroom. I grabbed a pair of white socks and stuck her underwear in her drawer. We slowly made our way to the living room. Then Mary wrestled with her shoelaces.
“I can tie them for you.”
“No, I’ll do it.”
It hurt seeing Mary try and try when I could make her life easier. She eventually tied her shoes. Her husband arrived ten minutes later. I said goodbye and drove home, emotionally shaken.
I never saw Mary again. She died weeks later. But Mary’s self-sufficiency haunted me.
I was just like her.
I often refused help from others. I had an “I can do it myself” mentality.
And I definitely refused God’s help. I figured God had more important matters to deal with than my problems.
During my brief time with Mary, I experienced what it felt like to want to help someone and then have them refuse that help. It hurt. I can’t imagine how God feels when we choose to be independent.
Scripture is sprinkled from the Old to New Testament with the word help. God wants to help us. Why do we insist on living life in our own strength or alone? Is it our pride?
Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10 reminds us that giving and accepting help are part of God’s plan for our relationships.
"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" (NIV)
I’m still learning to ask for help when I need it. And I’m trying to say “yes” when someone offers to help me. It’s not easy.
My biggest lesson from Mary was the reminder of God as my helper.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1, NKJV)
"Lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." (Psalm 121: 1-2, NIV)
Tiffany Stuart is a writer, speaker and stay-at-home mom of a school-aged daughter and son. She and her family live in Colorado.
CBN IS HERE FOR YOU!
Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.