Baby bottles and dishes littered the kitchen counter. Miniature clothes covered the family room floor â€“ some the toddlers thought it fun to take off, others were escapees from a basket of unfolded laundry. Sounds of chaos cluttered the air. A Thomas the Tank Engine DVD grew louder and louder as the twins tried to drown out the 2 month oldsâ€™ cries on the baby monitor. Sitting on the couch, silent, dazed and buried under it all… was a young, overwhelmed mom named Barbara.
She remembered being overwhelmed when the twins came home, but there was so much family and help then because everybody knew how challenging twin newborns could be. Yet ever since she brought the new baby home 2 months ago â€“ she’d felt left on her own. Everybody thought she could make it on her own â€“ and at first, so did she. But she was becoming less and less convinced. It felt like everything was falling apart. She couldnâ€™t seem to do anything â€“ finish laundry, straighten up the house, get to the grocery store, nothing.
More and more all she felt was overwhelmed and lonely, but she couldnâ€™t possibly let anyone come over with the house and herself in such a mess. Ladies from church had called and past work associates had asked to come to see the baby. Her answer was always, â€œIâ€™ll call when Iâ€™m ready for company.â€ She kept pushing them away, consequently getting lonelier and lonelier.
Jolted from her downward spiral by a ringing cell phone, Barbara slowly started digging it out from beneath clothes on the couch. It was Carolyn. She and Barbara had been friends since middle school and had seen each other at their best and worst. Â Carolyn was also a mom, but her kids were older. She knew what Barbara was going through and knew exactly the help Barbara needed.
â€œHey Barb, I know itâ€™s hard for you to get out right now. Iâ€™m going to the store. What do you need? Milk? Bread? Snacks for the twins?â€
Barbaraâ€™s first temptation was to say, â€œNothing,â€ but that would have been an outright lie. So she quickly spouted off the things she noticed missing in the pantry and refrigerator that morning. â€œMilk, Cheerios and some fresh fruit, would be great,â€ she got out, â€œbut the house is a mess. Just knock on the door and Iâ€™ll come get the groceries from you and bring you some money. Let me know how much it is.â€
An hour later there was a knock at the door. Barbara waited to be sure Carolyn had time to drop the groceries and leave before opening the door, but Carolyn wasnâ€™t about to miss this opportunity to personally check on her friend. When Barbara opened the door, crying baby in arms and toddlers tugging at her sweater, Carolyn knew what to do. She walked right through the open door, arms full of groceries far beyond what Barbara had asked for, and dug deep in a bag to find special toys and treats to occupy the toddlers. The delighted twins scurried off with their goodies. Then Carolyn took the crying newborn in one arm from Barbara, amidst weak excuses for the condition of the house, and put the other arm around her exhausted friend. Â Before Barbara knew it, she was escorted upstairs to her room with orders to sleep. Carolyn assured her the baby would be fed and the twins would be taken care of. Feeling like she had permission to be off duty for the first time in weeks, she collapsed on her bed in relief and exhaustion.
Hours later Barbara awoke, glancing at the clock. Sheâ€™d been asleep for four solid hours and felt like a new person. And when she went downstairs, she thought sheâ€™d moved into a new house. Carolyn had fed the baby who was napping peacefully. The twins were occupied and happy. Carolyn had folded laundry, straightened up the whole downstairs, washed and put away dishes, put five bags of groceries in the pantry and stuck a pan of lasagna in the oven. Â Barbara didnâ€™t even have to think about dinner.
Clouds had disappeared and afternoon sun was streaming in the window. Barbaraâ€™s friend had rescued her. For the first time in over a week, Barbara had hope that there would be easier days and she felt strength to go on. She realized the difference accepting a little help made and realized how she had been pushing people away, feeling like she had to get everything in order before she could let anyone close.
Sometimes we do that in our spiritual lives, too. We try to keep going in our own strength, not realizing â€“ or not being willing to accept â€“ that we need Godâ€™s help. So often we sense that things are falling apart more and more â€“ relationships, careers, finances. We think, like Barbara, that we need to get all of the messes in our lives straightened up — all our bad habits under control –Â before inviting in the One who wants to give us help. Like Barbaraâ€™s friend, God has seen us at our best and at our worst, and He knows exactly what each one needs. He wants to lift our burdens, clean up our messes, fill the pantries of our souls with more than we could ask or imagine, put His arm around us and take us to a place of rest and refreshing. He wants us to wake up to new life in Him. Heâ€™s standing at the door, waiting for us to open it and ask Him to come in.
So how can I invite God into my life to experience His help and rest?
If you are feeling weary or burdened, Jesus is eager to come into your life and give you rest. All you need to do is invite Him in. Find a quiet place where you can pray. Simply tell Jesus — who is God — youâ€™re sorry for trying to do things on your own in your own way. Tell Him you realize you need His help, His forgiveness, for not having done things right. Tell Him you accept His death on the cross as having paid for those things and that you want Him to come into your life and give you strength to do things the right way, His way. Ask Him to guide you from now on and He will.
Bible verses to ponder:
Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Revelation 3:20)