A few weeks ago, while trying to get out of bed that morning, my husband told me I looked like a turtle stuck on its back. I laughed because that is pretty accurate as to how I have been feeling these days. When I posted it as my facebook status, I never expected that I would learn so much.
Most of the comments I received were funny, but one made me cry:
"Oh, sweetie...if you look like a turtle than it's probably time to get into your shell and let others help you out. May I please bring you a casserole and a salad one day next week?..."
At first I was so touched by her sweet offer, but then the panic set in. I still had 6 weeks until my due date, I felt like I didn't need help, I didn't want to take advantage of her. I tried to talk her out of it. I asked her to wait until the baby was born, because somehow I felt then it would be more justified.
But she sweetly insisted and a few days later showed up at my door with a beautiful dinner that fed our family of 8 for two nights (and a lunch!)
She had such joy on her face when she hugged me tight and made me promise that I would let her help again.
This was so hard for me. I never ask for help, I never let anyone do anything for me. I think it has come from all these years of not being able to go out in public with my children without hearing, "Oh, you have your hands full!". I feel like I need to prove them wrong. I need to show the world that you can have a home full of children and survive. You can have joy in the midst of chaos.
But the truth is...it's hard. Really hard. I don't care if you have 1 child or 10, motherhood is hard. Don't let anyone make you think that it's not. To make you feel that they have it all together and you are a failure (especially me!).
There are so many days where I find myself in tears, crying to God for strength to get through the day (or maybe just the grocery store). And so many times He calms my heart with a Bible verse to encourage me or a song to fill me with joy.
But what I have learned through this is that sometimes He doesn't give us more strength...sometimes He brings people into my life to help carry my burden, to lighten my load. And I need to accept this gift just as freely as any other encouragement.
I thought I had learned my lesson. And then my best friend showed up with a bucket of cleaning supplies...she wanted to clean my bathroom.
No. There was no way I was going to let her do that.
I fought with her over it, but then I remembered what God has been teaching me, and at 9 months pregnant I was not able to clean like I wanted to. Every time I walked into that bathroom I would tell myself that I needed to get to it, but I never did.
And so I agreed. I sat there fighting off tears as she cleaned my shower and scrubbed my toilet. It was embarrassing and humbling...but I knew that I needed to accept this gift, and in the end it blessed me more than I ever imagined.
Her daughter even brought over nail polish and lotion to give me a pedicure. Of course all the kids joined in and I think I had a year's worth of lotion on my feet, but the kids had the biggest smiles on their faces and I would never deny them the joy of helping.
And now, as I am waiting for our baby girl to join our home, I think I have finally learned my lesson...and all because my husband called me a turtle.