They are the only words that can be uttered from the puddle that has found it’s way to the kitchen floor. “Please help me.”
There is no one around. The children are down for a nap or out in the back yard playing. She was trying to make the most of the opportunity to get some housework done. Instead, a wave of overwhelm, exhaustion and emotion hits her, pushing her to the ground. In the midst of the tears she looks up and reaches out to the only one who can give her comfort or hope.
For such a long time, each new day has felt like moving through mud. Each step heavy, each task unclear and overwhelming. Everything continues to pile up, a burden that she cannot seem to shake. So many things have been happening for her, her family and others that she loves and the burden continues to grow.
Thinking about what needs to be done brings a fresh wave of tears, the rest of the day seems impossible to complete. Getting up off the kitchen floor seems overwhelming, let alone all the work that must still be done.
There are seasons in our lives where the waves of the storm seem so very big that it seems we are doing all we can to merely stay in the boat. We feel battered, exhausted and overwhelmed. As we ride the waves, the continual movement churns our stomach. Each high and low digs into our energy reserves, slowly emptying what little we still had.
Maybe you can think of your own moment, like the one described above. Perhaps it wasn’t on the kitchen floor but as you stepped into the shower at night. Or you found yourself unable to turn the keys of the car on your way to work. Or you collapsed into a puddle of tears in or after an important meeting at work. It could be that you haven’t found your way into a puddle, but you resonate with the movement through mud, you can feel yourself digging deep into your energy reserves, or someone you love is going through this experience and you want to support them in any way possible.
What do we do? Where do we turn in these moments? The storm wont dissipate, so how do we find the strength to move on.
The first thing that we can do is to look after ourselves physically. This is probably something that we hear over and over again but diet, sleep and exercise are all important. Caffeine, sugar and other processed carbohydrates will only provide short bursts of energy, not sustaining us in the way we need and putting our bodies under stress in the long term.
Our physical health has a big impact on our mental, emotional and even spiritual and social health. At times, ill health can be a contributing factor to how we are feeling. Doing what we can to support ourselves physically can be influential in helping us move through the storm.
Sometimes, speaking the truth makes is so much more real. So instead of admitting how we are feeling, sharing what it is like to be buffeted by the waves, or telling others that we are not coping very well, we keep it all bottled up inside. Not admitting it to ourselves, God or anyone else means that it doesn’t have to be real.
When we admit what is happening we are able to do something about it. If we continue to push the feelings down and away, ignore them or find ways to numb the pain they bring, we are not able to do anything about what we are experiencing. It is very easy to not pay attention to how we are feeling, easy to ignore the burden as it slowly piles up. That is until it all becomes too much and we take the time to reflect on how long that has been happening for us.
Instead, we must learn to be honest with ourselves, with the people we love and most of all with God. As we start to speak of what is going on for us, we are able to reach out to resources that support us, we can be encouraged by the people that love us and we can be comforted by the God who is in control of everything.
Use the support available
Not everything is fixable. Not everything will go away if we give the tasks to someone else or if we learn to say no. Sometimes the storm is something that we must face ourselves. However, that doesn’t mean that we have to be alone. God has gifted us with community to help carry and support us as we move through the storm, we do not need to be alone in what ever it is that we are facing.
There will definitely be times where having someone make a meal, help with the washing or ironing, giving over some of our tasks or taking a break is all very necessary and helpful.
There are other times that this is not possible because the storm that we face is of a much more emotional nature.
Talk with the people around you. Share what is on your heart. Maybe you need someone to sit with over a cup of tea, not really talking. Or you need a hug. Maybe you need to process externally and talking to another person really helps to get everything out. Or it is that you need silence, in the presence of others so that you know that you are not alone. Perhaps you need encouragement in your devotional life or someone to hold you accountable to your diet and exercise goals.
You may need to carry the burden on your own but that does not mean that you cannot be supported and carried yourself by the people that God has placed in your life.
“Come on Mr. Frodo. I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you” – Samwise Gamgee
Find comfort in God’s arms
God promises that he will comfort us and strengthen us through whatever we face. He is our refuge through the storms, we can find shelter and protection in his arms. It is there that we can find peace, there that we find rest and comfort regardless of the storms that batter us.
Jesus promises: “Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).
The storms of life can seem overwhelming but so often it is these storms that bring us closer to our Lord and Saviour. It is these storms that show us more and more how strong our God is and how safe we are in his arms. Lean on the Rock of Ages, find security in the shelter that he provides.