I’m not sure where this trait came from – whether it’s New England independence ingrained in me from childhood or was learned over time.
Either way, it is as much a part of me as a knot in a tree. While the tree continues to grow and the knot twists and turns a bit, it still remains visible . . . permanent.
My first attempts at learning to tie my own shoes are stamped into my long-term memory. I remember the chaos of the kindergarten classroom in the background. The teacher too busy to stop and check on my progress.
Myself, too ashamed that I hadn’t figured it out yet. The frustration welling up in my throat, choking me.
And yet I was determined to master it on my own. I didn’t ask for help.
My first car was a red Ford Escort. I worked all summer for that little piece of freedom. My father was an excellent teacher. When he first taught me how to drive his stick shift vehicle, my white knuckles warned him of my fear of failure.
“First you need to relax,” he encouraged. “You are not going to ruin my car if you make a mistake. You’ll get it!”
Those words comforted me as I later started driving my little red streak. I tried hard to not grind the gears. Even with my best efforts, “Little Red” would stall out for no reason in the most inconvenient places – at a stoplight, in front of a restaurant, and in the school parking lot.
My face matched my car’s paint color as I tried everything to get it started again. I would not ask for help.
This trait has followed me into adulthood, marriage, and even parenting. A definite shift occurred when parenting became overwhelming and I was at the end of my rope, not knowing how to nurture one of my three saplings.
The internet was a great resource. I googled the most ridiculous questions without fear of a judgmental stare. I could learn without the anxiety of watchful eyes.
My white-knuckled parenting eased a bit. My three blessings fared okay thanks to on-line help.
But there are seasons in life no Google search can sufficiently explain or give peace of mind.
For me, that season came when massive loss and tragedy recently hit my life like a hurricane. A tragic death of a loved one, a best friend, left me unable to function. It was as if an atomic bomb had detonated within me.
My life’s tree is still standing, but everything – including the bark – has been stripped off and left bare. The cuts are deep; the debris is everywhere.
Everything I have known about God and the Bible remained in place, steadying my foundation.
I was not angry with Him.
I knew He is sovereign.
But my soul was in so much pain.
My first word to God . . . “Help!”
Hebrews 4:16 says, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
This word help has an interesting word picture. The Greek word is boētheia. It means aid – specifically a rope or chain for binding together a broken sailing vessel.
Knowing I had an audience with my Maker was comforting as I drew near to His throne of grace. What I didn’t realize was which cords of grace would secure me in my tempest. They were actually not what I expected.
Those supporting cables that surrounded me were people.
God sent people.
When I could not stand, my husband’s strong arms held me. When I was so deep in grief I could not cook for my kids, a messenger of His grace delivered a meal with a hug and a prayer. When the pain was so confusing, a sweet friend just sat with me for hours listening and praying.
It came in a variety of ways. For the first time I realized it’s okay to ask for help – and even more so, to accept it with gratitude.
I am remorseful for not allowing people the opportunity to help me before. “Help” could have changed so many seasons in my life.
But, like that knot in the tree, this is a reminder of who I was – a mark of what has been.
Is it easy for you to ask for help, or does “I can do it myself” echo in your heart?
Have your faith foundations been shaken in a devastating storm in life? To whom did you turn for help?
How have you seen God move in response to a desperate heart cry?
If you aren’t sensing the reality that “God is a very present help in time of trouble” in your life today, would you like us to pray for you? Our Guestbook is open at https://lifeinmessiah.org/contact/.
 This word is used in Acts 27:17 when the ship that Paul was traveling on was caught in a violent storm. The sailors wrapped the ship in supporting cables (boētheia) to keep it from breaking apart under the stress and strain of the tempest.