My husband, Alston, had been in the hospital for two weeks of what would become a 57-day hospitalization. It was an emotional day because we thought we would be to the point of moving into a rehabilitation hospital, but it was not so. I took some time to reflect on the two weeks that had gone by and realized I was struggling with a concept that was somewhat foreign to me...receiving help. A major part of my life had consisted of being in the role of helper and I was very much comfortable with that role. But things change when you’re in a hospital setting and you really do need help.
The struggle with receiving help isn’t much of a struggle anymore. I think that stopped when I was able to see that receiving help has to do with being able to feel God’s love through people’s care. The struggle also stopped because as a family we were fully relying on God to provide in any and every way. I also found the following that helped me to see how receiving help is an act of service:
God is glorified by your act of receiving.
In Mark 12:31 we read, “love your neighbor as yourself.” Sometimes you are the giver of love and service and sometimes you are the “neighbor” receiving the act of service. God created us to love Him and to love each other. One of the expressions of love is service. We are commanded to love our neighbor, and that happens when we are in community with one another, graciously accepting help and offering help so that we can be the hands and feet of Jesus.
Hands can both give and receive.
“There are many people who can do big things, but there are a very few people who will do the small things.” - Mother Teresa
Allow others to serve you during your times of need. Remember you are allowing others to receive a blessing when they serve you. It’s a win-win for everyone!
As believers, we know that “Faith means being sure of the things we hope for and knowing that something is real even if we do not see it.” Hebrews 11:1 (NCV). The act of receiving brings our faith to life in that it makes the love God has put in others for us tangible. It lets you see the love of God by way of what’s being provided for you. God’s love can be shown through a really good cup of coffee, a text right when you need it, a fresh pair of socks, a smoothie, and cards! Cards! We received so many wonderful cards! Although Alston couldn’t read them for the majority of his hospitalization, I’ve kept every single one. We both still pull them out on those days that are more of a struggle than others.
We also had a sweet family that put together a hospital care package that included fresh fruits, oatmeal, crackers, chips, and most importantly chocolate! It was hard to eat something during that time and I also felt a twinge of guilt to sneak a bite when my husband couldn’t even have water to drink but there were several friends that were very helpful in reminding me that I had to take care of myself. Other items that were given to me that I didn’t even know I would need were lotion and breath mints! Always accept the breath mints!
While I was at the hospital, our kids Anderson (7) & Olivia (4) were at home with family and friends. I honestly don’t know what we would have done without their help. The four of us had not spent too much time apart, maybe a day or two a most, and we had also just come back from a great little family getaway to Tulsa. Now, all of a sudden our family was separated! I remember praying to God for Him to miraculously clone me during this time so that I could be with the kids and my husband. Well, that didn’t happen but God put people in our lives that stood in our place during this time and showered our kids with comfort and love. There were several times after school and daycare that Anderson and Olivia would get a ride to the hospital to come to visit me outside of the ICU. They brought me dinner and we were able to have a special time together that was very comforting to us all.
We continued to receive many blessings all throughout my husband’s hospitalization. Here are some examples of what we received as to give ideas on what could be done for someone who finds themselves in a similar situation:
Food Baskets - Many times we received unexpected gifts of food that included the kids favorite snacks!
Paper Towels, Toilet Paper, Laundry Detergent - We have yet to buy toilet paper!
Cooked/Prepared Meals - These were such a blessing because hospital food tends to get blah real fast!
Paid Utilities - We’ve had several times where we have called in to pay a utility bill and were told that someone had walked in that day and paid it! Truly humbling.
Gas Cards/Gift Cards/Cash - For some reason (it may just be me but I’ll analyze that at a later time) I find it difficult to accept monetary gifts but they sure do help especially when you have to drive back and forth to the hospital and grab-&-go many meals.
Entertainment for Kids - One of the sweetest blessings came through a family that took our kids out to Branson, MO while my husband had his first surgery. Anderson and Olivia had been through a lot and it was refreshing to see them enjoying themselves and being kids with no worries!
You don’t have to be in an emergency situation to glorify God in serving by receiving. I urge you to humbly receive the help that other offer out of love. Not only will you be able to see God’s love for you through others, but you will be glorifying Him through the act of receiving.