I’ve always hated being in a state of helplessness. In fact, all my life I was a busy little girl, constantly running from one activity to another with whatever occupied my mind and heart. Being still was difficult for me, and I later discovered, for most women.
When my daughter, Sarah, was born with a rare disease nearly five years ago, my life came to a halt. I couldn’t keep up with life as it once was. Instead, my new normal consisted of frantically driving from one doctor’s appointment to the next, from one diagnostic test to another, from specialist to therapist. It was incredibly nerve-wracking.
In the midst of it all, a good friend of mine came over one day, vacuum in hand. I, harried and in no state to accept help, reluctantly let her inside. She cheerfully smiled and said she was ready to start cleaning, but I felt it was an intrusion. Intuitively, she saw my frown and deciphered that I was uncomfortable with her charitable gesture. In turn, she responded, “Jeannie, if you don’t allow people to help you in your time of need, you are denying them an opportunity to do a Work of Mercy.”
Touche. It was true to the core, and I knew it. So I allowed her in my home and domestic space, doing things not as I would do them. In that temporary state of helplessness – dependence, others might call it – I realized God was calling me to a deeper trust in Him and greater humility. Humility, I learned, could not be acquired without dying to self.I realized God was calling me to a deeper trust in Him and greater humility. Humility, I learned, could not be acquired without dying to self. Click To Tweet
During those initial two years after Sarah’s birth, our home was bustling with people coming in and out – some with meals, others offering free babysitting, still others handing us gift cards or happily running errands or cleaning the house for me. A few were close friends, but many were strangers who had heard about our situation by word of mouth. Allowing strangers into one’s home can be incredibly humbling.
But the conversations that ensued were, dare I say it, miraculous! At times, I would be stunned at the generosity of people who barely knew us and yet felt called to help us in our time of need. It wasn’t family who stepped up. It was friends and strangers.
I had a lot of time to think, to thank God, too. I learned to be more attentive to the ways the Holy Spirit was moving through others to serve Him by serving me. How awe-some! Truly awe-inspiring. That sensitivity to His movements, His breath, allowed a greater window of my own heart to become broken open by my helplessness, my neediness. And God responded by a continual outpouring of grace.
Receptivity, friends, is the best passage to hearing the Holy Spirit and responding to Him. As women, we are gifted in this! We listen with the heart, not only with our ears, and we respond sometimes in ways that surprise us. Maybe you’ve had this happen to you when a neighbor unexpectedly drops by, or when you have a surprise phone call from an estranged relative, or when your child asks you a very difficult question with no straight answer. You are receptive to the Holy Spirit, and because your heart has been broken open time and again, you are able to become a channel of His grace flowing through you to others.You are receptive to the Holy Spirit, and because your heart has been broken open time and again, you are able to become a channel of His grace flowing through you to others. Click To Tweet
And sometimes receptivity means He wants you to be the recipient of His grace by way of others’ generosity and kindness. The key really is that we are open, transparent, and that we allow ourselves, time and again, to become broken open for Him, to Him, and with Him.
Copywrite 2018, Jeannie Ewing