This weekend, D and I got to take a weekend for ourselves. In the middle of stress and craziness, we were refreshed and renewed through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Marriage Enrichment Weekend, just for coaches and their spouses. We registered for the event months ago but then as all of the events of this summer unfolded, quickly realized that our original plans of leaving our kids with my parents for the weekend was not going to work. So in order for us to go we were going to need to figure out a different plan, one that involved asking others for help.
I have no idea of why that is so hard. Maybe because you don't want to be seen as the friend who sucks everyone dry. Maybe because you feel some like even though you know your friends wouldn't do it unless they really wanted to, you still feel like you are taking advantage. Maybe just because we find it really hard to let others take care of us if we are still somewhat capable of doing life on our own, waiting instead until we have completely hit rock bottom to ask others for help.
Two dear friends stepped up to the plate and said that they would take our kids so we could go. One could only do it for part of the time while the other could do it for the entire weekend which worked better. Today, D and I picked the kids up and headed to church and I was so reminded of the words "the fellowship of a shared burden" and a post I had written previously. It is humbling to have a friend say "I will stand in the gap for you even if it costs me something. It is humbling to have a friend say "I will stand in the gap for you and I expect nothing from you in return." What a blessing to pick up my kids from my friend's house and find everyone smiling, everything calm and in control. (Although my friend was on Facebook at midnight the night before asking how to get silly putty off of a pacifier and sippy cup.)
Then after church today, a couple from our church visited with us and asked a bit about what was going on with my dad's health. And their next words left me smiling as well. "We've been gone and as we were praying today, Paul said that we hadn't prayed for you guys lately." It's that image of a husband and wife who regularly spend time together, praying for other. It's knowing that they know us by name and pray for us regularly, to the point that they recognized that they hadn't prayed for us like they normally do.
I know there are lots of people who attend church all their lives and are not held up by those around them. And I know there are lots of people who have only met Christians who are more about rules and regulations than about love and the fellowship of a shared burden. Knowing that just makes me sad. It just sinks down deep in my gut that others are missing Who God is because we a church are missing out on living how God desires us to live.