Holding On Can Harm
I was the stay-at-home parent. So, I was the one who knew the most about Mark’s medical, developmental and dietary special needs. I spoke his language fluently, a unique combination of what can only be described as sounds and verbal approximations at best. So, when my husband wanted to start helping out more—well—I had a hard time letting him.
I shrouded my excuses in simple truth-based statements. He couldn’t take that much time off from work. We couldn’t risk losing his employment. It’s was easier for me to manage Mark’s doctors’ appointments. Mark and I already have a system, and it works. And perhaps the absolute worst excuse of all: Everything’s fine. I’ve got this, that and everything in between. Yeah, I was stubborn.
Honestly, I thought accepting help would equate to admitting I couldn’t do it, that I was a failure. And no matter how Jason framed his offer of help, I simply wouldn’t accept it. I wasn’t willing to let him help shoulder the responsibilities of managing Mark’s care. But soon, what I was willing to do and what I had to do became two very different things.
To put it bluntly, my refusal to accept my own limitations—and Jason’s gracious offers of help—began to take a physical toll. My need to hold on to control was causing me physical harm. I was physically exhausted and emotionally an absolute wreck. Suddenly, caring for Mark was no longer my greatest challenge. it was me.
Pride was causing me to cling to control. I wanted to manage it all. I wanted to do it all. And handing Mark’s care over was a scary thing to do. Frankly, it was a scary process for me and for Mark. Prior to the adoption, Mark had been severely abused and neglected. So, trust was not something he placed in people easily. But it was equally important to everyone that he learn to do so.
Sometimes holding on does more damage than letting go. Sometimes we create our own stress by refusing to accept help. Going it alone was never God’s plan for us (Genesis 2:18). And remembering this and choosing to practice humility, instead, can help us manage stress, too.
Dear Father God,
You alone are my strength.
In trusting You, I will find help.
My help comes from You.
Help me to graciously and gratefully accept it.
(Psalm 28:7 & 121:2)