“I Do It On My Own”

“I do it on my own.” 

Our girl must have said these words and uttered this phrase dozens and dozens of times as we plodded along the paths of Red River Valley Gorge in Kentucky this weekend.

Independent, confident, brave, and self-assured, we watched her navigate the roots, scale the rocks, and make her way upon the rhododendron-lined trails. With those little, purple boots, and that pink, ruffled jacket (a jacket that doesn’t really belong on a rustic route), and those short, strong legs of hers, she took many more steps on her own than she did with the help of us.Keeping up with the pace of her brother, three years her senior, she wasn’t about to be out-done or out-paced by anyone. Honestly, it was really kind of amazing.

But though there were many, many, self-assured moments for our short and spunky “Hiker Rae,” there were also those moments on the trails where our Evie Rae just needed some help–moments where she couldn’t go any further…moments where she couldn’t climb…moments where she was stuck…moments where she was rendered immobile and incapable…moments where she needed a hand and a lift…moments where she humbly accepted that there times when there was “no way” without help.

And as I was laying on the couch last night, completely drained from 10 days of fighting the flu while simultaneously attempting to still work and take a family trip to a remote cabin, I had a serious moment where I, too, needed to reach for a “hand-up.”

Calling a friend in a moment of sheer desperation and utter brokenness (and probably also in semi dehydration and accidental over-caffeina’tion), I spewed my hard, and I recounted my fears. I spoke my obsessions, and I bewailed my symptoms. I talked of my husband who was fever-ridden again, my hard night at work, and my worries and fears that I wasn’t “____enough” for my clients. I cried; I rambled; I asked for reassurance; I listened; and I asked for help.

I had had a hard night and a hard day. To be more accurate, I have had a hard and draining 10 days…now 11! And I had reached my limit. I was tired of all four us being sick, of the returning fevers, of the ridiculous amounts of snot, of the sleepless and restless nights, of the pulled back muscles because of coughing, of having to cancel with people, of having to slow down and watch copious amounts of TV, of the inability to have thoughts and feelings that aren’t jaded or fogged by pills that end in -QUIL, of the difficulty of trying to be a mom, wife, and working professional through it all.

I thought I could keeping doing it on my own; I thought I could push through it on my own; I thought I could beat the thoughts and fears on my own; and I thought I could keep walking fighting on my own, but I couldn’t.

Last night, I was at the end of my “I-can-be-brave-and-I-can-keep-this-together” rope. I was fried, and I needed help outside of me. 

And though it felt incredibly awkward to call a friend at 11:28 PM and ask her to help carry and process my burdens with me, it also felt freeing. Because like Evie, I found myself on a difficult path where there was just “no way” without help, without encouragement, without spoken words of truth and hope.

As I lay in bed last night with some hope in my tank and some truth to fill my weary mind, I begged the Lord to carry me as a faithful shepherd. I begged Him to wrap His arms around me and to hold me tightly. I, again, rambled and spewed and told Him of all the things He already knew but cared to hear again. And I’m not sure when it happened, or even how the Lord chose to allow it to happen, but I slowly drifted into rest–the first night of uninterrupted sleep that I have had in 10 days.

This morning, after I groggily sent our eldest to school, I ran for my Bible. And again, I re-read sections of the Psalms in the nook of our couch. Needy, dependent, and completely aware of my inability to do it “on my own,” I scoured the pages of my journal and the words of the Psalmist. As I read, these words popped off the pages and into my “path-worn, root-infested, too-hard, too-big, too-stuck, weary-laden” place.

Refuge. Stronghold.

Confidence. Shelter.

Helper. Father.

Teacher. Shield.

Fortress. Dwelling.

Protector. Light.

Strength. Salvation. 

And then (at the bottom of my journal page) were penned the perfect words for my “I-can’t-do-it-on-my-own-anymore” soul–perfectly timed words for February 21st, 2017 at half-past eight on a Tuesday morning when my body is running on fumes of grace and puffs of mercy.

Cause me to hear Thy lovingkindness in the morning for in Thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee. Psalm 143:8

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never duffer the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22

Save your people and bless your inheritance; be their shepherd and carry them forever. Psalm 28:9

So today, as I continue to find myself in a state of weary dependence and needy emptiness…

I pray that I will allow the Lord to shape and refine me through these moments when I am forced to face my finite-ness, accept my human-ness, and acknowledge my many, many weak-nesses.

I pray that I will let go of the control I don’t have but desperately seek to find, resting in my need for a”hands-up” and resisting the urge to say,”I do it on my own.”

And I pray that I will continue to find myself nestled in the strength of His hands, open and willing to be carried by the “shepherd who carries us forever.”

I’m not sure what path you’re on and what God is asking of you today, but I pray that you , too, will acknowledge those tough terrains that are just “too much for you, ” resting in His ever-strong hands and accepting the help of willing, outstretched hands.

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