Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Give What You Need

Once again, someone else's blog post put my brain on a path it's walked previously.
A mom who brought her newest daughter home from China 3 weeks ago was bemoaning the lack of interaction with her friends and extended family. She'd gone in to hyper-hibernate unintentionally, and was somewhat shell shocked at her...aloneness. 
As Mark and I read books to prepare ourselves for our own international adoption, (okay, truth prevails: I read them and gave Mark a Cliff Notes version of the author's key points. His glazed eyes told me to continue droning because he was deeply interested in every detail.) many of the authors encourage the adoptive families to hunker down and get the new child firmly assimilated into the family structure and dynamics before allowing others to influence him/her. 
It made sense at the time.
This blogger's first post regarding her aloneness was followed by an apologetic post acknowledging her in-laws presence and sweet help in the family. She then relayed her decision to call a somewhat isolated friend with a similar-aged daughter and detailed the fun the women had
reconnecting while their girls played.
The adoptive mom NEEDED to spend time with a friend. 
I assume she needed it  (1.) to maintain her sanity (2.) to put a little space between her and the always-demanding newest daughter (3.) alleviate mind-numbing boredom from dressing and undressing dolls for seemingly hours at a time and (4.) to gather some energy from an outside source. 
Those are suppositions based on my own life.

God led her to recognize that another mom NEEDED fellowship that she could give...and by meeting someone else's need, the need she personally felt was also met. 
That just says God all over it, for me.

God seems to allow bits of "hollow" in my life. Sometimes the hollowness is because of a loss. Sometimes it's a result of over-extension on my part. Sometimes I have a g'jillion straws stuck in me, sucking the creative life right out of my heart and brain that leaves me a bit empty. Sometimes it's just a passing phase of boredom.

I must, must, must encourage all of us to go to God first. I have to apologize to God more frequently than I ought for wanting to talk out a situation with a friend before I've given Him time to talk it out with me. I'm getting better at that. As a Dear One said in a note just today, she "realized that (she doesn't) have to be strong OR know ANY of the answers to this--(she) just needs to CRY OUT to God". 
He is so good and gentle to me always, 
but especially when I'm a bit on the dry side.
God has shown me through this roller coaster we refer to as LIFE that I am not the only one with needs (gasp!) and I cannot be the only one with (this particular) need. 
I think The Evil One has used that feeling in my life to pain me where there was no true wound.
The feeling that I am alone in this. 
The feeling that no one else has suffered in this way, for this long.
The feeling that I have needs and not one person is interested or able to meet those needs.
God gave me an idea: A Plan.

The idea did not come naturally to me. I can still name specific times that I asked friends for specific help to meet a specific need...and I got NOTHING in return. That ain't a cool feeling. 
(Yes, those times are more than adequately balanced by friends and family who went W.A.Y. out of their way to meet needs in my life...) 

So, what to do?

What do you do when LIFE isn't Lollipops and Roses? 
I was led to name the need in my life: Loneliness? Irritability? Feeling Uncared-For? good ol' Stress? Poor health? Needy kids sucking me dry? No spiritual refueling through God's Word? 
(I'll introduce you to my Name-It-and-Lame-It Theology another time, I'm sure.)
Some of my issues I just needed to talk out with God, then solve them myself (with His help and strength) But other times I just...I just...I just needed Jesus with skin on. In my own need,  it occurred to me that I could BE Jesus with skin on for someone...

If I wish someone would have my family over for dinner...I have learned to invite another family over to our home and feed them up something edible (even if it's take-out!)
It means when I'm in a tiff that my dear friend So-and-So hasn't called for awhile...I remember that phones dial both directions.
It means when I'm in a snit that I can't get time out of the house without someone under 3 foot tall tagging along, that I think of someone I could help by keeping their monster...uh...child so they can grocery shop without Cujo in their cart.
How about purposing to write a note to a Senior on a day that I am feeling old and creaky?
No one telling me I'm wonderful? Who can I random-act-of-compliment today?
(FYI, airports and malls are fabulous places to do that)
It might mean making myself look outside of me and my trouble, to others and their troubles.

For me personally today, it means I recognize I can spend delightful time with (much) younger mommas and their kids so that Maylin's need to be with kids is met, and I can stick my straw into someone else (bahaaaa!) It means I'm making two play-dates tonight: a child-filled one with a mom and her young daughters, and a child-free one with a friend who has lots of straws stuck in her from every direction. It means I will be honest, and encouraging at MOPS. It means I will overlook the snot on your shoulder if you'll overlook the finger paint on my shorts.

I think we can do that.
When I give what I think I need, I don't usually need it anymore.

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