Snow fell into my footsteps as I walked, and when I looked back it was as if I didn’t exist. Like I was just standing, out of nowhere, and there was nothing to prove I’d come this far. My back ached, the only evidence that I’d been walking, and I rubbed my swollen belly. I hoped my baby was not as cold as I felt.
I’d remembered there was a church up in the distance, my saving grace. I didn’t have anywhere else to turn. I was homeless and pregnant at sixteen. Amy, my best friend of three years, had been letting me sleep on her couch but she was in the hospital now. A pot of boiling water, tipping in one painful second, scorching her paralyzed legs – she would have major surgery. I’d had to go.
The Vineyard looked desolate, but as I edged closer I could see a light on inside, up the grand stairs reflecting inside the expanse of windows. The door was open. A rush of warm air held me, and stepping inside I realized I was going to have to ask a stranger for help. I shivered.
The Pastor was kind hearted, offering me warm tea and a chair in his office before asking me, “How can I help you?”
The question was too big for me. There were so many things I needed help with, so many choices that led me to this very moment. I don’t know when I started crying, but the tissue was starting to fall apart in my hand when he gently asked, “Do you have a place to go tonight?”
Nodding my head no, he immediately picked up his telephone and began making phone calls, telling the other person on the phone that there was a young expecting girl without a home tonight. Would someone help?
I’d walked nearly three miles and my feet had swollen up, the tears fell so heavy they couldn’t dry, and my little baby was kicking against my ribs as if to tell me, “Someone will help us.”
Asking for help, in and of itself, requires us to be completely vulnerable – to let loose of our ego, to accept our limitations, and admit that we need. For some of us, this is the most difficult thing to do because we fear that others will think us weak and incapable. We have a tendency to pretend to the outside world that all is well and fine, but on the inside we are weeping and crying out … most of us convince ourselves that if people love us they will come to us, they will see our need, and we don’t have to admit we need them.
This leads to our feeling isolated, uncared for, unloved, and unseen. We internalize not only our own needs, but now – we listen to the lie that if we were really truly loved; someone would have reached out to us.
Ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness, it is a movement in courage. It is your standing up in your life, and for yourself, and in that one act of vulnerability … you are changing your life and the lives of those you reach out to. You are creating powerful change.
Who do you reach out to?
Reach out to someone you respect, someone in your life who has a positive influence on you. One of the mistakes we can make when we finally become vulnerable in our need is to try reaching out to someone who really isn’t equipped to help us. Maybe, they are in need so much so too, that they just aren’t able to give you what you need. So, when you think about reaching out, consider someone in your life who has the tools and the resources to really help.
How Do I Ask for Help?
Sometimes, we get ourselves so down and to the point of what seems like no return that our need builds and builds and before we realize it, even thinking to ask for help is impossible because if someone were to say, “How can I help you?” We wouldn’t even know where to begin. One step at a time. Choose your immediate need – sit down and write a list of areas in your life that you are struggling with. What is the main issue you are dealing with? Once you deal with ONE thing … the rest will fall into place. You can even say, “I am so overwhelmed that I don’t even know where to begin, but I do know I need help.”
If you’re not ready to walk to a church, call a therapist, or maybe you aren’t even ready to leave the house and put yourself out there … that’s okay. I encourage you to reach out to a life coach. My own life coach, Jen Kelchner, who is a part of Restitution’s Creative Team, is available for online coaching.
In the meantime, if this story spoke to you in any way, please feel free to contact me. We are all in this together. Nothing is ever in vain, and you aren’t alone.