NOTE: Daniel and Kelly speak to this question on Episode #13 of The Abel Speaks Podcast. You can listen on Apple, Spotify, or your app of choice.
For our question today we’re going to start to meddle a little bit and the question is, “What if I’m uncomfortable accepting help?” There’s a lot to say on this. You may feel like more of a private person, there could even be a little bit of pride going on, or you never like being in a position where you feel like you’re burdening other people on your behalf. If that is a struggle for you, whether it’s one or all of those things, we can speak to that from our own personal experience. There’s freedom in naming it and claiming it and admitting that’s a struggle for you.
Kelly: I can relate to all of those things — those are struggles of mine as well. As we were walking through our season with Abel, I think the Lord used Abel’s life to really strip me of a lot of my ideas of holding onto not feeling vulnerable or that I can do it all on my own and don’t need others. I can look back now and see a lot of richness and sweetness in that season in the way people helped. I would say that allowing other people into our story and Abel’s story was one of the best decisions that we made.
It helped us not feel alone. We didn’t feel isolated and, by receiving help, we allowed others to know us and Abel deeper. That came in a variety of ways, but ultimately we allowed people to love and care for us. And sometimes it almost felt selfish because we were not in a place to reciprocate. It just felt like we were constantly receiving and really weren’t in a season to pour out or give back in a lot of ways. That stripped me of a lot of the sense of pride I felt and in all of those things, but it was such a sweet thing to see and a way to allow God’s people to love, care for, and support us in really big ways, but also in small ways too. It was such a gift in that season.
Daniel: We came to find that accepting help was such a gift to us. I would also say, to the notion of not wanting to burden other people, that I think we found it was just the opposite. I think that it really was a blessing to people because of what you just said, that it was a real-time tangible way for people to be walking with us in that season, to be experiencing Abel’s story and his life even from the womb.
We cherish the ability to be able to share that bond with other people in the long run. We say all the time that we view Abel’s life as a gift to our family. We see sharing that gift with others as a blessing rather than a burden. Allowing the Body of Christ be the Body of Christ in action is a huge piece of God’s provision in that hard and difficult season.
Kelly: I think sometimes we hear people say that they’re really private and therefore they don’t tell anyone — even about the pregnancy or the diagnosis. So sometimes step one is letting people know and then step two is allowing people to help you. It could be that the first step is the biggest hurdle in letting others know what’s actually going on in your life. Read our blog post on when and how to tell others here.
Daniel: I would add one final note here and I’m really talking to the guys. We’re kind of hard-wired, at least in our culture, to resist everything we talked about up to this point. It may feel like acknowledging that I have a need that I’m being weak, I’m being insufficient, or I’m coming up short in some ways. And it grates against us. I would encourage you with the reality being that you’re tasked with leading your family and leading your wife. Leaders take initiative. One of the most courageous things that you can do is acknowledge your need for help and acknowledge your need for others.
I would say that in the first hundred families that reached out to Abel Speaks, I think four times it was the father that initiated the conversation. That’s 96% of the time that it’s the mother taking that step to reach out for support. That might look like a joint conversation online where Dad is very much involved and eventually we do get the opportunity to connect with both parents.
But that’s an example of what I would lean into and encourage you with as men and women. Again, to reiterate what Kelly said so well earlier, that this is a topic in an area where the Lord absolutely uses our children to really sanctify, sharpen, and refine us in ways where we might not be comfortable initially. That can absolutely lead to growth. Especially if you are feeling and have articulated a feeling of being stuck or isolated and you don’t want to feel that way anymore, then this is the action step for you.
Of the first conversations that we get to have with new families at Abel Speaks, we always acknowledge how much courage it takes to put yourself out there to reach out to people that you really probably know nothing about and have no relational equity with during a really vulnerable season. We see that, we honor that, and we still call and encourage you to that.