We Really Can Ask for Better

{image: mihtiander / 123RF Stock Photo}

{image: mihtiander / 123RF Stock Photo}

Ever wonder if better is even possible?

When I went in for surgery in August, I went in hoping to feel better. I’d get rid of both an organ and the growth that had taken up residence on it. (Which was not malignant after all. Praise God!) Almost instantly after the surgery, my body knew it was already better off. Sure, I felt physical pain and had a lot of healing to do. But within days, I felt more present and had higher emotional energy than I’d had in years.

A medical issue gave me permission to ask for better with my health.

My surgery also gave me permission to ask for better in another area. One I’d allowed to die over the years.

It started the two weeks after the procedure, under the amazing care of people who love me. I got to sleep in and take naps when I needed to. I ate well, because people brought me healthy meals they’d prepared. I was able to rest during the days, even with four kids all over the place in the last weeks of summer vacation. It shocked me, actually. To be loved so intentionally and cared for so completely that my doctor, at the two week check up, would say, “You get an A+ for recovery! The wound and your body are doing great!”

The dear ones who helped me heal celebrated that A+ with me.

Then the bigger “ask for better” lesson started.

You see, my husband has some limitations (yes, he’s given me permission to share this). He is smart and quirky and I love his brain. What I don’t love is how his limitations flare when I need him most. How he becomes the one who I can count on to disappear during challenges. That’s a recipe for disaster with the family life we have together! If you’ve read here for any length of time, you know about my older girls, their foster/adoptive struggles and neurological disabilities.

Once my care team left me to go back to their own lives at the two week post-op mark, I found myself managing my kids and their intense needs alone. Again. This time, I couldn’t get up unassisted or walk more than a few steps at a time. It was like waking up in a nightmare. The one where you need to run someplace, and you realize you’re buried to your waist in hardening concrete.

But at least I woke up!

Over the course of the past month, that waking up has bloomed into a new season for me: a season of asking for better. Of figuring out what I need to feel seen and loved in my marriage instead of coping with loneliness for years. Of asking key people in my life to walk with me as I grieve the loss of what I’ve told myself was a marriage, but wasn’t. Not really. Of letting God reveal to me how I’ve enabled my husband not to take responsibility for his own limitations for all these years.

Asking for better isn’t just about asking him to look me in the eye or hold my hand or hug me twice a day or whatever guidelines we come up with to have a relationship. It’s about asking for better from myself, too.

Yes, we really can ask for better.

I went into surgery hoping to feel better. Turns out God’s got bigger plans for what that can mean in my life.

Is there a place in your life you’ve quietly hoped for better (or maybe even stopped hoping)? Is it time to take the risk to start asking again?

Let’s hold hands and do this together,

Laurie

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Comments

  1. Liz Jones says

    I cannot tell you how relieved I am to read this post. From the moment I discovered my father’s alcoholism as a teen, I have been codependent. I have come a very long way. I have brought some of this stuff into my marriage. God has done some amazing things and I have experienced some breakthroughs but time to take it to a new level. I will be sharing as I go!

  2. Jennifer Hallmark says

    Good post. I’m asking myself that very question…I tend to do everything for everyone except myself…

    • says

      I think that may be the definition of caregiver… lol. But seriously, I’m glad to hear you’re asking the questions too. Here’s to taking care of us, so we can fulfill the Great Commission well!

  3. Elizabeth Jones says

    Laurie! You are my soul sister- I swear every time you write there is something huge that strikes me and connects my story with yours. My hubby situation contains similar elements as yours. I needed this encouragement and these brave words. I will be asking for better for myself. And I will hold your hand in this journey. I see new life coming being breathed into our marriages. Thank you for being willing to be so vulnerable!

  4. Jane Franks says

    Hi Laurie: I admire your courage and frankness. Your willingness to reveal the vulnerability of your life journey is truly a blessing and ministry. Being a caregiver in another generation has brought me face to face with some of the same issues. I have a friend/fellow believer/sounding board, and we hold each other accountable, but I need others, too. I’ll hold your hand, and walk through this, too and pray with you. I don’t have all the answers. But I am finding I’m closer to the Lord. My weakness is neglecting to take better care of myself, and I’m facing some physical pain where I now have to, so I’m taking baby steps in that direction. Fine tuning, if you will! Will you pray with me, too, on that? Also, we (my husband and I) are currently in a working relationship on a particular project where we are needing and have chosen to “let go” of certain aspects of logistics (a major art exhibit) that we have done ourselves in the past for many years. The people that we are working with are not believers but very good at what they do. However, there are some interesting challenges of perspective on dealing with the “unexpected” (we choose to believe God is Sovereign over the pain/suffering, etc., and builds His character/conforming us to His image through that; they believe in a type of fatalism, leaving God out of it; they believe we are all God!) So. . .please pray that we — especially I — can process this in God’s way and be a witness with courage, gentleness and respect. (I Peter 3:16). I didn’t mean to write so long! It is always good to hear from you. I’ll be praying.

    • says

      Glad we can walk this together, Jane. Praying God’s razor-sharp discernment and wisdom as you navigate what you’re going through with your co-workers on the project! Thinking of that verse that God will give us the words to say when we need them. Hugs!

  5. says

    “Over the course of the past month, that waking up has bloomed into a new season for me: a season of asking for better. Of figuring out what I need to feel seen and loved in my marriage instead of coping with loneliness for years.”

    These couple of sentences, I relate. I know these words so well. I’ve been in a season of learning what unhealthy coping mechanisms I’ve been living under, and the healthy ones I need to replace them with. I think our flesh becomes so used to coping by the flesh, even as a Christian…and we so easily forget that we need to be living by the direction of The Holy Spirit (through the healthy coping mechanisms that bring us to Him mentally). In turn, He has the ability to transform us by the renewing of our minds. This has been my summer, and now the beginning of my autumn season. I’m discovering I’m in a season of my life – not just this year – of giving myself permission to ask for better in my life; and allow myself to embrace the better. I’ve hardly ever known better and healthy – truly healthy in my life (my post yesterday on my blog sums it up fairly well). God is showing me what it looks like to truly be healthy, and to cope healthily so I find myself at His feet more than at the bottomless pit of my own despair.

    Thank you for sharing your journey, my friend. It’s good to see you sharing words again. 🙂 My prayers are for grace and peace for you. You are so loved. <3

    • says

      There really is the “pit of despair” factor when we see the depth of depravity of our own nutty ways of doing life. Friend, I love you like crazy. Thank you for your sweet words.

  6. Nicco says

    There’s that living hope showing again. God always sneaks in His plan rightbin the middle of our hiding from His. Sorry for your struggles, but your faith muscles are going to be huge!!

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