Going beyond shallow words like “give yourself grace” that may seem insensitive and diving deeper to help others.
Today I want to touch on a topic that many of us are guilty of saying. The “Give Yourself Grace” topic. A mom comes to you and says something like “I just can’t get my house to be cleaned”. Instead of asking her to tell you more, you immediately jump to a conclusion that she just needs to hear some “grace” words to make her feel better about the situation.
You say something of the nature below and move on to a different conversation:
- “I see nothing wrong with your home.”
- “Give yourself grace because you just had a baby”.
- “Give yourself grace because you have just moved”.
- “Give yourself grace because you have small children”.
- “Give yourself grace because. . .” fill in the blank here.
- “One day, you’ll have a clean house again”
How many times have you heard these words from another mom or from another person who doesn’t fully understand your situation? Doesn’t that make you want to clinch? All too often, we don’t take the time to really know what’s going on and how we could sincerely help that mom who is struggling at home.
When Give Yourself Graces is Not Enough
A shallow “Give yourself grace” with a smile and a move along would not help a mom whose struggle goes far beyond what we could see. Maybe she’s trying to tell you something. Maybe she’s not struggling because of any of the above reasons but maybe she just doesn’t have the means to get her house together. Maybe deep down she longs for someone to hold her hand and guide her. Maybe she just wants to talk to another mom (not about your everyday shallow stuff). Maybe she sees something in YOU that she believes could be a help to her. Maybe, just maybe she looks up to you as a role model and need your advice. Maybe. . . just maybe. I’ve had others make one of the above statements to me without even knowing my situation. And let me tell you, it nags me. It seriously bugs me. Photos from our Current Entryway during the Winter
Moving from Chicago
When we moved away from the life we built in Illinois to the unknown areas of PA, it was nothing short of easy. My husband took a new job in the area. We faced disappointment after disappointment after disappointment. It seemed like everything we’d built as a family were crumbling right beneath us. It was chaotic from the beginning.
- Yet, there was no one to help us.
- No one to confide in for advice. Absolutely no one.
- Even at the slightest mention of anything to the stranger by the way, we immediately felt judged and felt like we were complaining.
- Some said, “you’ll adjust”.
- Some immediately got defensive if we mentioned anything about the tough move we had.
- Others couldn’t seem to understand why we were struggling since after all, we were in PA. Apparently, it’s the place of all places to move to.
- And others didn’t really seem to care that much.
I know all of this personally from the responses we’ve heard from others. You see, I was that mom who have heard statements like these during times of our family’s struggles.
- I was that mom who needed help.
- We were that family who moved from the city to a little unknown area all in a hurry. All in a hurry.
- I was that mom whose family packed up in a hurry over 12 years of what they’ve built and moved across country within 1 month.
- We were that family who had no friends and family in the new area.
- We were that family who had a whole big organized house, given a tiny little old house & had to request it to be cleaned before we moved in. It’s true.
- We were that family who had ABSOLUTELY no one to help us move in. NO ONE. We imagined the company would have a team of helpers to help us move in, but no. Tell me something isn’t wrong with that (and now I’m tearing up just writing this).
- I was that mom whose license expired during our move and couldn’t get another one until we had a permanent house (no buses run ran in the area).
- I was that mom who was struggling to get her house organized so we would easily find our belongings and not constantly step over things in the way.
- I was that mom who had to homeschool her kids and didn’t have the help to get the house together on top of the messes.
- I was that mom who, at her wits end, ended up paying over $300 to get house help for a couple of hours one afternoon.
- I was that mom whose kids (and mom) cried for weeks into months because they’d missed their home, friends, church, school, things to do (and no progress seemed to be making here).
- I was that mom, while trying to figure it all out on her own, asked a ton of other moms I met at a little old park behind our house, for ideas of things to do in the area. All I heard was, well there’s not much. Most things are far away. (I won’t even go into details about a few ideas others gave us that just didn’t make much sense to us).
- I was that mom whose spouse had to report to work immediately upon moving and was left to scramble with her children trying to figure it our and to make sense of it all.
- I was that mom who needed a friend to turn to for help. But no one really seemed to care to go deeper.
Tell me, how can “give yourself grace” be the thing to tell that mom who is in such a situation?” She’s telling you, it’s really an overwhelming situation. She’s beckoning for help. Don’t send her off with a “be warmed and filled” and “give yourself grace” and let her hang while you go back to your well-put-together home. Don’t shut her off. Offer your help no matter how small. What if you were in the situation? Or maybe you have been – how did you feel?
Do you have a simple solution she may not have thought about to pulling her house together? Can you help her do a room? Or do you know someone who can (even if you couldn’t)? How could you help?
Sometimes when I think about how our move went I simply want to hide. I want to be mad at someone. I want to rewind and start over (as the kids say). Yes, they say it because they were part of it and have seen how everything went. Moms, women, ladies. . . . I wish I could sit here and explain everything so you could better understand my sentiments. But we’ve been made to subject our thoughts and keep them to ourselves. Oh moms, that in itself makes “the last error worst than the first.” Having to subject your thoughts and feelings for the sake of . . . . is no bueno. Photos: from our temporary housing situation
The Good Samaritan
I’m reminded of the story of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37 that we recently discussed through our 8 year old daughter’s homeschooling assignment. Yes, I know the story from the bible but have not read in a while. It was a good reminder. Jesus used this story to illustrate to a lawyer what a true neighbor looks.
A man lost everything by thieves who also wounded him & left him by the wayside unable to get up. Three men passed by him. Everyone as pious as they were (a Priest & a Levite) walked on the other side when they saw him. They didn’t care to offer their help. But a Samaritan had mercy and compassion on him. He used oil and wine on his wounds, then bound them up, put him on his animal, then brought him to an inn to take care of him. Yet he still wasn’t done. When it was time for him (the Samaritan) to leave the hotel he paid the host to take care of the man. And in the event the money he paid was not enough, he would repay them when he came back to pick him up. Jesus said that of the three passer-byers, the one who was neighbor to the man robbed by thieves was the Good Samaritan.
My point is, be that good neighbor. Don’t assume that mom coming to is another person by the wayside. Don’t assume she’s simply complaining. Don’t assume that she just needs to hear “give yourself grace; you’re doing just fine”. There might be more to her story. Take some time to hear her. The Good Samaritan went out of his way to help the man in need. And even when he needed to leave and couldn’t be there to help him, he had someone else help. Photos of our current basement
Be that Good Samaritan
I’d like to think that the bible calls us to help when we can. Titus admonishes the elder women (more experienced) to teach the younger ones to be good, keepers at home (Titus 2:3-5). Yet that command seems to be far removed from among us lately. Everyone seeks his own. Well, maybe not everyone but at least those I’ve of whom we’ve come in contact through this move.
Are there those who’ve showed an interest in getting to know us? Sure. There are a handful who have invited us into their homes for dinners, play dates. But we’re not sure how far we’re allowed to go with them. The one thing we have learned about the area (from others who have also moved here & from our own experiences) is that there’s difficulty in making new friends. Most focus on friends they’ve known for a long time and keep it that way. Old friends and family are all that matter – there’s isn’t room for new.
I’ve come to realize that all my help comes from the Lord. He alone can help heal my hurts and struggles. He alone can place the right people in our paths to help lift each other up. He alone can and will do that for me. I cling to that hope that He does what He says He will do. Friends, there’s more to the story, but I could only type so much in one post.
As the singer so strongly sings: “I searched the world but it couldn’t fill me”. Man’s empty praise & treasures that fade are never enough.” But God came along and put me back together. He will turn our family’s “mourning to dancing”, our “seas into highways” our “graves into gardens” and give us “beauty for ashes” as He’s the only one who can. We trust and hope in Him. That same God of the mountains will give us that grace and mercy in the valley, no matter where we are. You can listen to this song here.
Bringing It Together
So why did I write this? Because for the past couple of years, I’ve personally felt like people are getting it wrong. I’d show someone my house and they’d say some of the very things mentioned up top without even knowing the rest of the story. I’ve had to hold back from saying anything because I felt they didn’t want to go deeper. I wanted someone to talk with – to confide in and possibly see if they had any idea of how I could get through this. But no one seemed to want to go deeper. I get it. After all, I guess I was a new-comer and maybe they themselves weren’t comfortable with me so maybe I should give grace for that. But let’s not just tell moms or homemakers or women for that fact to “give yourself grace” without knowing what they are going through. Hopefully my photos show why someone saying “give yourself grace” didn’t work out too well for me when we moved and have allowed you to think twice before telling an overwhelmed mom to “give herself grace” without knowing her story. Knowing the story first will help you better understand how to help that mom.
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She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness (Proverbs 31:27).