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I remember the first time our pastor said that there may be times in our lives when we are the ones who will need to be ministered to.
He was talking about the different ministry opportunities in our church and how vital it is to our spiritual growth to minister to others…to give our time, our support, our experience, our love…
But if you are in a place in your life where you are the one who needs ministering to, that is vital to your spiritual growth too and it does not make you any less than.
Don’t live there forever, but if that’s where you are right now, it’s okay to be in that place while you heal.
Whether you’re healing physically, emotionally or spiritually…it is not just okay to let others minister to you, it is necessary.
Have you ever thought badly of someone, who is dealing with cancer, hit pause on their ministry involvement in order to take time to care for their physical health?
So why do we judge others who are dealing with emotional or spiritual hurts? Is it because we can’t see those? Or because we think those kinds of hurts are not as deserving of time to heal? Could it possibly be because we ourselves are dealing with emotional or spiritual hurts but we aren’t asking anyone to give us a break so why should someone else get one?
My husband has been in rehab since January. Not for the first time. He is away from our family, our church, our lives. He is taking care of himself so he can begin this recovery journey from alcoholism …again.
It would be great if I could say I’m taking the time I need to start my journey to healing too…but I’m not. I am here, in the weeds, managing family, work, church,
I would be less than honest if I said I haven’t had to work through some pretty heavy resentment.
A sweet friend told me I needed to give myself time to grieve. Permission to go through those stages.
Grieving is not a word I would have used to describe this year. But sometimes, you need to let someone minister to you.
Once I started thinking about it, I realized I was grieving. Grieving the loss of my husband to alcohol again…even though it wasn’t permanent, it was a loss.
A real, heartbreaking loss.
Denial – I went months denying he was drinking again…and later, denying he really needed to be gone to stop drinking.
Anger – I mean, this is pretty self explanatory, right? I was angry…I still struggle with anger, like when I realized last night that I’ll miss Parent/Teacher conferences again this year and now he won’t be here either…
Bargaining – I was
grudgingly agreeable to perfectly fine with Rob going to rehab if that’s what he really needed – for 90 days or so. 14 months? Can we talk about this? Because. No. I can do 6 months, but that’s about the extent of my patience, so let’s just decide now that he doesn’t need to stay the whole time.
Depression – Y’all. I stayed here. This wasn’t a stage for me. It was where I lived. For months. There are still times I am there. It’s more infrequent, but I think maybe this stage, like anger, is one of those feelings that are harder to move on from and then they pop up again just as soon as you think you’ve passed it.
Acceptance – This summer, Rob and I talked about him coming home early. I was done with him being gone. And. I wasn’t ready for him to come home yet. It’s not a great place to be. Two weeks and some counseling later…it was decided. He was going to finish.
February 25th please come quickly..and also…take your time so I can really be ready for him to come home and he can be really ready to come home.
Why did it take someone else not only telling me I was grieving but also giving me permission to grieve? More than that, insistence to let myself go through all of these stages, in whatever order, however many times it took, with no guilt?
Because when your husband relapses again and your world falls apart, it is not just okay to let others minister to you, it is necessary.
I feel like saying this twice isn’t even enough.
I want you to hear this, not just in your mind, but deep in your heart.
It is not just okay, it is necessary.
If you are in that place where you need ministering to, will you give yourself permission to receive without guilt?
If you are in that place where you see someone who needs ministering to, will you be that for them with no expectations of reciprocation?
Whatever season of life you’re in, it is a valid season and God is there with you. He is surrounding you with the right people to walk with you.
If you feel alone, if you need someone to walk beside you, encouraging and lifting you up, just ask. It’s hard…to ask. I know…I know so much…
Pray about it. Sit quietly and think about the people in your circle. That quiet friend who texts you prayers instead of posting them on Facebook. That social friend who always invites you for coffee, no matter how many times you say no. That outside circle friend who is always encouraging others.
Whatever your need looks like, whatever type of person you need, look around you. God has placed that exact person in your life.
And when you are ready, maybe you won’t even have to ask. Maybe someone will walk up beside you. Maybe someone already has.
Because when this season passes and you have made it through to the other side, someone who needs exactly what you can give will be in the middle of their season and it will be your time to minister to them.
And you can tell them….
It is not just okay, it is necessary…