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When it comes to mothers and daughters, it is easy to get into counting favors…or lack of favors that we perceive the other one isn’t doing for us.

Generally, that is what gets us in such a funk!  It’s not thinking and appreciating what the other person has done for us over a lifetime, but how she is failing us now, when we think we need help…or feel overwhelmed.

Or maybe we have given up on our own mom.  She may have even died already…or in some other way, may be gone from our lives.  We realize she is not available for us in terms of support…either emotional, spiritual or physical.  (I tucked that link in for those of you who have had issues in this arena.  This writer has been very helpful to me.  This will give you help re her story.)

At this point, we may look around us for other resources.  Then we look to our church.  If we are older and facing difficulty, this is often where we turn if we have had any church involvement over the years.  If we are young and have some relationship with a church, we may have considered this as an avenue for support now when we are facing difficulties.  

The problems may be relatively small as in having small children and starting to feel overwhelmed by the demands on us that we realize are more than we can manage.  No, they don’t feel small at the time!  Or how their demands are affecting our marriage…and the time we would like to spend with our husband like we once did.  

Or it may be that all the demands of adulthood are hitting us and we just want to crawl in a hole with our blankey and return to childhood when we had few responsibilities…both old and young feel that way at times!  

We may be in the middle of life dealing with some health issues as well as problems related to both our children and our parents…better known as the sandwich generation!  If menopause is in the mix as well, it gives new meaning to the word overwhelmed!

No matter where we are in the above scenarios, we often find ourselves looking to other people and consciously or not, making demands on them.  If we are older, we want other people to listen to our concerns and help us.  If we are younger, we want others to listen to our concerns and help us.  Whoops!  Somewhere along the way, there is going to be a problem here!  No one is going to be truly listening and no one is going to plan on helping!  We are going to have two very human beings reaching out to each other for help and disappointing each other by a large margin!

Part of the problem each of us has is that we don’t stop and realize how NOT unique we are at any given moment.  We are not the only people in the world with problems, concerns and feelings of being overwhelmed.  This is common to everyone at different times in our lives.  Generally, the younger we are, the less likely we are to realize how not unique our situation is, but difficulties are a normal, common part of life.

We don’t realize that the person who is a great listener is not always the person who can be the most help in the everyday.  Often the person who listens actively, asks good questions, helps you look honestly at yourself and your problems, may only be able to minister in that way to you.

When you talk to someone who helps you well in this way, don’t expect her to help you in all the other ways you think you need help.  By actively listening to you, she may be doing all she can do…expecially if she does it on a regular basis with other people.  Don’t underestimate the help she is.

Recognize the help this person is and don’t pour out all your problems on everyone.  Choose 1 or 2 wise people with whom to discuss hard things, count on them to ask hard questions, to be honest with you, and to be wise in the few things they tell you.  You won’t always like what they have to say, but if it squares with GOD’s Word, think on it, use the GOD-given discernment He has given you and if you have a spouse, Him as well.  Then move forward in the direction the advice in concert with GOD’s Word and your spouse take you.

Sometimes, the people who help you with the everyday things like watching kids, organizing, logistics of various kinds, won’t be great listeners.  They are busy helping a lot of people, they can’t always listen.  Realize they love by serving…but also, don’t take advantage of them.  They also have responsibilities too.

When I write this, I can also think of exceptions, of course.  But often, when people are suffering, they think of one-stop solutions to complex problems.  They want the convenience of going to one person to resolve all their problems.  That rarely is possible…it rarely wise or healthy either!

Complex problems that have taken time to develop will not be untangled in a day or a week!

The more complex the problems, the more difficult it can be to get them untangled.  We would like to have one conversation and solve everything.  That rarely happens.  And oh yes, we want all of it to be free, preferably painless of course!  I can promise, there will always be a cost.  Always!

And there is a cost to not changing.

It costs us to change and it costs NOT to change.  So, we are caught on the horns of a dilemma.

That is what the dilemma of suffering is all about.  GOD intrudes in our lives to show us that the way our lives are going is not the way we need to keep going!  For His reasons, we are not to keep going in the same trajectory.  He is introducing motivation for us to change…something few of us truly want to do.  It is uncomfortable, often unpleasant.  It changes our priorities, our desires, even our goals.

Think of how He motivated His people to change.  (See my post that is coming this Sunday.  I can’t link to it yet.)

Once the change rock starts rolling, it picks up things with it that are unexpected.  It pulls up roots, knocks things over, crushes possessions, and leads us to people and places we don’t expect!  Yes, it can be painful…but over time, it will clear the way to the life GOD has planned for us that is…glorious!

Is it pain-free?  No!  But it is glorious and beautiful and in the same way art is…that has shadows and texture…dark shades and bright ones.  But all of them together create something that is beautiful

Are you in the middle of the painful part of change?

Hang onto GOD!  He will provide those who will encourage you and teach you through the process you need.  They may not come in the packages you expect.  They may not come in the human packages you wanted.  Sometimes, they may not come in human packages at all!  But He will provide the needs He knows you have.

Sorry for the long one today.  I tried to break it up, but couldn’t figure out where to do it:(  You’ll have Thursday for finish it!