Friday, February 26, 2016

Are We Helpful, or Harmful?

So, I've had a pile of thoughts running through my heart lately.  I'm about to spill some of them out on this post, and hopefully, you'll be able to make some sense of it ;).

I am not a very helpful person.  I'm just not.  I WANT to be helpful!  I assume we all do!  But, executing helpful acts or words..... I'm just not good at that.  I want to change.  So, I'm going to tell you a little story about why I'm even thinking about this.....

Just in case you're new to the blog, or don't know me in real life, we have 5 beautiful kids.  Their ages are 5, 4, 2, 1, and 6 months.  Our family doesn't seem that large to us, but let me assure you, we get LOTS of attention when we go into public.  It can be humorous at times.  Sometimes, not so funny.

 A few weeks ago, I was running errands with the kids, and it was really cold outside.  I did what we always do, and parked near the shopping cart return, loaded a few kids into an empty cart, and had the other three pick a spot on the cart to hold onto.  They know, this is "their spot" until we return to the vehicle and I tell them to hop in and buckle up.  They do pretty well.  Sometimes, we need a reminder or two :).  Anyway, this particular trip, I was thinking how well we were making our way into the store, when another customer exiting the store noticed us.  She went into complete panic.  The poor woman ran to us, put her shopping bags into my cart (not noticing she'd laid them right on my baby, who was snuggled inside her car seat carrier), and tried to pick up our 2 year old, Mia, while yelling, loud enough to draw even more attention, "Oh, Honey!  Let me help you!!! You have your hands full, don't you!?!?!?!?"

You may remember my post a few weeks ago about Mia having a prolonged complex seizure.  Although, the Lord completely healed her body, her little heart is now very timid.  She can't take an overload of stimulation, too many people make her uncomfortable, and she definitely does NOT go to strangers.  And here was this lady, yelling about helping, and trying to grab her up before I could respond.  I protested in the kindest way possible, but when she insisted that she "would help me," I had to pick Mia up myself, and then try to maneuver the cart, which contained two kids, a diaper bag, and this lady's purchases, out of the parking lot so the waiting traffic could continue on their ways.  Not helpful.

The whole scene was awkward, got the older three kids upset, had us standing in the freezing, way longer than I wanted to, and I got a little irritated.  I was so frustrated the whole way through the store, still driving my cart one handed.  Especially, when three more people made the way too common, "Boy, you have your hands full!" comment.  Ugh!   Note: The lady and I were kind to each other.  I thanked her for trying to help, explained the kids aren't allowed to have anyone hold them, and hoped she'd have a great day.  Hopefully, she didn't notice my agitation.  I'm just sharing it with you guys, because I love y'all!  So, don't think we had a big fight in front of the Piggly Wiggly.  'Cause we didn't :).  

But, then, I tried to look at things from that woman's perspective.  Just because it isn't out of the ordinary for me to go somewhere with five young kids in tow, doesn't mean it's ordinary for that woman to see a little family like ours.  She saw a mom with five young kids and she wanted to be helpful.  She obviously had no idea that it would take Mia several hours to work past a stranger trying to pick her up in a parking lot.  She had no idea that we have our own little system of getting in and out of places that works just fine for us.  And part of the problem could have honestly been... well... me.  Accepting help is so, so, so difficult for me.

So, then, while driving back home and feeling bad for having to force a smile at that poor lady while we worked together to remove her bags from my baby's head, I tried to think about how I attempt to be helpful to other people, and if I truly am being helpful or unintentionally causing harm.  I thought of all the people who truly do offer help to me at just the right times, and wondered how they know when to step in and when to step back.  It's kind of been bothering me since that day in the parking lot.  I want to be helpful and encouraging to others when they are in need.  I just have no clue what to do sometimes.

So, here we sit, typing this post.  How do you know when and how to help someone?  How do you know what to say when someone is hurting or when to stay quiet?  I know there are times when things are obvious.  But sometimes, we KNOW someone is going through a trial, but the answers aren't so easy to see.  Let's help each other learn how to be more encouraging to those around us.  If you have wisdom to share, or even how someone else has been helpful to you, leave a comment here, or on our Facebook page.  Wouldn't it be amazing, if we could be the answer to someone else's prayer for help?  What if we could ease someone's burden that they've been carrying far too long?  Don't we want to do that for each other?  Whether a stranger or a neighbor, all of us walk through storms and suffering.  We all need a little encouragement sometimes, don't we?


  1. We've had a lot of the same comments... People stare when we go out lol! I've never had anyone try to help like that though! Our kids are 8, 6,almost 5, 3,1, and 6 months.

    1. Aww! Such fun ages!!! I think I was having an "off" day, and maybe should have been more gracious to her lol. I learned a good lesson tho, and if it happens again, I might try harder to find something the other person can help with :)

  2. We've had a lot of the same comments... People stare when we go out lol! I've never had anyone try to help like that though! Our kids are 8, 6,almost 5, 3,1, and 6 months.