I’m sending this email to you to ask you to pray for our family. We have recently discovered that my mom has Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.
At the moment she is in New York with my younger brother. On Tuesday I will join them in New York. Then on Saturday I will take my mom home.
Please pray that we will have wisdom to do the most helpful, kind thing for my mom. Also please pray that I will make good connections with people who can help in Colorado. Through it all, please pray that we do not lose sight of heaven.
This is all a great challenge on many fronts.
Blessings, Afton Rorvik
This email became my first cry for help, my first admission that I needed and wanted companions on this as-yet-unknown journey. But even as I sent out that email, I questioned myself. Had I asked too much from friends to enter with me into this horrific situation? I have never asked for help well. I am much more comfortable helping than receiving help.
Why do I think I have to keep my weaknesses to myself? Perhaps it comes down to thinking that I will honor God more by talking about His good work in my life rather than what I struggle to understand. Yet, throughout the Bible, I read about many imperfect men and women.
When the Apostle Paul wrote about his weakness, he concluded, “For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:10, NIV). What a paradox. Paul, a well-educated, godly man, seemed to have a direct line to God. And yet he also had a personal weakness, something he called a “thorn in the flesh.” Whatever it was, Paul did not try to pretend it away. He openly acknowledged it.
My “Help!” email generated a lot of responses, including one from a friend, Roberta, whom I met in English class during our first year of junior high. During our teenage years I spent a lot of time at her house and even more time on the phone talking to her. (I still have her phone number memorized!) Although neither one of us settled in our hometown, we somehow managed to stay in touch over many decades, largely due to Roberta’s regular, newsy, and thoughtful letters.
I’m sure it helps to see your mom in person and to be able to give her a hug and see with your own eyes how she is feeling. Please give her an extra hug from me, too. You might tell her that I was thinking of her so much last Friday when I was sitting next to a karate mom that knit just the way your mom taught me.
I know that your family misses you, but that you need to be right where you are right now.
You are all in our prayers. Keep on keeping on . . .
Back in the days of acne and braces, I had no idea that I would make a lifetime friend. Roberta, who long ago listened to me go on and on about boys, now willingly listened to me as I wrote and talked on the phone about the pain of watching my mother suffer. Roberta had watched her own father die from cancer a few years earlier. She knew so well the ache of watching a parent decline.
What strength friendship provides.
Wise King Solomon knew this: “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, NLT).
Where do you fall on the spectrum of letting friends help you? Do you struggle with admitting your need? What keeps you from saying something? Take a moment now and ask God to help you embrace your weakness so that He can show Himself strong in it.
Excerpted from Storm Sisters by Afton Rorvik.