My husband said I looked like a pro athlete limping off the field as he watched me shuttle through our front door. I was in pain.

First the pain was physical, as days then weeks unfolded it was the emotional pain that swept in like a tidal wave.

I’ve had fits and spurts of exercise habits. In this particular season it was roller blading that was keeping my body in motion. I had been chastised more than a handful of times for not wearing ALL of the protective garb.

Helmet check.

Knee pads check.

Wrist guards…well there was my demise.

I knew it was bad even before my eyes connected to where I had braced my fall. It’s an incredible truth that our instinct to protect ourselves takes action without the direction of a thought from our minds. Human nature is real.

In the split second that it took my eyes to lock onto the elephant sized bulge that was once my wrist, the shock had already sedated my pain.

There are baskets full of moments that I collected from this pain that still continue to teach me various lessons. It was a season where I felt I lived outside of time, each painful turn of the saga seemed to last an eternity. What was the story being told? If you’ve experienced acute pain of any kind, physical or emotional, I hope you’ve found its purpose. A pragmatic acceptance of pain will keep you in kindergarten.

It takes courage to glean life lessons from our pain.


One of those lessons for me was humility. It’s an interesting exercise to survey the definition of humility from those you know. I was of the camp that humility was the absence of pride at the time, that was until I gleaned from the classroom of life.

Now having incapacitated my right arm from my fingers to elbow, daily chores had me in tears. I loathed my need for help. That was until I really needed it.

I can’t recall the circumstances exactly that put me in this bind, what I do recall was the need for a bath and washing of my hair. I must have been in dyer need for a good scrub to ask for his help. And by his I’m referring to my son who was 12 years old at the time. I thought I could do it myself, only to find out midway that I needed some help. So there I was, in all of my naked frailty, relying on the boy, who’s bottom I used to clean, to help me wash my hair.

Now I possess a new definition of humility. An experienced definition.

I define humility as our humanness exposed with dignity. A human who’s suffering is wrapped with dignity is humble. Humility is our strength controlled for meaning and purpose.

Suffering is a part of life, why not winnow our suffering for courage and allow our pain to have purpose?

For those of you who are in pain, don’t let it go to waste.

Be strong and courageous.

8 thoughts on “Relying on the boy who’s bottom I used to clean

  1. I heard once “Oh, Lord, don’t let me waste the pain” and “where is the pearl in the pain” both of which I say quite a bit. The gift of being older in Christ (18 years now) is my personal “walk” history, and the evidence of the faithful mentors who went before me. MOST OF ALL our Precious Saviour WHO wasted not a moment of HIS PAIN!!!

    1. Toni-I have a pretty decent scar on my right wrist. My husband says I wear the scars of my Master – intimacy in the pain my friend. He whispered the sweetest secrets to me during that time – despite my immaturity. We’re only human – He can handle our weakness.

  2. It’s hard to ask for help. It’s my one “thing” that I haven’t even tried to change. I was raised to “do it alone”. I love helping others, but to ask for help is to open a big hole of insecurity for me. I’m alone, I have no one. They will say no. No one will step up. These are lies I tell myself…but it happens. When my youngest were toddlers I needed help. So much help. I had no one besides my husband. He is a huge help. Like I have tried to do it without him and realize, no, he does A LOT! Although I’m thankful for him, and I DO accept his help, that is where it ends. To ask your son for help was such a touching moment. A great reminder that we are species who need each other. When did it evolve that we as moms were supposed to do everything perfectly on our own without help?

    1. Molly-When the kids are little that’s the worst. I needed help too – and I was lonely. I joined a babysitting co-op to try and meet this need – it helped a bit. I learned a lot from being around other moms. That evolved to learning to share a carpool etc. Since our history goes so far back I think we both know where a lot of that “do it all yourself” came from. I’m glad you have such a supportive husband – what a gift. Everyone in my house had an opportunity to help me with bath time when I shattered my wrist. I hope you find one small thing to ask your people to help you with – it opens the door for them to feel the value of serving others. Love you. 💛

  3. It’s easier for me to do it myself when it comes to many things, rather than ask for help. This is an area where I had to learn to give in when there was no alternative, during times of sickness, after knee surgery, etc. This past weekend I heard Katherine Wolf (HOPE HEALS) speak at a women’s conference. As a 26 year old mom of a six month old, with a husband just ready to graduate from law school, she had a massive stroke in her brain stem, which took almost two years of hospitalization/long-term rehab and several surgeries to recover as much as she has. She is left with many disabilities, and therefore needs a tremendous amount of help each day from her husband and others. She talked about how learn during times of suffering and having HOPE in the Lord. We all need the Lord and others to help us along in life. Thanks again, Melissa, for sharing from your heart!

    1. Karen-I wish that I could say, “oh yay God, thank you for this affliction, I know you have something for me and want to speak to me, and love me, and heal me…” instead it’s just like getting called into the Principal’s office – I am immediately flooded with negative emotions. Principal’s who really know their kids also call them into their office just to say “well done” too. I am reminded that this reveals my view of God often. He is gracious to work with me. Love you friend.

      We women need to remember although we were made to give and nurture and love – as His daughters we were made to receive.

  4. I’m with Molly! I love to be a helper. But asking for help is so difficult, receiving it gracefully also a challenge. Six months of cancer treatment has taught me that people WANT to help, and allowing them to serve me is as much a gift to them as it is to me. Its an exercise in humility though.

    Asking my kids to help me wash my hair… I’m not so sure. 🙂

    I’ve recently started seeing a counsellor because there is a post-treatment “pain” I’m experiencing (emotional and spiritual, not physical) that I’m having trouble identifying, labeling, understanding. Together with the counsellor, I’m asking God to speak to me through it–help me to understand what is to be gleaned from it. So, this email and topic is timely, once again.

    1. Janine-👏🏻 applause for going to a counselor to help you sort through, so you can move through and gain wisdom from the pain. Chapter 3 – Name the Narrative in NRT, which I’m sure you are reading. What you all don’t know is that you are all counselors for me. This banter we do back and forth really helps me understand what I feel about all things (painful, hard, etc.) that require courage. You inspire 💛

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