She held my hand for stability as she stepped out of the shower. I wrapped the towel around her and started to pat her body dry, gently wiping the towel down her back and rubbing off the water down her legs.
“Should I put my lotion on?” She asked with uncertainty, a hesitancy that always comes when your world is spinning and you need assurance with what to do next.
“Of course! Where is it? Let’s do this.”
She reached for the bottle with her one working arm and I opened it for her, handing it back so she could squeeze the correct portion into my hands. I started to rub the lotion down her one exposed arm and then proceeded to cover her body with the needed moisture.
Allowing a friend to not only see you naked but rub lotion all over your body- well, that takes bold. daring. trust.
We have that together. We’ve walked miles down hard roads, dangled off steep cliffs, and pulled one another up from unexpected slop on the ground. We’re sisters. What’s a little nakedness, when you’ve traveled to hell and back, hand in hand, quite a few times?
“Let me get that cute bottom of yours, ya little hottie!”
She laughed. She knows my kind of crazy- Using inappropriate behavior to lessen the pain, lighten the intensity of the moment. I do this often, as all my friends could probably share, ahem, stories.
“Hey, do you need a suppository in there, while I’m here?” I asked as I lubed her cute bottom, knowing this question would surely raise our happy level a bit higher.
Almost two decades earlier, she had offered to put a suppository in my BUTT. Yes, you read that right. Can you even imagine? I know. I was struggling on the other side of the bathroom door, crying in pain and doped up on narcotics, trying to get my bowels to move after having foot surgery. The doctor gave me suppositories to help with this massive issue, and I just couldn’t do it. I was a hot mess and she was there. Offering to stick a pill up my butt.
Without question, I knew she would.
But there was no way I would allow her the trauma of allthingsbutt. I mean, friends can only go so far. Amiright? Rub lotion on the butt? Check. Stick pill UP butt? Nope.
After a biking accident, my beloved friend ended up having a 6-inch plate and 11 screws to hold her broken bones together in her arm.
This was going to be a long haul. An agonizing recovery. Her active lifestyle had come to a screeching halt just days ago. She was broken and unable to shower alone. I was honored to dive into the slop to pull her up.
I helped her get dressed, and sort through clothes she would be able to wear, then drove her to the pharmacy to fill up on much-needed pain medicine.
This is what friends do.
They offer to care for you- and sometimes that means some serious care. Not just a home cooked meal, or a sweet card. Not just a supportive phone call, or a much-needed hug.
Sometimes, true friends show up to dive into the gritty, raw, stripped-down, unmasked, bare-naked, vulnerable reality of our suffering.
Have you been there? Falling face first into a situation or circumstance that leaves you stuck in sticky, slimy, suffocating slop?
I know- and I’m sure you do too- just what that feels like.
It’s all about simply trying to survive.
Your slop may be an addiction, divorce, abuse, overdose, depression, suicide, loss, or any other traumatic tragedy.
There’s a lot of slop in this world.
But here’s the thing… “Friends are God’s way of taking care of us.”
A beloved friend gifted me with these words framed many years ago, and it has been on my windowsill ever since.
Do you believe that saying?
Are you celebrating the sisters in your life, as you read this? Are you too, reflecting on all the times your friends have shown up to dive into your life’s messes to help pull you out of the slop?
Oh, friend, I hope and pray you are.
We need each other.
Sister support is not only desirable, but I believe it is critical.
Girls, we do not ask for help enough.
What is it that keeps you from reaching out to ask for help?
Is it shame? Do you think your slop is too stinky? Too slippery, possibly putting others at risk to fall?
And if you have girlfriends in your life who love you, they’d wade through any slop to save you.
Let me reiterate without my hashtag obsession…
It’s NOT about the slop. It’s about YOU. And let’s be real, okay?
We ALL got slop.
Then there are the gals who don’t want to inconvenience anyone with their requests for help.
They often say, “There are so many other people who need help more than I!”
How many times have you thought that very thing?
How many times have you decided to ‘go it alone’ because you just know there are so many others who need help more than you?
Do you want to know the truth?
That’s accurate and utterly wrong.
It’s accurate because OF COURSE there are other people who need help more! My gosh, there will ALWAYS be other people who need help. Have you seen this world? We are surrounded by people who need help more than us. I get it, I really do. I’ve thought this very thing, hundreds of times. BUT…
We are utterly wrong in assuming and believing we don’t deserve help. We are completely mistaken to think that our plight, our burden, our pain, is not worthy of attention. We are deceived in presuming our needs and our struggles are not credible compared to others. What makes you less valuable to God than others who are facing tragic circumstances?
God wants to take care of you, too.
Through your friends.
He can’t if you don’t ask.
You see, God may be all-knowing-
But your beautiful sisters?
It’s up to you to reach out when you are in need of help.
Push past the shame of your situation. Pull away from the guilt in believing others need help more.
It’s hard, I know.
It feels weird and unnatural, I know.
But guess what’s on the other side of this awkward, cringe-worthy step?
Friends who will bless you with their help. Relationships that will grow deeper.
Sisters who do hard things together.
Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
and has no one to help them up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 (NIV)
And the greatest twist in this scenario that you tend to forget?
THEY are blessed by helping you.
Don’t believe me?
When was the last time you helped a sister out? Think about it. Stay there for a while and replay the scenes. What are you feeling right now? What are you thinking?
I’m going to bet my Costco size Starbucks French Roast ground coffee bag, that you feel pretty dang good about that.
I bet you’re even smiling to yourself, thanking God you could show up for that friend. I bet you are realizing how important it was for you to be there for her and fresh gratitude is washing over you as you catch your breath, perhaps shed a tear, and thank God for the beauty that rises in these broken moments.
When I think back on all the times I showed up and dove into the slop to serve a friend, I revel in the remarkable blessings of those moments.
I treasure the calling to do God’s work.
I bet you do too.
When we’re faced with hard things, we don’t have to do it alone.
God never expected that.
He calls us to serve, to love, to care for those in need.
He also wants us to receive.
His provisions are there for our taking.
Don’t turn Him away.
Don’t ignore His offering.
You have His Hands and Feet awaiting your call.
Reach out, sister.
Don’t do it alone.
Friends are God’s way of taking care of us.
Call on them.
A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for a time of adversity. Proverbs 17:17 (NIV)
And if you are recovering from injury, surgery, or illness, please make sure to buy my book on Amazon. I promise to help if you reach out and get it, open it up and read through the pages…