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…
“Help and Hope While You’re Healing: A woman’s guide toward wellness while recovering from injury, surgery, or illness.”
Kelly L McKenzie says
I just needed to pull that slightly out of reach weed and then I’d be done. I could get out of the heat and have a restorative glass of cool water. With my back aching from a solid hour of bending, stretching, bending and pulling, I spread my legs wide and then bent over. My back no longer hurt and I was in the backyard where no one could see me! And then, just as I grabbed at the weed, it happened. It was as if I’d been zapped by a cattle prod. Long story short – I was in deep trouble. My 10 hour flight to Frankfurt and the kickoff to a month’s meet up with my daughter was in 7 days and I was only pain free when walking. But I couldn’t walk to the physio or Frankfurt. I had to summon help. I swallowed my pride and shared the need. Without the help from friends and family I would have had to cancel. You’re right Chris, friends are a godsend.
I’m now off to call a pal who I know is in need. Thank you for the nudge.
Kelly, this is such an incredible story and testimony to sisters diving into the slop! I can’t believe you had to endure such a grueling injury RIGHT before your trip… it’s incredible that you made it. I LOVE that you ‘swallowed my pride’ and reached out. I swear we women are so SO stubborn sometimes, aren’t we? I’m so glad this nudged you to reach out to another friend. LOVE that. <3
Lizzi Lewis says
Awesome awesome post Kitty. I love it. And you. ❤️❤️❤️
My heart LEPT when I saw your comment, Tigger. I love you. Thanks for reading this and for your friendship. I would totally offer to help with the suppository for you, if you were nearby. <3
I love this Christine! It convicts me a bit too as I think I could help out my friends more besides just an encouraging phone call. I’m passing this post along to a few of my friends too. Why do us sisters have a hard time asking for help especially when we really want to bless each other?
I’m so glad this spoke to you, Lynn, and that you are passing it on to your friends. We are such ‘do it alone’ kind of people- And yet, we all want to be there for others when they are hurting, so why can’t we ask for help when we are hurting? We are stubborn souls. lol.
Jorjann C says
Your blog continues to cut thru the muck and mire of life’s slop. And ever so blessedly let me know that God’s Love truly radiates through and in our friends.
An ol saying
” A friend in need is a friend in deed.”
Prayers of healing for all recovering no matter the cause of the slop.
Ah, I’m so glad you were moved by this important message, my friend. I love how you described my blog. You are a blessing to ME.
“A friend in need is a friend in deed.” Prayers always for those in the slop. I hope they can read this post and be inspired to reach out. <3
Allison G smith says
I don’t know where I would be in my life today without my friends. They’re everything to me. You’re very lucky to have such a good friend in your life Christine. Beautiful piece.
I’m SO glad you have friends like this too, Allison. I am incredibly blessed with many friends who would stick a suppository up my butt- yes, more than one would do that! I’m not sure this should be the defining measurement of good friends though. LOL I’m so glad you took the time to read this. I SO appreciate you. (And miss your writing!)
Janine Huldie says
Aw, I love your message here and agree friends are truly god’s way of being there and looking out for us. So, couldn’t agree more and truly beautiful and inspirational message here today. Thanks for the beautiful reminder here 😉
Thanks so much Janine. I think so many of us don’t reach out enough. I hope this message is a good reminder for all!
Marie Kléber says
What a beautiful message you are sharing with us today Chris!
I am so bad at asking for help. Thought you’re right friends are a gift from God and I know they would do anything in their power to help and just be here, support us when we need them the most, make us laugh when we feel like crying all the time, make us feel special.
It’s SO inspiring.
YOU are inspiring
Thank you so much. Love from sunny Paris.
Sweet Marie, you are NOT alone in being ‘bad at asking for help’. I hope you have amazing, generous, and loving friends who would be there in a hot minute to help you, my friend. I know you would do the same for your friends. Your heart is BEAUTIFUL. XO
Brandi Lytle says
I love that God’s timing is always perfect, and I needed to read this today. I have a friend who recently received very bad medical news. She texted this morning from her doctor’s appointment. We live halfway across the country from each other and it breaks my heart that I can’t do more than the encouraging phone call or sweet card at this time. I am going to send this article to her, though. I want to remind her to reach out to her friends (near and far) and ask for the help she needs. And I’d appreciate your prayers for my very bestest friend who is a sister to me. (We’ve known each other for 35 years!) I love her and am so sad that she is currently in the slop…
Oh that is so painful to know a friend you love is suffering and you simply cannot be there! I’m sure your long distance support means everything to her and I hope she takes this message to heart and reaches out to her local friends for help. Praying for your bestie, Brandi. I’m so sorry.
Christy Prokop says
This is such a beautiful post and I am the lucky one to be on the receiving end of our relationship. Your words reach so many people as they are touching, authentic, experienced, funny, and loving. God has gifted you with the ability to write and we all benefit!!!
First of all, I LOVE seeing your last name on here!! AH!! I can’t even begin to describe my joy about that. Secondly- I LOVE YOU. You are amazing. My gosh, I am in tears reading your beautiful comment!
We are so blessed. US- I thank God for us every day.
As usual, beautiful words of encouragement here. And so needed, too! Our friends are used by God daily to minister to us.
P.S. Totally laughing about the suppository.
Ah thanks Katy. “Our friends are used by God daily to minister to us.” <-- love that. <3 And I know right? We still laugh at this together!
Julie J Severson says
As I wrote yesterday, I’m stunned by the beauty and honesty of this post. I can’t wrap my brain around it, actually. I honestly don’t know if I’ve known this sort of friendship that you describe, except for my biological sisters. I have six of them, and we do share that closeness and intimacy. I am one of those who will rarely ask for help, though, not wanting to “burden” another. Your heart is so amazing, Christine. I laughed and cried reading this post twice. It’s been lingering and swirling in me since I read it last night.
Ah, my beautiful friend… I have read your comment three times now- just amazed and grateful for your honesty, your encouragement, and your response to this message. I’m so glad you have your sisters. And you are not alone in not wanting to ‘burden’ others- but I hope this continues to speak to your heart and challenge you to reach out more to those friends whom you trust. You are such a beautiful soul! What a huge blessing it would be to have such an intimate bond with others- both for you and for them! PS: If we lived close, I have a good feeling WE would have that bond. I would absolutely lube you and stick the suppository if needed. 🙂 (I mean it.)
Alison Hector says
I stand guilty of feeling that my issues aren’t worthy of the support of friends. Lots of unlearning to do, Chris. Friends truly are God’s hands and feet here on earth. Thanks for the reminder, dear!
You’re not alone, Alison. I’m glad to give you that nudge! We all need each other. Reach out and be blessed by it! <3
Mary McLaurine says
Just love this so much! All of it is spot on. Those of us lucky enough to bask in the light of your friendship are truly blessed. <3
Girl, you know I feel the same way about you! I love that we can swim in our slops, pulling each other up for air- on the regular. I am SO BLESSED by your friendship. SO incredibly blessed. (I’d definitely stick a suppository up your butt, if need be. Just sayin’.)
Candace Playforth says
Such a beautiful friendship you have, Chris. You are so right that we just don’t reach out enough. I’m definitely guilty of this. While I raised my kids, I let friendships fade out. I really wish I’d made some different choices there as my kids are now older and not in need of that constant care that keeps us so busy. I’m working on rebuilding those kind of lotion rubbing friendships you so beautifully articulate here ;). Much love to you, my friend!
I think so many moms just don’t have the energy or time to invest in friendships when drowning in those early days of parenting! I’m just glad you are investing your efforts in those rich friendships now, Candace. They are truly God’s way of taking care of us. <3
Kristi Campbell says
I love that you have friends like this, where an offer of a suppository up a butt is a real one, and met with grace and laughter. I agree that friends are so so important. I know that I neglected to farm friendships when Tucker was younger – I felt so betrayed by one good friend who no longer wanted to hang out with us when we started going to doctor’s visits and stuff…that I closed off a bit. I think I’ve opened back up and do of course have my two best friends from college, my online friends, and some (one) really great one(s) in this neighborhood!
Oh those early years of motherhood can be especially hard- and having to endure challenges with your sweet boy probably made it even more difficult- and then to feel betrayed by a friend during that time? I can imagine how painful that was, Kristi. I’m so sorry, friend. I’m SO glad you have those beloved friends in your life both online and in real life too. You deserve them all. <3
Hi Chris! Your post reminded me of the time I went to help my girlfriend after her shoulder surgery. The shower, the lotion, helping with her hair and getting dressed…all so familiar. No suppository though. But as you said, she’s my friend, so yes, I’d do that too.
Our ability to walk and talk and care is all God needs to employ us in powerful ways. No real expertise needed, just a caring heart and a sense of humor, and girl, you got that in spades. your friend is blessed by your care. And you know what? Someday, she might just pass it on too.
Thanksgiving blessings to you! May God’s blessings be in and around your table as you thank him for his blessings,
Ceil, I am so incredibly blessed to have many friends who pass it on… So many beautiful and generous souls who would do the ‘suppository’ push if needed. lol 🙂
I love that you had a similar experience with your friend. And yes- all we need is to be available and God will surely use us to be His hands and feet. Have a blessed Thanksgiving my friend!
I definitely have friends who I’d help with a suppository! What a funny and touching story.
I wouldn’t think twice, and I think I’ve been there. I have trouble showing weakness myself, though.
What an awesome post. Friendship is always on my mind, but more so lately.
I love that you have friends that would help with a suppository too, Tamara! Those are the true friends… 🙂 And yes, asking for help- is so hard to do… Showing weakness, ack. But we all need help every now and then, don’t we?
My Inner Chick says
–I def. have a few of my “Root Friends” who
would give me a suppository or wine or pray continually w/ me.
But none, still, as Kay would have.
Luv U. xx
I’m not surprised you have these kinds of friends, love. And I’m definitely not surprised to know that Kay would even surpass you. And now my eyes tear…
lisa thomson says
I LOVE this so much, Chris. yes, I recall feeling really great about helping a friend in her time of need. And it was pretty bad but I WANTED to help. I have to learn to reach out more. I know this is an older post but I just had to comment anyway because I loved it so much!
Hillary Ibarra says
Christine, this is a great post – a little uncomfortable at first, but you demonstrate just what it means to be Christ for others, what He demonstrated to His disciples at the Last Supper.
What a blessing friends are in our lives! I agree that we all need to be better reaching out to the friends God has given us, because didn’t Jesus also need help carrying His cross up the hill of Calvary?
Thank you for the encouragement!
Ha! Yes, that scene is probably a little TMI Hillary, but it’s real. And I think we all need to strip ourselves of the superficial facades and dive deep into serving other sisters in the slop- and sometimes, it might look like bathing someone who’s injured.
I LOVE your reminder about Jesus needing help carrying the cross up the hill of Calvary. What a powerful picture of this message.
Thank you so much for reading this old piece and for your thoughtful comment!