When Friends Fall Asleep

One of the first signs of genuine desperation is the cry for help.

If you’re a regular reader you may remember the story of the near drowning of my husband and daughter. That day was one I will never forget. But it would have been much harder if they had drowned because Benny didn’t cry out for help.

Truly desperate people instinctively and unashamedly scream for help. Benny wasn’t too proud or embarrassed to admit he couldn’t handle the situation on his own. The ocean was threatening his and our daughter’s lives and he knew he wouldn’t make it without assistance…fast.

How many moms do you know that regularly yell for help?

The excuses are many and common:

  • Everyone is so busy with their own lives and kids. I don’t want to bother them.
  • This will pass. I’m just having a rough day…week…month…year.
  • I’m probably over-reacting and need to get it together. After all, moms deal with this kind of stuff all the time.
  • I just can’t let people know about my anger. And my mom was angry a lot and I turned out okay. The kids will be fine, I’m sure.
  • I love being a mom; it’s just that sometimes I have really mean thoughts about my kids that I know other moms don’t have. Talking about it won’t help anyway.

One afternoon a few years back I was struggling with fear and heartache over a situation involving one of my kids. Honestly, I didn’t want to disclose my struggles with anyone. There was a strange sort of comfort in keeping the pain inside because in the past my admissions of weakness and struggle hadn’t resulted in the kind of response for which I had hoped. I was afraid to risk being vulnerable again.



Then I remembered Jesus. In His time of desperation He asked the disciples to pray for Him, then retreated in the garden to pour out His heart to His father. He returned to find his friends sleeping. How could they have fallen asleep when the One they had loved and followed for years needed them most? And this happened not just once, but twice!

What did Jesus do? He understood. “The spirit is willing,” He said. “But the flesh is weak.” Rather than react angrily or in self-pity to his friends (which is certainly what I would have done!) He acknowledged their weakness.

What if Benny had cried for help on the beach that day but no one had responded? At least he would have died screaming.

After I remembered Jesus that day I got out my computer and typed a cry for help to a few close friends. I didn’t have the strength or desire to talk — I just wanted someone to pray. I was blessed to get heartfelt responses from each person saying they would pray for me. I’m sure they did.

But like I’ve done to others, they “fell asleep” on my issue. Since then I don’t recall anyone asking about it. But that’s not the point. I know they love me and have expressed that in countless ways over many years.

What’s my point? That reaching out for help doesn’t often get the desired response. When we are hurting, lonely, worried or consumed with sorrow over mothering challenges (or any hurdles in our lives) our trials are right in front of our faces every day. And no one but God is watching and caring and helping us 24/7. Friends have their own struggles. People are busy. Life happens. And, yes, people fall asleep.

One of the reasons why I think moms don’t call for help more often is because we’re afraid how people will respond. But even if no one had responded to Benny’s cries for help or their attempts to help had been unsuccessful, at least he tried!

More on that next week.