One Book, One Diocese: Help, Thanks, Wow–Week 2

Week 2 of Bishop’s Lee’s book discussion of Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott continues with the basic prayer–”Help”.

He reminds us that Anne says our prayers of help are rooted in the terrible truths that we are “so ruined, so loved, and in charge of so little”.

“How has the prayer ‘help’ led you to encounter the truth that God loves us more than we can know?”

Please join the conversation and leave your comments below.

6 thoughts on “One Book, One Diocese: Help, Thanks, Wow–Week 2

  1. To speak to Jeff’s question, there are two times in my life when my heart spoke “help” and God responded with great love. The first was in 1980. I had perceived a call to the vocational deaconate and went to a BACOM (Bishop’s Advisory Committee on Ministry) weekend. There were MANY there from Ohio and Southern Ohio. I had such a hard time responding to the questions asked as they did not seem to focus on the diaconate. At the end, as we were leaving and passing through the kitchen to leave, I was told that they did not recommend ordination track now or in the future. They said I should focus on being a lay person. I felt that I had failed God and I cried the whole way back from outside Columbus to Youngstown. When I finally was able to be still within I felt God’s love and his promise, “Nancy, I want you as my deacon and no person(s) will prevent it.” That small flame within kept burning and 28 years later in the Diocese of Chicago I was ordained a deacon.
    As I look back I can see that the way it worked out was God’s divine plan. Like many Episcopalians I was raised in another denomination. And like many who change from the denomination in which they were raised I had been beaten by my birth faith. I was taught for the first 11 years of my life that children were a “necessary evil”, well boys were. Girls were worthless. Further I was taught that God was an angry God who demanded nothing less than perfection, and for a worthless girl that was quite a demand. Unfortunately I learned these lessons well and went through life feeling I was a failure, I could never measure up, could never succeed. At times I even questioned if I should be living. When my family moved to another state we ended up going to the same denomination but a different synod. There God loved people, even children, and even girls. Despite this I continued with the perception that I could never measure up to God’s expectations. Needless to say life was quite a burden. Quite some time after becoming an Episcopalian I started working with a spiritual director. We discussed my feelings of worthlessness and failure despite a quite successful career. One day it became clear – I was worshiping a god developed by my perceptions from my first 11 years and not GOD. As I moved from the altar of my idol god to the altar of the true God I feared I would be sent away, but instead I was welcomed with overwhelming love.

  2. Wow Nancy. Thanks for sharing your reflection.

    I know my feelings of being loved by God are often tempered by the tone of my cries of “help”. I experience God’s presence and attentiveness differently when my cry of “help” is more like a tantrum than the desperate, I’m really at the end of my rope cry. I’m mindful of these words right now with a 2-year old who uses the words “help” and “I do it all by myself” hundreds of times each cay. I can tell the difference in his cries for help–I know when he really means it. My dream is to raise a son who can continue to articulate a sense of independence and self-efficacy while growing to understand that no one of us can “do it all by ourselves” and God’s loving presence means we never need to. I think he gets that now–I want him to hold on to that as he moves through the challenges of this life.

  3. My mother was critically ill having suffered a severe stroke and then a hysterectomy. I was alone with her miles and miles away from my home in Illinois. Now I needed to make plans for her continued therapy which involved a drive of 60 miles from her home to the hospital on a daily basis for six weeks.. Returning to my hotel I couldn’t think of any plan other than getting to my solitary room. I collapsed down on the bed sobbing and then let out a primal scream that might have shattered the windows. Not seeing any other option at that point in time I continued the sob/scream/sob routine. Finally exhausted I GAVE IT UP! Then the miraculous happened – a phone call from a nurse in her hometown asking, “What do you need now?” At the moment I “gave it up” having exhausted physical and emotional energies – the loving answer of HELP came.

  4. After years of physical therapy and alternative therapies for various conditions, I was told to simply let go-always easier said than done when your muscles are fighting with you to stay engaged and tight. Raising children is like that I think. Letting go is hard. How can I let go and let them experience all their own difficulties. What I have come to realize is that letting go does not leave me in that terrifying place of falling through the air. Instead it allows me to open my heart and to ask God for help. More often, God just shows up. Over the years, that help has shown up as a blessed hammock that catches, me allowing me to let go. Sometimes it just provides much needed rest. Other times it provides time for reflection and the ability to give up control and let God in. For that I am most thankful. Wow!

  5. Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing!

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