Today’s Truth

You have not because you do not ask God.

James 4:2

Friend to Friend

I was behind … tired … and stressed out. I had too many irons in the fire and too many writing deadlines staring me in the face. So when my husband Dan asked if he could do anything to help, I said, “Sure! You can write one of the Girlfriends in God devotions I need to turn in tomorrow.” I didn’t really think he would do it. But he did. And God used it to smack me right between the eyes. I just had to share it with you!

There are so things I absolutely adore about my wife of forty years. She is my best friend, the best mom I have ever known, and the walking definition of the perfect grandmother. She is an amazing writer and mentor and teacher. And she is one of the sweetest people I know. In forty years, I have never seen her be mean – not for one minute.

I can remember thinking in our early years of marriage that there was nothing I would change about this woman that I had managed to marry by catching her in a moment of weakness. But that is no longer the case. Mary has one crack in her armor, just one small imperfection that I must share with you.

She is ridiculously hard to help.

A single mom of seven kids raised Mary and taught her from an early age that “you don’t ever need to depend on anyone else.” And Mary took it to heart. She is very independent and very able to handle more, endure more and accomplish more than anyone I have ever known. She is amazing! But Mary is hard to help – because she wants to do it on her own.

We have all been around two and three year old kids whose favorite line is “I do it myself.” It is the mantra of every preschooler. Don’t they know they have a loving parent who is ready to help? Do they not understand that there is someone who wants to intervene on their behalf?

They are so cute. And so hard to help!

Which brings me back to my wife. She is so cute – and so hard to help. Mary will not ask for help – whether it is carrying the groceries into the house, getting ready for company, fixing something that is broken – it does not matter. Her mantra is “I do it myself.”

The good news is that if that is her only flaw, then I am a blessed man to have her as my wife. And I am!

The bad news is that I am always ready to help if she will just ask – and she often misses out on that help.

Many of us do the same thing in our relationship with God. We are convinced that we can reform our character on our own. So we work at being more patient. We work at being more loving. We try so hard to be kind. When we blow it, we redouble our efforts. We roll up our spiritual sleeves and exert more spiritual elbow grease. We tell ourselves a variety of lies like “I can do this” and “I don’t need any help.”

We have a heavenly Father who stands ready to help us!

We have an advocate in Jesus the Son who stands ready to mediate for us!

And we have the Spirit of God who is waiting to comfort and mold and guide us!

And we say, “No thank you – I do it myself!”

There are dozens of verses in the Bible that haunt me when I realize what they really mean. James 4:2 is one of the simplest but scariest: “You have not because you do not ask God.”


There is help available. Ask God for it.

There is healing available. Ask Jesus, the Great Physician for it.

There is guidance and comfort available. Ask the Holy Spirit for it.

Don’t do it yourself. God is available. Just ask.

Like I said … Dan’s words hit me right between the eyes. He is so right! I tend to rely on my own strength and abilities instead of God’s power. I have spent so much time and energy honing and refining the gifts God gave me … that I tend to rely on those gifts instead of the Giver of those gifts. And that is sin!

I hugged my sweet husband and thanked him for the kind words, the hard words, and for helping me. I promised to ask for his help more often.

I went to my Father and asked Him to forgive me for depending on my own pitiful strength instead of His. He promised to always be there for me.

How about you? Need help? Just ask.

Let’s Pray

Father, I confess that I try to do life on my own. I try to figure things out and change my ways on my own. Please forgive me for my “I do it myself” attitude. Teach me to depend on You. Teach me to trust You and cry out to You. Thank You for wanting to help me.

In Jesus’ Name,


Now It’s Your Turn

  • Do you want to continue in “I do it myself” mode?
  • If not, confess your tendency to be in charge to God.
  • Start asking Him for help!

More from the Girlfriends

Do you need encouragement and help from someone who has been where you are and lived to tell about it? Check out Mary’s new Skype ministry, Friends for the Journey.

Be sure to check out the FREEBIES on Mary’s website and connect with Mary through email or on Facebook.

7 Responses to “Hard to Help”

  1. Pam Gonzalez says:

    Shout out to Dan. Good job with today’s message and good job Mary for stepping aside in what could have been interpreted as a moment of weakness. NOT! I needed to hear this message and I needed it from the perspective of a husband. Plus, I heard from our God loud and clear. Thank you for those gifts.

  2. Amber Pittman says:

    This devotion was very enlightening and moving! I had tears spilling from my eyes by the time I was finished reading it. Thank God for the ways He uses all of you, blesses all of you! Your cups are overflowing to others and I praise God for it! Thanks Dan for helping Mary 🙂 Your writing touched my heart! Thanks to all of you ladies! I pray for God’s continued blessings to be upon you and have a great day!

  3. Grace Reigns says:

    Man oh man, what a devotional today! Thank you to the MAN behind the husband who knew exactly what to write to uplift his wife and in turn hand out a phenomenal bit of truth for those “strong, independent, single mom’s” like me and many of us out there. Navigating life and learning to trust after all these years is insanely difficult. I feel confident that I am not the only one going through the trials and joys each day brings to us. I have gotten stuck in my “comfort zone” and and often times more willing to miss out on the ability to pursue something that may be fantastic for my future because I am afraid of the what if’s. Those “what if’s” sting! In reality, the challenge of tomorrow is only lessened when I stay close to God’s great promise that if I ask I will receive. Still the “not asking” is often more comforting that the promise of an unknown. God, I ask today that you break me from this fear. In your light, I will be your light! I will not fear the unknown and I am going to start asking.. I am the daughter of the most HIGH KING and He wants for me just like I want for my beautiful daughter….I want to give her the world. I squash fear in her and I am going to allow God to squash the fear that wells up in me. God take this from me as you guide me to experience life the way you intended.

  4. Ana says:

    Thank You for sharing this! I can definitely relate and confess this to the Lord because I want to NOT lean on my own understanding of things and just trust Him and rely on him like in exodus 20:21.

  5. Joy says:

    You have an awesome husband, Mary! God has blessed the both of you with the gift of encouragement through writing. thank you for sharing- and tell Dan thanks too! 😉

  6. Shontae Jones says:

    love this!
    Thank You

  7. Jamie says:

    I love this devotional. I am definitely a single woman that is hard to help. I tend to give up and try to do things on my own even when sisters are trying to help me especially spiritually. can you help me figure out to become more loving and want the help? how did you do that

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8