By Tamara Prosper
I was in a funk this morning. Honestly, I’ve been down for a few days. I didn’t complain, but my husband noticed it yesterday evening. He asked how I was feeling. He asked what was wrong. He asked if I was really ok. I needed to let it out, but I didn’t want to. I was created to be his helpmate and sharing the details of my frustration didn’t seem very helpful, especially when I considered everything that he’s been dealing with.
I didn’t want to talk about it because I knew that once I let the words out the tears would follow. I’d been holding them in for so long that I knew a slight breach in my emotional security system would create a chain reaction that I had no time to deal with. My evenings are too busy: homework with the kids, dinner, dishes, sweeping, laundry, packing lunches, bath time, prayer time (forget about story time tonight because it’s just not happening), tucking the kids in, folding laundry, taking a shower… I don’t have time for meltdowns in the evening.
Again, this morning, my husband asked, “Are you ok?” before kissing me good-bye. I kissed him and our son, whom he would take to school after the girls and I left, and said, “I’m fine. Love you.” Then the girls and I rushed to the mini-van. There is no time in my morning for tears. I had 17 minutes to get them to school on time and could not afford any late fees (yes, their school charges a fee for late arrivals, but that’s another story.)
Shortly after dropping the girls off I received a text message from my husband. While waiting at a red light I read, “The trying of your faith worketh patience! Wait for God’s manifestation. Praise Yahweh. 143.” Right there in my mini-van I thanked God for blessing me with a loving husband who is always willing to provide encouragement, even when he didn’t know what for. I was listening to a Christian radio station and the song was about maintaining faith. I listened briefly before switching to the other Christian station where a pastor was giving a message about holding on to faith. God seemed to be sending me guidance from every direction this morning, but instead of being encouraged, I was growing more frustrated.
As I pulled into the parking, a lot of my tears were plotting their escape. I saw two of my coworkers, so I quickly gave my most friendly smile and waved at them as I passed. I had to get rid of this emotional funk before beginning my day shift. I had to get in work mode, as I’m a problem solver at work. I’m there to address other people’s needs and dry other people’s tears. What good is an advocate who can’t even hold herself together?
That’s when I decided to ask a very good friend of mine for prayer. I texted my request since I didn’t have time to talk and because I knew that talking about it would lead to crying. As I was texting, the tears broke free. I wrote, “Please keep me in prayer. We’re different in many ways but you’re 1 of the few people who really knows me. My faith is being tested and I feel like I’m failing.” I wiped my eyes and texted some more, hoping that no one in the parking lot could see me crying. “I’m in the pkg lot pulling myself together to go to work so I can’t talk right now or I’ll fall apart. Just please pray for me. I really need it right now. Thx.” Within a few minutes I was able to pull myself together. I grabbed a diaper wipe – I still keep them in the car because 10-, 7- and 4-year-olds still get messy – and tried to wash the woe from my face before heading inside.
I wasn’t at my desk for 10 minutes before one of my coworkers peeked into my office to ask how I was feeling. She’s always been friendly but her considerate inquiry was a surprise. I admitted to her, “I’m kind of in a funk this morning.” She responded, “Me too! It was hard to just get out of bed.” We chatted and then moved on to our daily duties. Less than 15 minutes later, my office neighbor stopped in to say hello. We’re office buddies but we never speak of personal issues, which is why I was surprised when she said, “I had to check and make sure my neighbor is ok.” Then it dawned on me that the two ladies who came to check on me were the ones I had seen as I pulled into the parking lot wearing my best fake smile.
I had been at work for a few hours when I received two texts, one immediately after the other. The first read, “What’s wrong?!?! Do I have to fight someone?” It was followed by, “I am praying.” I busted out laughing at my desk. I’m smiling now, just thinking about my friend’s response to my plea for help. I replied with a ridiculously long series of texts. I texted so much that my friend replied, “Wanna talk? I can step out for a min.” I didn’t want to talk about it until the moment she asked. I called. I talked. She listened. She made sure she understood what I was saying before she shared some similar issues that she has been going through. My friend understood what I was dealing with and why I didn’t want to talk about it. She offered kind words, excellent advice, and unwavering support. Both of us were at work so we didn’t have time for one of our extended chats, which was fine since that isn’t what either of us needed. I needed my good friend to listen to my problem even if I thought she couldn’t understand it. The great thing is that she understood perfectly and was able to share some of her concerns while helping me with mine.
Our Father directs us to bear each other’s burdens and I strive to do that. I don’t mind bearing other people’s burdens, but there are reasons why I have a very hard time sharing mine. For me, asking for help is much harder than offering it. Well, I had to get over it! My issue isn’t resolved yet, but this evening I’m patiently waiting, placing my faith in God’s promises. This evening I feel incredibly thankful. I’m thankful for my husband who never stops trying to uplift and encourage me, a few coworkers who care enough to check on me, a good friend who will take time out of her busy day to listen to me, and a God who loves me enough to place all of those people in my life. I’m especially thankful that God continues to work with me, strengthening my faith, increasing my patience, and taking me out of my funk.
Contributing Writer, B.L.O.G. Magazine
I am Tamara Gaskins Prosper, a believer in Yahweh and His son Yeshua. I am a resident of New Orleans, LA, a graduate of Tulane University and the Social Services Director for one of the best Nursing Homes in this area. I love working to assist the elders in my community and I recently received a Nursing Facility Administrator (NFA) license, which I’m looking forward to using that to make an even bigger impact on elder care. I also have a great love for children, especially those who need more support than their families can provide. Most importantly I am a wife and a mother, positions which I am both honored to hold and blessed to enjoy.