Last time we looked at Nehemiah, we spent some time in prayer and repentance. We asked YHVH to bless us in our next step, but we didn’t know what that next step would be. Yet.
In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence. And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.
Nehemiah was still quite saddened by the news he had received. He knew he needed to do something, but he didn’t know what. He needed help from outside himself. When the king of Persia saw how sad Nehemiah was, he inquired. Nehemiah did not expect help from this source, so he prayed for confirmation, and got it.
As I read this chapter, I realized that I, too, needed help from outside. My solitary attempts had always proven unfruitful. So, I went to my husband. This was my obvious choice, but you could also choose to go to your parents or a close friend. Attitude is important here. You are actively seeking help and you need to be willing to accept it when it comes.
Nehemiah found his help in the king. So, Nehemiah explained the whole situation to him. He talked about the city, the walls, the destruction by fire. He laid all the details out there so the king would understand what he was dealing with. The king answered with, “What can I do to help?” What followed was a detailed plan for Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem. The king would furnish authorization for traveling and supplies. Nehemiah would survey what action needed to be taken when he got there.
When I went to Doug for help, I had prepared myself to accept his ideas and advice. After all, I was asking for it, not receiving it unwanted. I told Doug how I was struggling and overwhelmed. I asked him what action he thought would make the biggest impact. His answer surprised me because he didn’t tell me to go clean the house. He didn’t set up a strict time schedule. He told me to focus on meal planning. I couldn’t see that making a big impact, but I agreed. I started by writing a week’s worth of dinner menus. I moved up to a month at a time. I had the freedom to change a meal as needed, but there was always something written down. You know what? He was right. It did make a big impact. He no longer asked me what’s for dinner, and I no longer responded with an expression of panic. I take that back. He does sometimes ask me as a joke, to see how quickly I can respond. We have now settled into a one week rotation that works very well for us. For illustrative purposes, here is our menu:
Sunday – stir fry
Monday – burgers
Tuesday – crockpot meal
Wednesday – hoagies
Thursday – pizza
Friday – burritos
Shabbat – crockpot soup
Many of these meals allow for variations on a theme. We haven’t gotten bored, because we thrive on the predictability. This small action of planning the meals has freed my mind and my hands to tackle other things. A snowball effect has resulted. I soon put the laundry on a workable schedule. I developed a reliable way to keep track of the kids’ schoolwork. We also entered into a lean time financially, and that meal plan made a huge difference in planning our grocery list every week. I’ll tell you more in the next post.
So, this week, you need to decide who you will go to for help. Pick someone you can trust to give you honest, helpful advice. Pray about your choice. Then go to them and be completely honest about your situation and struggles. Humbly ask for help. Then begin taking action, knowing that YHVH will bless your next step.