Author Archives: tinarileycarter

About tinarileycarter

I'm a wife, mom of four young children, non-practicing attorney, and writer.

The Age of the Children


We traveled to Washington DC for spring break a few weeks ago so that my oldest son Jed, who is 17 and a junior in high school, could visit a couple of colleges. We toured American University and George Washington University. Jed loves politics and history, so these schools are right up his alley and thankfully lived up to his expectations. They’re both still on the list of universities to which he’ll apply in the fall. We are entering this exciting time in which he has so many options ahead of him, but it’s also stressful and pressure filled. Helping him find a balance so that he can enjoy this season of life and find a path that fits with what he wants for his future will be our task in the next eighteen months. And our joy as his parents.

There are some other children and parents who should be navigating this time of life but are not. That’s because those children died in the gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut ten years ago. I’ll always know how old those children should be because Jed was in first grade at the same time those children were murdered. Those twenty little gap-toothed babies will never grow past that stage. Six adults from the school were killed that day too. We donate to Sandy Hook Promise, the charity that advocates for sensible gun control and school safety, that was formed by the parents of those children. They should be helping their kids prepare for their senior year in high school, but they cannot. 

I’ll always know how old the children who were murdered by a gunman in Uvalde, Texas at Robb Elementary should be as well because my son Alex was 9 years old and in fourth grade last year just like those nineteen babies who didn’t make it home. Two teachers were killed that day trying to protect them. But I realized that if nothing happened to restrict the types of guns available when white children on the East Coast were murdered at Sandy Hook, then nothing significant was going to happen when children with brown skin who lived near the Texas border with Mexico were the victims almost ten years later. 

My heart breaks for all the children and parents impacted by gun violence. I’ll always know how old the children at Sandy Hook and Uvalde should be. But there are a lot of children whose ages I can’t keep track of. There are just too many killed by gun violence. After the Nashville shooting this week, I was ashamed that my first reaction was relief that there were only three children killed along with three adults. I was glad that the police killed the shooter within fourteen minutes of the first emergency call. Am I becoming numb to the problem? If there are fewer victims because the police acted quickly, can I turn away more easily? Am I afraid to look too closely? Because honestly, when I truly let myself dwell on the issue of gun violence and children, it terrifies me, especially when I drop my kids off at school. And then my fear spills over to grocery stores, movie theaters, restaurants, malls, concerts, parks, and church. It makes me want to keep my babies in a bubble at home and never let them leave. I must fight against my desire to keep them safe by keeping them sequestered. That’s no way to live either. 

In a 1977 speech, Hubert H. Humphrey said, “The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in shadows of life, the sick, the needy, and the handicapped.” I think we are failing that moral test. God, please help us because we must do better. 

Learning in the Carpool Lane


I HATE school carpool. It is the bane of my existence during the school year. That and repeatedly searching to find matching tops for reusable water bottles. Over the fourteen years I’ve been carting children to school, I’ve learned that I need to remove myself as much as possible from the frustration of carpool, so I park and meet my kids at an agreed upon spot in the afternoons.  But in the mornings, we roll through the line as required. The part that makes me feel crazy is the other parents who break the line. As if their time is more important. As though the rules are irrelevant and don’t apply to them. I always wonder what they’re teaching their kids. That cheating is okay? They end up slowing down the line and making everyone else mad, but they don’t seem to care about anyone but themselves. 

The other day, my oldest son forgot his practice uniform, so I took it to him at his high school. It wasn’t the end of the day, but with only one period remaining, a lot of the student drivers with early release times were leaving. And that’s when I witnessed the most orderly carpool I’ve ever seen. Better than any adult driver carpool by far. Better than any exit after a concert or sporting event. There was a main line of cars that I was in. Then there were four or five side lines from the parking lots where cars sat waiting to enter the main line. Every single time a car in the main line reached an auxiliary line, the car stopped, allowed one car into the main line, and then proceeded. The cars trying to get in the main line waited and didn’t try to nose their way in. Not once did a second car try to jump in. These teenage drivers were polite and efficient. No horn honking. No cheating. 

I couldn’t believe it. No one was directing traffic. No teachers were watching. But those kids. Those kids were amazing. And as silly as it might seem, the whole episode gave me a spark of hope. While I assume carpool at the high school does not always run as smoothly as it did that day, the young drivers were patient when I saw them. They were not in such a hurry or so self-centered that they completely disregarded the people around them. I think we could learn a thing or two from the way they acted. 

Adulting can be hard. Difficult days sometimes outnumber the easy ones. But being a kid can be hard too. Those students carry a lot of stress and pressure. If those young people can figure out carpool in a high school parking lot, they have the potential to do just about anything. I’m being completely serious. And if they can hang on to the kindness and the respect that they showed one another on that day as they mature, then they will do well. And us grownups would do well to follow their lead. To show a little more kindness and a bit more consideration for others. In carpool and in life.    

Poetry of Promise


We were on spring break in Washington DC when we found a bookshop combined with an eatery named “Busboys and Poets.” Of course, I was instantly in love with this concept. As we waited on our meal, I wandered around the book portion of the store and noticed signs extolling peace, love, equality, and several quotes by Langston Hughes. Then, I saw the inspiration behind the restaurant on the menu. “Busboys and Poets is proud to be named in honor of renowned Black poet Langston Hughes. In the early 1920s, Hughes resided in Washington D.C. where he worked as a busboy at the Wardman Park Hotel. One evening, he placed several of his poems on the dinner table of American poet Nicholas Vachel Lindsay. The next day, in local newspapers, Lindsay informed the world of his meeting with a ‘Busboy Poet.’”

Later, during our meal. I watched as an actual busboy approached a table with plates of food. Suddenly, he dropped one of the plates and it shattered on the ground in a loud crash. Food and porcelain scattered on the floor between two groups of people of different races: an older couple having breakfast and two women with their laptops working. He immediately dropped to the floor and began picking up the pieces. Even from a distance, I could sense his embarrassment.

And so did the people at the tables. As he crouched between them, they all reassured him that they were fine, no one was hurt, it happens, no big deal. A manager arrived with a broom and dustpan and the busboy quickly and quietly exited. The two couples repeated their reassurances to the manager. Then, one of the businesswomen asked the manager to bring the busboy back to the table. The manager agreed and brought the busboy back. He stood with the busboy in an act of solidarity to make sure nothing untoward happened. I couldn’t hear what the woman said, but I could tell by the look on her face that she was not berating him. She smiled and talked to him for a couple of minutes. I can only imagine that she told him a story of her time as a server when something similar happened to her or reminded him that this shouldn’t ruin his day. All I knew was that kindness was at the root of all the interactions with the busboy after the plate drop. 

I realized in that moment; I’d witnessed a microcosm of the world Langston Hughes dreamed about even in the face of extreme inequality. We are not by any means perfect as Americans. And there is a reason a portrait of George Floyd hung on the wall of this cafe. But the idea that someday we can do more and be better is a promise that seems far away at times and attainable at others. 

In the poem “Let America Be America Again,” Hughes challenges the American “ideals” by saying America has not fulfilled its pledges to the downtrodden of any color, the immigrants from any country, the lowest of the economic strata. Toward the end of the poem, he writes:

“O, let America be America again—
The land that never has been yet—
And yet must be—the land where every man is free.
The land that’s mine—the poor man’s, Indian’s, Negro’s, ME—
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again. 

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!”

Hughes published that poem in 1936. Read that again – 1936. Yet, it still rings true today. But perhaps the kindness those patrons demonstrated to a busboy in 2023 means that not all hope is lost, and that the poetry of promise may still prevail. 

Just Be Yourself


This weekend, I’ll visit my daughter Riley at the University of Colorado in Boulder. I’m excited to see Riley but am nervous as well. I’m going for mother-daughter weekend at Riley’s sorority. I was never in a sorority in college. I knew that I wouldn’t fit in because I was nerdy and somewhat reserved in social settings. I felt awkward and unsure. At one point during my second year of college, a boy I had a crush on was describing girl stereotypes based on how girls looked. When I asked him how I looked, he said, “You look smart.” A little piece of my soul died that day.  

Thankfully, I learned to be more open in social situations throughout college, law school, and beyond. I became more comfortable in my own skin. I now wear what I want and don’t care as much about what others think. But sometimes, I still fall into the comparison trap. I’m not glamorous like some women who seem to be effortlessly chic all the time. So, the idea of spending time with the mothers of Riley’s sorority friends who also may have been sorority girls, made me anxious. I went through my closet (after I cleaned it) to find some things I hadn’t worn in a while. I went shopping a couple of times to find some new clothes. I got a haircut and a pedicure. I sent pictures to Riley for her review. All of that, and I was still worried.

And I was annoyed with myself for allowing this to bother me. I am a grown ass woman. I felt like I was back in high school, however, so I told my mom about the situation. She immediately responded, “just be yourself.” She’s been telling me that for forty-eight years. Why can’t I take her advice after all this time? But something about my mom telling me to be myself got through to me the other day.

In my Presbyterian denomination’s tradition, we have a phrase, “the church reformed, always reforming.” The denomination began as an effort to reform problems with the dominant religion. But reform didn’t end way back then – we can always learn, do better, and keep striving today and every day. When it comes to me individually, I hope I am evolved, always evolving. I am not the same person I was in my younger years. Not merely on the outside or in social settings, but who I am on the inside. This seems obvious. How sad would it be if any of us were the same as we were in high school or college twenty-five plus years later? But in reality, truly being confident in our mental and emotional maturity is harder when we face something that triggers those old feelings of inadequacy. 

If we are still evolving, becoming more authentic as we age, then we can also forgive ourselves when we slip back into old patterns. We can recognize that those negative feelings no longer serve us, as if they ever did. We can continue to change by giving ourselves grace. Instead of letting the past hold us back in the present, we can realize this is another opportunity to grow into our future selves. Perhaps then, we will be more at ease just being ourselves.   

Just One Act


My friend dropped her son off at church for the youth group meeting that my husband Ben and I were leading. She said she was headed to the grocery store while youth group was going on. I must’ve made some comment about needing to stop by the store or maybe I just groaned, but she immediately asked what I needed. I thought for a few seconds – what did I really need without causing an imposition? “I need strawberries,” I said. I explained that I put strawberries in the boys’ lunches, and the strawberries were the only thing I lacked to make their lunches on Monday morning. Ben chuckled but my friend insisted it was not a problem. Two hours later when youth group ended, my friend handed me a bag with a pound of strawberries in it. 

When my friend said she would buy the strawberries, I felt such relief. My stress level eased. I’d thought I would have to go by the store sometime after youth group to be prepared for Monday morning. But I know myself, and if I’d gone to the store that night, I would’ve tried to recall the items on the long list I had at home. I would’ve rushed around the store like a crazy person trying to grab as many things as I could. But now the pressure was off. I had the one thing I needed to get through Monday morning. 

After I got the kids to school on Monday, I roamed leisurely through Target with my list in hand. I took my time. My friend who’d gotten the strawberries for me texted that it was National Strawberry Day. I thanked her again for her help. Her kindness had completely changed my whole evening and morning. Her willingness to ask what I needed and then follow through was all it took to make a huge difference for me. 

Today, I was with a couple of my writing friends, and we were discussing the difficulty I had getting started on a new project. They made some suggestions, which were thoughtful and helpful. I told them I worked best with deadlines and accountability, so I promised that I would try their approach before our next meeting in April and show up with writing in hand as proof. I hope this one concrete step will unlock my resistance and inspire me to begin in earnest. I felt better as I left our meeting because I knew the next thing I’d agreed to do. 

Perhaps the key to helping others and helping ourselves is to take one specific action. Something that we can easily commit to do. Instead of trying to solve the whole problem, we can pick a small measurable goal. In that way, we will not be overwhelmed by the enormity of the project or the problem which makes getting started difficult or seem impossible. Dwelling on the abstract delays progress. It’s easy to get caught in feelings of desperation or disillusionment that paralyze us. A single choice to act can open our eyes and minds to the possibilities. A simple gesture of kindness can have repercussions far beyond the act itself. 

The next time we face a stressful or seemingly insurmountable obstacles, let’s ask the question of ourselves and others: what is the one thing we can do right now, no matter how insignificant it may appear, to move forward? Just asking the question and deciding to take one small action may be all we need to shake ourselves loose from the anxiety and pressure we feel. If we can relieve a tiny burden for another or make progress no matter how small, we can build momentum day after day that may carry us toward achieving the greater good.  

“Those Aren’t the Right Words”


One of my sons, Clay, who is 13, knows every word to every song that he’s ever heard. It’s honestly quite amazing. He only needs to hear a song once, and he will have the lyrics locked away in his brain forever. Clay is a human jukebox. On the other hand, my youngest son, Alex, who is 10, does not know the lyrics to many songs and so proceeds to make them up. Often, his lyrics contain words that do not appear anywhere in the actual song. 

Recently, Alex adapted the lyrics of a new, popular song called “Unholy.” When the chorus soars, he belts out, “It’s the opposite, it’s the opposite. Unholy.” If you know the song, you know that’s not what it says. At all. When I realized that I didn’t really want Alex to understand the meaning of that song, I told the family to just let him sing it the way he wants. And the funny part is when I hear the song, I often end up using Alex’s words too. But Alex’s general tendency to substitute his own lyrics seems to bug Clay. He regularly says, “those aren’t the right words” with an edge to his voice.  

We’ve all heard it said that all of us have a soundtrack for our lives. For example, songs from the mid-1990s usually transport me to fun dorm life with my besties. To this day, we text when we hear a throwback song on the radio. Sometimes though a song can trigger my memories of being lonely during that period as well. I remember crying to Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You” when she sang, “we both know I’m not what you need” because I wondered if anyone would ever need me. That sounds a bit pathetic now, but at the time, I felt completely sincere in my young adult angst. 

But this “conflict” between Alex and Clay reminded me that we hear, see, and remember things in different ways. That may sound obvious, but I think we often assume that the way we experience events is how everyone experiences them. A love song can bring back happy memories of early courtship for a long-term couple. The same song can make someone else sad and bring back painful memories of love lost. We perceive things differently because of our age, our upbringings, the struggles we’ve endured, the state of our minds and emotions. 

When Ben and I were dating, we saw a movie that was not intended to produce strong emotions. As we walked back to his apartment, I was obviously in my feelings. He asked what was wrong. I said, “I don’t want to end up like that woman in the movie!” She was a mean workaholic who was detached from her family. I didn’t even have a family of my own yet, but my fear of turning into a person like that shook me up. The key to that conversation though was Ben asking me why I’d had that reaction. He didn’t make assumptions about why I was suddenly distraught. He didn’t substitute his version of events or his perceptions. He asked. He wanted to know how I’d filtered the story so he could understand. 

That’s a lesson we can all stand to learn over and over. The only way we can even come close to understanding what another person is thinking or feeling is to ask them to tell us. To be open to their answer even if it’s not part of our experience. And to take their words and emotions seriously. If we dismiss them because we don’t think their experience is valid, we damage the relationship. We can’t tell another person that “those aren’t the right words” when they reveal what is true for them. So, the next time we hear someone “singing” a song with lyrics we don’t recognize, let’s ask them to share the meaning of their words so we can forge a stronger connection between us. 

Out of the Loop


Last week, I was locked out of the account I use for my online classes. At first, I thought it was a problem with the school’s server, so I gave up after a few tries. The next day I tried again but was rebuffed by the technology once more. The site asked me to reset my password and when I attempted to do so, it said I couldn’t do so without administration approval. I was caught in a technology loop that I couldn’t escape.   

I realized that I hadn’t paid my invoice and wondered if that was the reason. I called and paid my bill and then asked the woman on the phone if the school was experiencing server problems. She wasn’t aware of any but said she would send a message to the program director. Over the next two days, the program director and I emailed and then she called to walk me through a series of steps to fix it. That didn’t work, so she told me to email the IT department. When I didn’t hear back from them, I emailed the program director again and she noticed that I’d emailed the wrong address using .com instead of .edu. I couldn’t seem to catch a break. Finally, late on Friday – day four of this process – the IT department reset my password, and I was able to get back into my account to do my work on Saturday. 

I was so exhausted by the whole process. I found myself frustrated because I was unable to watch the lecture videos and do what I needed to do. Instead, I ran in circles for a week. Thankfully, the problem was easily solved once I reached the people who knew how to fix it. Unfortunately, many of life’s problems are not so easily solved. Sometimes, I feel as though I’m caught in a loop in my head. I fret and stew about an issue that’s bothering me. I spiral down the rabbit hole of anxiety. I can get caught in a mental maze so that I can’t find my way out. And I can’t turn my attention to things that need to be done because so much of my energy is drained by my incessant worrying. 

So how in the world do we stop the worry loop or at least loosen its grip on us? While no solution works every time, I find that when I talk about my concerns, I start to feel better. Recently, I’ve been procrastinating. I needed to make a phone call but had been avoiding it. I just couldn’t make myself do it even though I knew I would feel better once I called. Then this week, I talked to my best friends at lunch and my therapist as well, and they reminded me that underneath my procrastination was legitimate concern and fear. That it was reasonable for me to hesitate. That my avoidance was not laziness. Finally, I was able to get out of my head and make the call. But if I hadn’t talked it out with others, I would probably still be spinning around the same thought pattern. 

When we find ourselves running on the same thought track over and over, we can help ourselves by discussing our concerns with people we trust. They may not be able to fix our problems, but they may help us break out of our repetitious thinking and allow us to take action instead. Sometimes, being out of the loop is exactly where we want to be.  

A Rose By Any Other Name…


I’ve always loved the television show The Golden Girls. I watched it with my parents as a kid when it originally aired on NBC. When I was in law school, I would watch it late at night after I got back to my apartment from studying at the library. Ben even gave me the first season on DVD early on in our relationship. The Hallmark channel now shows reruns early in the mornings and late in the evenings. Recently, I bought all seven seasons and watched all episodes in order. The show was ground breaking at the time because it showed mature women living together as roommates in Miami, supporting one another as they worked, dated, talked, and ate lots of cheesecake. It also tackled subjects like aging, fixed incomes, homelessness, AIDS, healthcare for women, LGBTQ concerns, and politics. For the most part, the show still holds up today. 

Blanche (Rue McClanahan) was the beautiful, sexy one; Sophia (Estelle Getty) was the oldest one, who was both wise and wise cracking; Dorothy (Bea Arthur) was the smart, sarcastic one who suffered others’ ridicule about her looks and dating life; and Rose (Betty White) was the innocent, sweet one from St. Olaf, a fictional town in Minnesota. One day a couple of friends and I were talking about our love of The Golden Girls when one asked, “which one are you?” Immediately upon being asked, my friend and I both responded, “Dorothy.” I was convinced I was most like Dorothy. I wanted to be Dorothy. And then one day, I was watching an episode and thought, “Oh no, I’m Rose!” 

Now, let me be clear – they called Rose stupid on a regular basis, and I’m not stupid. But naïve at different times in my life about certain subjects, yes. Maybe even today I fall into the naïve category at times because people’s actions still surprise me. I find myself baffled at the news and social media. Just the other day, I tried to read a series of twitter comments by a group of teenagers, and I hardly understood a word they were saying. I like to think that I’m pretty open-minded, but my eyes are still opened on a regular basis – in both good and bad ways. Rose always tried to learn when she was presented with new information, and I hope I do the same. 

I told myself I didn’t act like Rose. She told tales beginning with “back in St. Olaf” in order to make a point. But then I realized I tell a story every single week on my blog that starts with a small moment I observed or experienced that led to a larger life lesson. I also grew up in a small town. Not in Minnesota, but in Arkansas. Plenty of people make fun of me because of my hometown just like they did Rose. And I know that I’ve always had a reputation for being a goodie-two-shoes just like Rose. Although Rose can be edgy, as can I. I still laugh when Rose delivers the line to Dorothy, “Wow, with only three hours of sleep, I can be as bitchy as you!” 

After my initial disappointment at recognizing myself in Rose, I realized that maybe it wasn’t so bad after all. Rose is kind and friendly. She cares deeply about her friends and family. She is earnest and authentic. She likes to laugh and tries to be happy. I try to embody all of those positive qualities. I don’t always succeed, but I make the effort most of the time. 

After all these years, I’m still adjusting to this newfound kinship with Rose. I’ll watch the show as usual but with a new view to appreciating Rose. I’ll look for the qualities that make her character special and embrace them as my own. There’s something special about living with our hearts open to wonder. Maybe we could all use a little more Rose in our lives. 

Anticipating the Worst


After church one Sunday, I looked at my daughter Riley and said, “you were having some trouble reading the screen this morning.” I was teasing her about messing up a few words when we were reading the prayers off the big screen at the front of the sanctuary. My oldest son Jed said, “she does that all the time.” Riley responded, “I was having trouble with the words of the prayers and the songs today.” Jed said, “yeah, it was special.” We all laughed. Then Riley explained that she thinks she knows what the next word should be so she says what she thinks is coming before the slide on the screen changes. This I understood. I don’t necessarily jump ahead when reading the screen, but trying to anticipate what comes next is a common cause of stress for me. 

Last year when Riley was a senior in high school, I worried about pretty much everything. I worried about her choosing a college. I feared how I would feel when she performed her last dance performance with the studio she’d been with since she was four-years-old. I felt anxious about getting through her graduation. I feared about how I would make it through her college move-in day. I was scared of her living so far away from us. 

I created a lot of heart ache for myself by thinking of all the things that could happen and assuming they would all be negative. I believed I couldn’t handle the future unfolding before me, and I carried that burden around with me constantly. The anticipation of those events was so much worse for me than the events themselves. Even though I cried plenty of tears during those events as they occurred, we survived and even thrived. Instead of being interminably sad, I felt so proud of Riley for all of she’d done and who she’d become that I felt happiness through the tears. 

Sometimes anticipation is joyous and full of excitement. Sometimes anticipation is helpful and necessary as it was this week when we prepared for an incoming ice storm. But anticipation as defined in the Oxford Languages website involves “expectation or prediction,” and if we assume our expectations will be disappointing or if our predictions are negative, we end up dreading the future. Fearing failure. Consumed with apprehension. 

Turns out, I may come by this fraught relationship with anticipation naturally. The Enneagram is a personality typing system that for me, is eerily accurate. I am an Enneagram 6, and this is a description of my type: “Sixes are defined by their desire for safety and security. They seek to anticipate and avoid risk… Sixes are alert and vigilant, always thinking several steps ahead to anticipate and prepare for what could go wrong.” ( Even knowing this about myself, I still get caught in the trap of negative anticipation. I have a hard time remembering my tendencies curbing them before they consume me.

We can all benefit from taking a step back when we find ourselves focused on negative expectations and predictions. We can take a deep breath and recognize that focusing only on fear of the future creates anxiety and unnecessary stress and usually solves nothing. Let us care for ourselves in the present by limiting our anticipation of what may go wrong in the future. 

Accepting Grace


I was sick – again. My asthma flared at Thanksgiving when we’d had some interior home painting done. Then, after Christmas my asthma flared again after I rented a car that had an overpowering fragrance. I don’t get sick that often so in addition to feeling exhausted and sick, I was frustrated as well. I’d started an online class and while I’d read the assigned chapters and watched the instructor’s videos, I couldn’t find the strength to sit down and answer the discussion questions. It was only week two of the course, and I was determined to finish the homework. I even emailed the professor and told him I was going to be a little late, but I promised to complete the tasks. On Monday of the third week of class, I still felt awful physically and realized that if I didn’t start on the new week’s assignments, I would get so far behind, I wouldn’t be able to catch up.

At that point, I decided to take the professor up on the offer he’d made at the very beginning of the course: we could choose not to answer the discussion questions for two of the ten weeks. I’d known the whole time I was ill that I could fall back on the professor’s offer, but I didn’t want to do it. I thought I’d be a failure if I didn’t complete every single assignment. I felt like I’d be lazy and taking the easy way out if I didn’t finish everything. When I finally recognized that I couldn’t get the work done because of my sickness, I surrendered. I surrendered my desire for perfection and my tendency to beat myself up for perceived inadequacies. I accepted the kindness the professor had already provided. 

The experience provided me with a reminder of how God offers grace to us. God’s forgiveness, mercy, and grace are always available to us. But we struggle to accept it. We feel like a failure for our bad choices and beat ourselves up for our mistakes. We carry the heaviness, fear, and shame with us. We insist on shouldering the burdens alone because we don’t feel worthy of God’s grace. 

We refuse the comfort and peace that can result from claiming God’s grace. We don’t take God up on the offer to walk with us through the difficulties or consequences. God often provides that grace and comfort through our friends, family, and community. Instead of agreeing to let them help though, we may isolate and try to go it alone. If we accept help in our times of hardship, we are accepting God’s grace. 

Surrendering to God’s grace is not necessarily easy. We must get out of our own way and understand that when people offer help that is a form of God’s grace. God’s grace for us already exists and is ever present. All we need to do is accept it.