Doing the Death Crawl

Lately, I’ve gotten a lot of emails and comments from people (especially women) telling me how they feel like they’re alone in the world.  That they feel like there’s nobody who understands them.  That they feel like they can’t be real—even with their husbands and families—because they feel like they have to be the strong one or the one with all of the answers. 

I’ve sat on this topic, thinking about it, praying about it, for a few weeks.  And each day, I keep hearing this same thing from the women that I know.  I kept thinking that if I thought about it and prayed about it long enough that God would give me the answer and that I could share it with you all.

I haven’t got all of the answers yet.

Last week, one of my best friends called me because she had gotten terribly sick.  She had woken up that morning so dizzy that she had to hold onto the wall to get dressed for work.  She was so nauseous that she couldn’t eat.  She could barely hold her head up.  Her boss sent her home from work after about an hour.  She had to get a co-worker to drive her home. 

When we began to ask questions about why she was sick, it was because she had neglected to take some very important medicine.  It had been over a month since she’d taken it.  Why?  She said that she hadn’t had time to get her prescription refilled and she didn’t feel that she could inconvenience her husband to get it done for her.

I didn’t tell her at the time, but I was so angry at her for neglecting herself like that.  After I got off the phone with her, I took a drive to calm myself down.  As I drove the twisty country roads, ranting to God about how irresponsible some people can be, I felt like God held up a hand and said, “Now, hold on there, Missy.”  In a split second, it became clear to me: my friend doesn’t feel like she is important enough to go get her prescription filled.  And she doesn’t feel like she is important enough to “waste” her husband’s time to get it done either.  And in the very next moment, faces filled my mind—faces of other women I know that discount themselves in the same way—and my own face was among them. 

I felt like a moth pinned to a corkboard.  The Holy Spirit had put His finger on something in me, but I wasn’t sure what it was or what to do about it.

I’m still not completely sure, but God did remind me of something to help get me on the right road.

Late last fall, I had worked a 60-hour week and so that Sunday when I took my turn on the praise team, I had really over-exhausted myself.  While leading worship in the late service at church, I started crying and couldn’t stop.  I had to slip off the stage during the service to keep from making a scene.  One of my associate pastors, Andy, pulled me aside to talk to me.

“Sarah,” he said while handing me a box of Kleenex, “do you remember the paralytic man whose four friends lowered him through the roof to Jesus?  Sometimes, you just have to let your friends carry you to Jesus.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  Let me help you.”

Mark 2:3-5, 11 (TLB)

“Four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a stretcher.  They couldn’t get to Jesus through the crowd, so they dug through the clay roof above his head and lowered the sick man on his stretcher, right down in front of Jesus.  When Jesus saw how strongly they believed that he would help, Jesus said, to the sick man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven!’…Then, turning to the paralyzed man, he commanded, ‘Pick up your stretcher and go on home, for you are healed!’”

I’ve heard this story hundreds of times in my life, but after Andy talked to me that Sunday, it came alive for me in a way that it never had before.  I’ve spent my life being the strong one with all of the answers.  I’ve been a stretcher-carrier—sometimes even trying to carry the stretcher when I was wounded myself. 

There’s nothing like a sports analogy to make a point…  There’s a scene in the movie “Facing the Giants” where the football coach challenges the team captain, Brock, to show his leadership by doing the “death crawl” on his hands and feet with a teammate on his back.  If you haven’t seen the movie, feel free to click on the following link to view this scene:  Facing the Giants – Wholehearted (aka The Death Crawl)

Are we willing to death crawl with our friends and family on our backs?  And are we willing to trust our friends and family to carry us when we need it?

I know that most of the time, I wrap up my blogs with an answer, tied with a pretty bow.  I don’t have the answer tonight….  Just something to think about…



About Sarah Salter


  1. It’s funny… ask if we are willing to do the death crawl …. no, I’m not. I am so willing to carry and lead someone through, but never ask for help. You know, your writing has really made me see things about myself I never would have taken the time to notice.

    I have a lot of work still needing to be done.
    But God ain’t through with me yet!

    I had all the answers 15 years ago, didn’t I? lol Now I am like you….I just have to admit that I don’t know everything and I need help. I am like your friend. I never take care of ME. Ever. I cant remember the last time I told someone NO or just relaxed cause I wanted to. There is always something that needs to be done for someone. I am blessed to have my Tim and my boys…I would never regret putting all my time and efforts in them, but so many outside influences needing all of me…and none of them understand how worn out they are making me because I wont tell them. How do I tell them NO and I am done…without hurting them or leading them down a harsh path?

  2. Vanessa says:

    I have learned the hard way about not taking care of myself or not letting others help me. I think we women tend to believe the lie that it is a sign of weakness if we can’t do it all.
    I have found that accepting and asking for help eases the burden. I’m not only a better wife, friend, but a better Christian.
    When I am well rested and peaceful; I find that I can serve with joy instead out of obligation and resentment. And when I serve with joy, I can’t explain the feeling and the joy that I am able to spread. Isn’t that what Christianity is all about? Not just believing in Christ, but spreading his word with love and joy?

  3. Wow. Again with the very relevant and pointed question. I’m going to have to stop lurking around here if you are going to ask such challenging questions.

    I liked the analogy with the bible story about letting others carry us to Jesus sometimes. Tough one when we keep trying to tell others that our legs are fine.


  4. Barbara says:

    Hum.. thats all I can say right now..I don’t like carrying myself.. but the one other than God that carried me is gone.. and that not fun.. but as you say we have to think about this one for a while.


  5. Sarah Salter says:

    Sharkbait- I think a lot of people have the same questions… I’m just puttin’ ’em out there and admittin’ that I have ’em, too. One of the things I’ve started noticing is that most of us are afraid to open up about our questions until we realize that other people have them, too. I just figured I’d start the ball rolling. 🙂

  6. Once again you’ve managed to move me to a higher level of contemplation. The story of the four friends who lowered the paralytic man through the roof so that Jesus could heal him came alive for me a few years ago. That story lingers in my mind and frequently comes out in prayer when I’m interceding before the Lord. I don’t have the answers either, but I know that Jesus wants us to us to feel worthy of not only His love, but the love of others as well. And that means lowering our guard and letting people in to help us. Thank you for the moving video. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but my mom owns the DVD so I’ll have to watch it next time I visit her.

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    Sharon, I first saw that movie at a young adults’ retreat a couple of years ago. There were eleven of us piled on a king-sized bed together watching it. (That’s a trick that you should try with your closest 10 friends.) At the end of that scene, I looked around and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Even the ultra-macho guys were swallowing hard and clearing their throats. 🙂 And at the end of the movie… Oh, well, I suppose I won’t spoil it for you. 🙂 You definitely need to see the whole thing!

  8. SarahBee says:

    Thank you, Sarah. This post speaks to the depths of my soul today.
    You bless me, sister

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