The HELP Button

By June 24, 2020 2 Comments

A few weeks ago, I was mowing. In Iowa, mowing is a fact of life. We were months into the spring season and rain and the pandemic. I was a bit snarky that day, tired of wearing a mask, tired of endless games of fetch with my puppy, and tired of staying away from the people I love.

As I rounded the northern oak trees, I saw something on the ground. It was a robin’s nest, empty but beautifully crafted. In simpler times and in better moods, I would have stopped the mower, picked up the nest and set it in a safe place. But on that day, I ran right over it. For the rest of my mowing session, a bad feeling dogged me. I don’t normally disregard things that I value. But I finished mowing and soon forgot about the diligence and sacrifice of a mama bird.

Two days ago, I noticed a spider in my bathtub. It scurried around the tub, trying to crawl up the edge of a very slippery prison. I thought to myself, that poor guy is in an impossible situation. Maybe I should help him out…or maybe I should just get a big shoe and….My phone went off. I checked the text and forgot about the spider in the tub.

Since the skies have poured buckets of rain lately, it was time to mow again this morning. I put on my old clothes, slathered on sunscreen and tromped out to the shed for the mower. I decided to mow in a different direction this time.

I was somewhat lost in thought until I approached the northern oak trees and glanced down, a bit surprised. There on the ground, just a little bit farther from its previous resting place, was the robin’s nest, still empty and still beautifully crafted. It had survived my previous callous action. I certainly could have run over it again, but something stopped me this time. Instead, I climbed down from the mower, picked it up and gently laid it in a safe place. As I returned to my mowing, I felt like I had been given a second chance—to do better, to be better.

When I finished the yard, the spider came to mind. Was he still trying to escape my bathtub? Was he even alive? I hoped he was so I could help him out. I should admit, though, that I’m afraid of spiders. But… how would I feel if I was stuck in a giant bathtub with no hope of getting out (which is kind of what this pandemic feels like.)

The spider needed help. I needed help. Don’t we all need help sometimes—to do better, to be better, to just get out when we get stuck in a hopeless situation?

Friends, it’s okay to not be okay, and it’s okay to ask for help.

The world is full of HELP buttons, sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. But here’s one button you can push anytime for any reason, and it’s completely free. I call it my ultimate HELP button:

In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came before Him, into His ears.

Psalm 18:6

So I pushed the ultimate HELP button, and ‘my cry’ went something like this:

Dear God, please help me get this spider out of the house without it crawling on me, and if it does crawl on me, please help me not to scream bloody murder and terrify the neighbors so that they think I’m a crazy old woman which they probably already do since they’ve seen me in my bathrobe trying to get my puppy to go potty in the wee morning hours when it was dark and—


Which I did. A mere 6.3  seconds later, the spider had crawled on the paper, survived my flight to the door, and was happily adjusting to his new life on the front porch, maybe even meeting up with old buddies… Operation Bathtub Rescue was a resounding success.

Whatever you’re facing today, whether it’s a spider in your tub or surviving a pandemic, I pray you will have the help you need. Hang in there, and please remember, no problem is too little or too big for the One who hears us when we call.

Until next time…



Joy Cleveland is an author, histotechnologist, wife, mother, and shameless grandmother. She has published short stories, children's plays, and her debut novel, "To Call My Own." Best known for heartwarming and hope-filled stories, she calls Iowa home.


  • Kimberly Cleveland says:

    Great writing as usual Joy! You always make me smile to read what you write. I can so relate! We all need help at times and only need to ask the One who is always there to help us. Thanks for brightening my day.

  • Virginia Chambers says:

    What a wonderful story . That could have been my story !! I would have rescued that spider for sure !! <3 ,3 <3 <3 <3 <3

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