God has taken me into a season of deep fellowship with Him. I have written only a little, and been listening a whole lot more. I have been studying His word with some amazing women and I’ve been falling more and more in love with Him along the way. You see, He’s been wanting me to love Him first so I can love others best.
For this reason, I’ve kept my formal volunteering to somewhat of a minimum, heeding God’s persistence with me: I need you only to be available. Not scheduled, not overcommitted. Available. So, that’s what I’ve been being. Available. And that is somewhat hard for a busybody to be….
Last weekend, I traveled with my mom to the great hot state of Texas to attend the wedding of a dear friend. We traveled by plane. And I did what everyone does at the departure gate. I looked around at my potential seatmates, and I saw immediately the person I hoped to avoid. It was the woman with 4 children. Listen, I have children, and they were having the time of their life with their dad, while my mom and I had a girls’ weekend all by ourselves, which never ever ever gets to happen. So, I was perfectly fine to not see children the entire weekend!
So you can probably guess what happened.
The very last people to book their flights get the very last seat on the plane. And you know how I like to procrastinate. As we walked all the way to the end of the plane, I saw her. She was talking to the flight attendant and she looked a bit frantic, and I immediately realized the problem. Her two toddlers were buckled in on one side, and my mom and I were to have the other two seats on the other side. She was going to have to sit half way up the plane, at least 10 rows away from her children.
Anticipating her request, I said, “Do you need one of us to trade so you can sit back here with your girls?”
“Oh, really? Could you?” she nearly teared up.
“Of course. No problem.”
So I directed my mom back up the aisle to a window seat, and took my seat next to the woman. She thanked me repeatedly and I sensed immediately that she was not quite herself…
You need only to be available…
So, I asked, “Are you okay?”
She wasn’t. She was on her way to a remote location in the mountains of Canada to a hospital where her father lay critically injured from a plane crash that had tragically killed her brother. And she was sitting next to me, taking the first breath she had taken since finding out the news less than 24 hours before. So, I kept my reading materials tucked away and I spent the next 2.5 hours giving her space to breathe and think and sleep and talk. And keeping one little girl from waking the other one when she discovered “THE SNACK CART IS HEEEERE!!! WE GET TO HAVE A SNAAAAAAACK!!!!” And I asked about her dad, and her mom, and her brother, and her sister. And then I prayed with her and for her precious grieving family.
And I thanked God for letting me sit next to her on the plane.
And I wondered how many similar opportunities I had missed by being too busy to avail myself to someone who only needed space to cry. How often have I not wanted to be bothered? How often have I tried to avoid a conversation that would be hard or uncomfortable or simply inconvenient?
Too many times.
Too many times I have ducked my head, turned my shoulder, looked the other way, kept my appointment, busied myself, not asked “are you really ok?”, not opened my doors, and not set my table for someone in need. In the moments I have had to reflect, God continues to whisper… I only need you to be available.
Make me available. Make me approachable. Make my heart an open table, that others may find some comfort in You through me.
Take my life and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in endless praise.
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice and let me sing,
Always, only for my King.
Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold,
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect and use
Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.
Take my will and make it Thine,
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own,
It shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
– Frances R. Havergal