By Laura Bailey, Crosswalk.com
The Unexpected Gift of Availability
By Laura Bailey
"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." Galatians 5:13 ESV
Have you ever had a conversation that radically changed your life? Perhaps you prayed, asking God for wisdom, and He sent along someone who shared exactly what you needed to hear.
After the birth of my second daughter, I became a full-time stay-at-home mom. As weeks of taking care of our girls turned to months, I became restless. In the dark, early mornings (the only time I had to myself anymore), my mind wandered. Am I wasting my talent if my days are spent caring for my children? I was used to having a schedule full of coffee dates, lunch meetings, and conference calls. No one had to wonder what I did all day because I had the sales numbers to prove my worth. I knew that my true identity was in Christ, but I was lonely and felt consumed by motherhood.
The first time my husband and I visited the church we now call home, I'll never forget the warmth and welcoming nature of the community. I began volunteering in children's ministry and met two of the sweetest souls. Their love for the Lord and servant's heart was contagious; we quickly developed a friendship that eventually evolved into mentorship. Both of these women left the workforce when they had children, and even though they were empty-nesters, neither had returned to full-time work.
Finding their situations odd, I asked why they never resumed working outside the home after their children were grown. Their response forever changed my perspective on the struggles of my current season. They both provided the same answer, "I wanted to be available." Available? As in no "real" purpose of their own except fulfilling the needs of others? Yes, that's precisely what they meant. These ladies had a kingdom mindset; their purpose was to glorify God and make Him known in whatever task they had that day. They shared that they felt God placed them in a unique situation.
They believed their primary role and responsibility was stewarding their marriage and children. They did so by taking care of their families, diligently teaching them biblical truths, guiding their children to live godly lives, and disciplining and correcting them when they went astray. Next, they wanted to be active in the local church by attending Bible studies, praying for others, caring for children, and mentoring the next generation of women. Lastly, they wanted to be available to be a light in their community. They were active in outreach programs feeding the hungry and giving time to people who needed a listening ear. And on top of all that, they spent hours in prayer and Bible study.
God used these women to show me that being available is very significant to God! I pondered their response and thought of how I'd felt that my new role as a stay-at-home mom was somehow insignificant to God. I wrongly assumed God gave more critical assignments to others and left me to "just take care of the kids.
Not all kingdom assignments are glamorous; motherhood indeed isn't most days. But, when we think about Jesus' life and how he spent most of His time, we can be encouraged.
This world will feed us the lie that significance is found in a job title, a bank statement, social followers, or status. In God's Kingdom, the greatest are those who humble themselves in service to others as Jesus modeled.
One conversation with two wise women taught me that my purpose wasn't in what I could accomplish in a day but rather in how I was using my time to serve those around me. Eventually, my girls will grow up, and my days of around-the-clock mothering will diminish, leaving open opportunities on my calendar. When that time comes, may their wise advice remind me to continue making myself available and willing to serve others for God's glory, not my own.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
Take a look at your schedule. Is there any availability for spontaneous service? Could you weave in space to foster relationships or spend time with the Lord? Pray God would provide you with margin and availability to serve others.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Daisy
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