Hello? Anyone there? Anyone listening?
Ever feel this way? Like you are such a tiny, insignificant voice in the world that no one hears you? I felt that way just this morning, as I stood in my boys’ bedroom, piles of trash, dirty laundry, books and toys at my ankles. Before I even opened my mouth they had perfected the Vacant Stare. You know the one I mean. The one where they pretend to listen while actually plotting to shove everything in a corner the second I leave.
I find this particularly frustrating. And this is just one example of the kind of things that happen each day. It’s not just because I’m a stay-at-home mom of kids with little-to-no short term memory. I experienced similar frustrations when I worked full time. It’s discouraging to feel as though your voice is not heard, and it becomes easy to wonder What’s the point? Why even try?
A few weeks ago, I was reassured in the nicest way that, yes, someone is listening. I was at a conference when a woman I had never met came up to me. She said, “You probably don’t know who I am, but several years ago my daughter stayed with you…” She proceeded to tell me how her teenage daughter was blessed by the week she spent with me in our home. A warm feeling of complete joy filled my heart when I heard this – it was like coming home to a surprise package on the doorstep. Of course, I remembered her daughter, and the time we spent together, but I didn’t remember doing anything special. I remembered joking with her, talking together and watching a movie or two, just hanging out and doing normal stuff. But something I said in that week helped her daughter somehow.
I can think of so many people who have done the same for me – people who offered a word of two of encouragement right when I needed it. I’m sure, for example, my friend Bill has no idea he gave me confidence to keep writing when I wondered if I should quit. I’m sure my sister (in law) Whitney has no idea how much I needed her gentle reminder to forgive someone many years ago. I’m sure my friend Nichole has no idea how much she inspires me by all she does, especially those times her husband is deployed. And I could go on and on and on… Many of you would make my list as well with things you have said or done to encourage me.
This is especially important to remember as we make our Christian walk through the world. One of our goals is to witness to the salvation Christ gives, and we can do this in the quietest, most unassuming ways. We can just hang out, get to know someone, and offer a simple testimony of how the Lord works in our lives. When the LORD came to Elijah, He wasn’t found in the great and powerful wind, or the earthquake, or the fire, but in the gentle whisper (I Kings 19). Likewise, our approach doesn’t have to be loud, in-your-face, revival style witnessing. It can be one small statement in one regular old conversation that makes a difference for someone. You likely will never even know it happened, but what an amazing thing it is to know God can, and does, use you. Yes, YOU.
So next time you wonder if you anyone hears you as you go about your completely normal and average day, remember that someone is always listening. And remember, too, the lesson of Queen Esther: For who knows whether the Lord has brought you here for just such a time as this?