Several weeks ago, my friend Karey emailed me a prayer request. She asked me to pray for her best friend, Amy. Amy was entering rehab after putting up with years of abuse from her husband. Amy and her husband Jack were also in the middle of a messy divorce AND they have 3 young children. From the moment I first heard about this situation, my heart has been heavy for Amy and her kids. Fortunately, with God's help, Amy left rehab and is today beginning her first day at a new job. She is also fighting for joint custody of her kids. I am hearing that her now ex-husband is making this very difficult. My heart just goes out to this woman. I prayed especially hard for her this morning as I felt a very heavy burden for her.
This got me thinking. Why was I so worried about this woman I have never met? Why do I think about her and pray for her so often? I realized a "gift" that I think surely God must have given me. As far back as I can remember, I have always felt things VERY deeply. VERY deeply. And to be honest, I think I have always just thought of myself as overly sensitive and that it was kind of a "character flaw." But God spoke to me this morning in those prayers I was praying for Amy and her children. I believe God has planted within me a heart that longs to walk alongside those who are hurting and help carry their burdens. What better way to do that than through prayer? I think I have always felt deeply for others, but I really don't think I understood why until now. Actually, I think I started realizing it when I heard an evangelist speak at a local church about love. His message had a tremendous impact on my life and on my attitude towards others--especially those who are lonely and hurting. And it's only been in the last year or so that I have really understood that God had a purpose--actually, many purposes--for all the trials I have faced. He wanted to use them. He wanted me to hold tight to Him through the pain and uncertainty and trust Him to see me through. He gave me strength and comfort and the capacity to understand similar struggles of others so that I could comfort them with the same comfort He gave me. Then, he led me to The Power of a Praying Parent bible study at church and THAT strengthend my prayer life dramatically. Not only has it become a "knee jerk" reaction to pray when I am faced with anxious thoughts or any kind of worry, but through this study I have also learned what a privilege it is to pray for others. How it actually makes my own burdens seem much lighter! It blesses them AND me! :) And it is so exciting to see God answer. And as I see God answer big things, little things, ANYthing, I see my faith increase. And as I share with others about answers to prayer I see, THEIR faith is increased as well. And lately I have been praying that God would help me identify the gifts He has given me (because I have a hard time seeing them!) and most importantly, that He would show me how He wants me to use them to bring glory to Him. I know He answered that prayer this morning. I think He wants me to use that "deep feeling" for others by, at least, interceding in their lives by carrying their burdens in prayer and helping them to see His power and love. And I am so excited. It is cool to see how God can use something in me...something I regarded as small and unimportant...just a heavy heart for others. Now if I just simply "feel bad" for those who are hurting, what's so great about that? It's when I let God use that burden in my life that He is truly glorified and others truly blessed.
Hope this inspires you, too, to ask God to reveal the gifts He has given you so that you can use them for His glory.