“The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord,
for the Lord is about to pass by.’”
~ Kings 19:11a
I found my old Twitter account last night, and I sat with my 15-year-old on the couch and read some funny one-line recollections of our days together when he was 6. August 25, 2012, made us really laugh because it read, “How long will my family all want to occupy the same square foot that I am in?”
He burst out laughing as he declared, “We did that THIS MORNING!!” And he was not wrong. All four of my kids were literally on top of me earlier that morning as we were slow to start our day and just sitting around on my bed. Arms and legs everywhere until it turned into wrestling, and then I promptly shooed them away.
It reminds me that it is really hard for me, as a mom, to make myself available. Honestly, it is inconvenient. I don’t enjoy wrestling on my bed. But now, as a mom of older kids, I can really see the importance of being present without an agenda. Availability becomes the economy and currency to be involved in my kids’ lives. It is the avenue we as moms have to influence our kids’ lives when they start to choose to whom they listen. Availability gives us a voice as we listen to their concerns and wrestle in the serious and silly moments. It is through the availability I give them that we forge common memories, vulnerability, and relationships.
I expressed 9 years ago how annoyed I was by the constant proximity of my kids, and today I kicked the wrestlers out of my room. I have not changed my attitude or behavior regarding availability in NINE YEARS of opportunities to do so. Why is it so difficult for me? Even when life is lemonade, I find myself shying away from being present for my kids.
Added to this, we—as a culture—are all experiencing uphill battles this year that fall way outside of our expectations. There is a trend of HARDSHIP that is edging its way into the lives of people we love and care for and into our own. Putting them all together makes me feel exhausted and if I am honest it is stealing my hope. The last thing I want to be is available.
But what I do want is to live the spirit-filled life that God says is ours. In 2 Timothy 1:7, we see that this life is marked by power, love, and self-control. I just don’t know how to do this every day. How do we battle this crazy time of grief, loss, and overwhelming decline of finances and well-being? And oh, yes, also be an outstanding mom? We need some power.
Good news — the Bible is filled with hard, overwhelming days. Enter Elijah: Old Testament prophet who went out on some significant limbs to prove to everyone that God is AMAZING. And, no one cared. He made himself available to everyone and was rejected. In fact, he found himself running away from the Israelites because they had killed every other prophet but him and he was next. It was a really bad season for him.
Elijah found himself hiding in a cave, full of fear, weak in health, homeless, penniless, and alone. With which of these do you identify? Loneliness is the silent pandemic of our day. Maybe anxiety controls more of our days than we care to admit. Likely, we are in the throes of more than one of these circumstances like Elijah. These are REAL things. We need real answers and real hope.
So what did God do about his servant Elijah? He showed up.
Look at how God responds after Elijah pours his circumstances out to him in 1 Kings 19:11a, “The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.’”
What Elijah needed is God’s presence. That is the power. That is the missing balm to heal his wounds, bring him direction, hope, and strength for him to move on. And it is what we need too. The crazy truth is that God is always available to us through his Holy Spirit.
The action asked of Elijah is to make himself available. That’s it. It is really simple: he has to walk outside of his cave and stand on the mountain. He doesn’t have to repeat special prayers. He doesn’t have to try harder. He doesn’t have to read the right book. He just has to stand up, walk out, and be available for the Lord to pass by him.
So, dear mom, the question is this:
- How do we make ourselves available to God?
- How do we leave OUR caves and stand on the mountain?
For we desperately need the presence of God to blow through our houses and workplaces and churches.
“I rise before dawn and cry for help;
I have put my hope in your word.
My eyes stay open through the watches of the night,
that I may meditate on your promises.
Hear my voice in accordance with your love;
Preserve my love, Lord, according to your laws.”
The psalmist shows us the way. Don’t worry, the remedy is not waking before dawn. But the spirit of the Psalmist’s advice is this: do something out of the routine that may be inconvenient. DO something that makes you available to God.
Maybe it IS praying through the night.
Or maybe it is praying through the loading of the dishwasher.
Maybe it is memorizing just one verse of this psalm while driving. “Preserve my love, Lord, according to your laws. Preserve my love, Lord, according to your laws.”
Maybe it is just being honest in a two-minute break at work, “Lord, I need you to hear my voice in accordance to your love—please.”
And just as we are rewarded in relationship with our kids by being inconvenienced and available to them, we also strengthen our relationships with Jesus by being available to him. We give him an avenue to speak to us and to be influenced and strengthened by him. In turn, he gives us direction and hope.
We don’t have to figure out the world and be everything today. Our lives are hard. Being available is enough. God will meet us there.
Reflect + Respond
- In what circumstance of my life do I need God’s presence?
- What simple way can I make myself available to God today?
Lord, help me be available to you today and then extend that same grace to my kids. Please show up for me; I am having a hard time and I need you. Amen.
Read through the life and times of Elijah (1 Kings 17-18). Be encouraged by his faith and be on the lookout for the character of God that is revealed.
Listen to Spirit of the Living God and make it a prayer for God to do big things in you and your circumstances today.
Joanna Rozier is a mom of 4 fantastic boys and lives in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago with her husband, Andi. Amidst all the chaos of raising young men she works as an Occupational Therapist, delights in studying the Bible, reading fiction, writing poetry, date nights and game nights. Joanna has a strong desire for people to lean into the deep well of God’s Word, leading to a closer walk with Him through the valleys and mountaintops of everyday life.