Besides trusting God completely (which I talked about in part three), we also need to come to the place where what we want no longer matters. To be available is to be available no matter what—even if we don’t like what God is asking us to do or if we think our plans are better.
In 1999 I’d had some publishing success. I’d written some articles and some curriculum, but what I really wanted was to write books. I wanted to write not just any books, but Christian books and novels that would give glory to God. The only problem is that nobody wanted to buy these Christian books. I had an agent at the time who was shaking her head in disbelief; they looked good to me and to her, so why wasn’t anybody biting?
To make matters worse, finally someone was interested in not just one book, but in a nine-book series . . . only to change their mind. To say I was frustrated and impatient was an understatement.
Then my pastor called and asked me to pray about something. Well, we all know what that means.
My pastor knew about my experiences as a teenage mother. He knew about my past abortion and how I was leading Bible studies for other women, and He asked me if I was interested in helping to start a crisis pregnancy center.
I WAS NOT interested. But I did what all good Christians do: I told him I would pray about it.
The next morning after devotions I prayed, “Oh Lord, you know I can’t start a crisis pregnancy center. I don’t have time. I’m doing your work, writing articles that reach people all around the world.”
As I sat there praying, although I didn’t hear an audible voice, God’s answer was clear. “What about the people in your community? What are you doing to help them?”
Ugh. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. But I couldn’t argue with God. So I did it. I dragged my feet all the way, but I did it. I was in my mid-twenties, had no idea how to start a non-profit organization, but I did it.
And you know what? God provided. Amazingly. In my weakness His strength was complete. He drew dozens of volunteers. He provided free training. He gave us a Victorian house to use for our center. He provided everything we needed.
Wow! It was another boost to my faith. On a day-to-day basis, as we built the center, the other volunteers and I prayed specifically, and God answered. We prayed for money for carpet; the next day a check was in the mail. We prayed for furniture for the center, and it was provided.
This again showed me what God was all about. He was about reaching people and loving people. He just needed us to be willing to join Him in His work.
And you know what else? I LOVED IT! I loved seeing lives transformed. I loved working with teen mothers. God knew the desires of my heart even more than I knew myself!
I had dreams, desires, and longings in me that I didn’t know existed, but God knew. He always knows.
As Smith Wigglesworth says, “God does not call those who are equipped, He equips those whom He has called.”
God also did something else. He also showed me that when I take care of His work, He’ll take care of mine. Amazingly, He took me on a journey and plopped these World War II stories right on my lap while telling me to write them as fictional books. I wrote, and God provided book contracts and speaking events. My writing exploded in ways I hadn’t dreamed possible.
And . . . then God did the miracle only He knew could happen. He tied them both together. I began writing about my work with pregnancy centers and teenage mothers. My book, Life Interrupted: The Scoop on Being a Young Mom, was also published.
Which is another point of being available to God: We need to pay attention to where we’ve been . . . because it usually ties in to where we’re going.
As Henry Blackaby says in the Experiencing God Bible study, “When God gets ready for you to take a new step or direction in His activity, it will always be I sequence with what He has already been doing in your life. He does not go off on tangents or take meaningless detours. He builds your character in an orderly fashion with a divine purpose in mind.”
And Philippians 1:6 (NIV) says, “. . . he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
God had big plans for my writing. But they were different than what I’d imagined. His healing of my past was used in my future to present hope to those facing the same circumstances. He also had big plansfor so much more that included writing fiction, which I love.
God didn’t see me as a statistic. In fact, He saw me as a person who could help others overcome the same challenges. He saw someone who He could work through—someone who would be an example of what God can do in the weakest of people.
In fact, as 2 Corinthians 1:5 (The Message) says, “[God] comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us.”
Which leads us to another aspect of being available: ninety-nine percent of the time, availability to God means availability to people. Hurting people. Hopeless people. People that God wants to love through you.