The year my husband died one of my best friends spent several hours a week on the phone with me. After my children went to bed and her family was settled for the evening, she would call at least once a week and we would talk late into the night as I sorted through a confused maze of emotions. It was exhausting for both of us, but I desperately needed the encouragement and counsel more than I needed the sleep. Though she didn’t always have answers it was encouraging to know I was not alone in my struggles as she shared from her own experiences and reminded me of God’s sovereignty and His provision. The exhortation was incredibly one-sided and I am extremely grateful for those late night talks in which she was willing to wear herself out for me.

Although I have never given my time to someone else as often or for as long as my sweet friend counseled me, over the years I have had the privilege of being on the other side of those intense conversations a few times. Sometimes it was a friend in need, a few times it has been someone whom I barely knew, and sometimes I have needed to listen and encourage one of my children. (Ever notice how teenagers and young adults wait until late at night to discuss those real heart issues?) It is almost always exhausting, but I am continuously awed and amazed at how the Lord uses my weaknesses and my failures to encourage others. Rarely do I ever have any wise words of counsel, but when I open my heart and compassionately share my own struggles; when I share how the Lord has rescued me and lifted me out of the mire of sin and self; when I am willing to wear myself outside and allow someone else to see my inner struggles and fears, that is when God steps in and uses my weakness for His glory.

Lately, just the routine of daily life has left me exhausted and I am often tempted avoid conversations and dodge those situations and people that might drain me of my energy. I like keeping inner trials tucked away safely and my outward appearances cool and confident. But I wonder how much more I might be able to do; how much more my life might glorify my Savior, if I was willing to wear myself out – wear the real, sinful, shameful, broken, and redeemed me on the outside– so I could wear myself out and give myself completely- to those who are hurting and need a word of compassion and encouragement.

Lord, help me to be willing to wear myself outside when others need to hear of your saving grace and with a heart of gratitude wear myself out for Your people and Your glory.