I was suddenly and painfully aware that I am on the downward curve of life, whereas these young people sitting around me are just beginning their adventure! I felt old.
Discouragement began to seep into my spirit. I pushed it away, and turned to the young woman sitting next to me and introduced myself, striking up a conversation before class started.
I was surprised to find her immediately opening up to me with quite a bit of personal information. She was a young single mom, working, going to school full time, and trying to make a life for herself and her young daughter. Alone. She began to share how she found it hard to identify with those around her at college, which resulted in her feeling even more alone. Whereas they could hang out in the dorms, go to parties, do homework with each other and enjoy the college scene, she had a far different life. The duties of a mother with a young child, maintaining an apartment, cooking, cleaning, keeping a part time job, etc. all came before homework and any social life. As she spoke, her voice quivered with the emotion she was holding back.
I listened to her pour out her struggles, to me a stranger, and I ached for her. This was the sort of thing she should of been sharing with someone who had known her much longer than 3 minutes! Maybe even someone like her mother!
I smiled, nodded, asked questions and all the while silently prayed the Lord would come alongside this young woman with all that she needed. She needed a lot, and only He would be able to do it!
I affirmed her commitments to her child as a mother, trying to get a college education to better her job prospects, and the inner strength she had to even attempt it all. That was all I could do before the professor began the class and our conversation was cut off.
I have prayed for this young woman ever since. I can't get her out of my mind. I am looking forward to other encounters she and I will have in the days ahead and how the Lord would want me to reach out to her and introduce Christ into her life. Even if I don't have any future encounters, I know my prayers WILL impact her life because I serve and pray to a God who is an impacting God!
The Bible tells us to always be ready to share with those around us the faith we have in Jesus. To look and see the fields ripe and ready for harvest. To be fragrance and light to those around us EVERY DAY of the great love and presence of Jesus. Whatever the context, He has prepared those around you to be receptors of Him. In some way, in some degree....we have opportunities before us. Are you looking?
I was so glad the Lord forgave my moment of self pity and refocused me on what really matters. People. And in this case, this young woman, who needed someone to care about her life and listen to her struggles.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him." John 3:16-17
Being old enough to be like a mother to these fellow classmates, actually, isn't so bad after all!