Making Room for More

Over ten years ago, I was at a women’s conference when a thought popped up in my head, “Do not let your tiredness be your ‘bowl of lentils’.”

I was newly widowed. I was taking care of young children while handling a significant workload in my job, with functional responsibilities over a number of countries in Australasia. I did much of my grieving while driving to work. Bawling my eyes out at the stop lights. Staying up until the midnight hour, after the children were in bed and the work was done, pouring my heart out to God.

I was often tired. There was no time for meeting friends. No room to care for another soul. No energy to help others.

“Do not let your tiredness be your bowl of lentils.”  The life of Esau and Jacob instantly came to mind. Esau gave up his rights and privileges of being the first-born because appetite ruled his life. Do I let tiredness rule my life? Will tiredness limit my enjoyment of a full and meaningful life? Do I allow tiredness to shrink my world?

“I don’t know how I can do more.” [my complaint]

“But if you want me to make room, then you can help me do that.” [my prayer]

“Jesus, help me have a heart with room for others. Give me the strength (and a little bit more) that I need for each day.” [my plea]

And God did not disappoint.

My work in Australia, New Zealand and Asia Pacific prospered. Then I moved my family to the United States. We found a home and a welcoming community in North Carolina. And my work located at Research Triangle Park, the largest research park in the US, was an amazing experience. I led a couple of global business and IT transformation programs for the company, touching people, process and systems across more than 50 countries. That, too, was accomplished.

My children flourished. In spite of their loss, they cleaved closer to God. Loving and kind, responsible and faithful, wise and compassionate. They are my delight.

I discovered new friendships. And I learned to love friends as family.

I learned to care about and love more than just my own children. My heart had room for other people, as if they were my own kin. 

And I found a new passion: praying for healing and helping others through significant storms in life.

Fast forward to the present. I am going to Uganda later this year to join a Watoto medical mission to help widows and orphans. For just over two weeks, I will leave my work to the capable hands of my team, my home to the responsible adults that my children have become.

I did not let tiredness be my ‘bowl of lentils’. Rather than shrinking, my world is expanding.

What about you? What could be your ‘bowl of lentils’? What’s stopping you from enlarging your life? What is blocking your path to a full and meaningful life, at work and at home?

Would you like to ask God to expand your heart so that you will have more room for others? More room for God? More room to be the person you were created to be.


I am going to Uganda later this year to join the Watoto Medical Mission to help widows and orphans. Would you like to help me? I am raising funds via GoFundMe. I will be sharing e-cards and an e-book to friends, advocates and champions, so you feel part of the journey. Go to https://www.gofundme.com/joyceharkness2uganda to be part of it all.


Image courtesy of Watoto.com 

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