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I’ll be honest. I struggled with “H”. So many “H” words come to mind, and this time of year, heartbreak & hope are knit tightly together for me. I can’t begin to share my grief, not yet, not now. But another “H” word has surfaced recently, and I want to watch for where it might surface in my own life, either as a gift to me or a gift I can give.

Hineni.  It’s a powerful Hebrew word that means “Here I am”. It is an offer of total availability. It is a call to unconditional devotion and a willingness to sacrifice.

To a broken soul, to a frightened child, to an insecure wife it can mean:

I am present. I am listening. I am going to take care of you. I am going to comfort you. I am going to stay. I am going to walk with you through this.

Months ago I read a story about a photo a husband took of his wife, sleeping next to her daughter in the crib. The wife later explained the promise she had made to her little girl.

Just before their daughter was born, this Mom heard a missionary speak about an orphanage he visited in Africa. In its nursery, were 100 cribs with 100 babies, but there were no sounds. No gurgles or coos. No crying. Just silence.  When he asked the host why it was so quiet, she explained that “after about a week of them being here, and crying out for countless hours, they eventually stop when they realize no one is coming for them”.

This breaks my heart.

I believe, at the heart of every person, is a deep need to have someone in their life who will say Hineni – Here I am!

Little Guy once asked me “How much do you love me?” and I answered him. I didn’t know at the time that I could have summed up my whole explanation in one word: Hineni – Here I am. Here I will always be. I am present. I am listening. I will comfort you. I will guide you. I will walk with you. I offer you my unconditional love and I am willing to sacrifice everything for you.

It’s how a parent should respond to their child. It’s how spouses should respond to one another. It’s how friends should respond too. I pray I have responded this way to my family and friends, thousands of times. And I pray that it will be thousands more.