This post may sound strange to some of you.
- The circumstances of my life’s journey has found me to be alone quite a bit of the time.
- There have been many highs and some lows.
- People have come into and departed from my life.
- Through it all I became an observer and a thinker.
- Everything that happens to us in this life is a teaching experience; both for ourselves and others.
I have the habit of highlighting or saving some things that I read.
- I also jot down notes and dates of anything that speaks to me.
- Thus, you have the quotes that I use at the end of each post.
- In this area, organization is not my greatest attribute.
- There are too many notes and ideas of various sizes in several places.
- But when I am attracted to a subject, I usually find what I need.
That brings us to “OPPORTUNITIES.”
- The thoughts of this post were easy to find. I wrote them in the front of my Bible.
- I was sitting in the choir (on a Sunday) listening to our pastor’s message.
- Have no idea what he said, but whatever it was my mind was led down a specific path.
- Before I lost my train of thought I quickly wrote them down.
PROBLEMS ARE NOT PROBLEMS, THEY ARE OPPORTUNITIES.
They are opportunities to learn
They are opportunities to grow
They are opportunities to listen
They are opportunities for faith
They are opportunities to minister
WOW. Just now in typing these five lines, I have made a personal discovery.
- It is time to divert from where this post was originally going.
- I am once again confronted with my water shed experience on this road which we call life.
In the mountains of Colorado there is a specific altitude area which is called the Continental Divide.
- In past years my husband, myself and our children have crossed over that Divide many times.
- It is the point in the United States that determines whether ALL rain water will flow east to the Atlantic Ocean or west to the Pacific Ocean.
- Everything rises to and flows down from that peak.
- In short, it determines the water shed of the United States.
- Most of my life I applied myself to grow toward what was my destiny.
- Unexpectedly that peak was reached and everything has flowed downward from that time forward.
Without giving it much thought, I have just discovered these short phrases written down years ago “OPPORTUNITIES” are both the challenge and in many ways the basis of my life.
- These quickly recorded ideas were written on February 22, 1987.
- The next day February 23rd would be my husband’s and oldest daughter’s birthday.
- Sixteen months later on June 23,1989 we buried our precious eldest child. WOW….when lest expected we are confronted with the thoughts and ideals of our lives.
- WOW, WOW, WOW. Now, it was the appointed time for me to live out the words that I believed and shared with others.
THEY ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO LEARN.
- I learned God was real and His Word was true.
- For myself He became a “Wonderful Counsellor” *(Isaiah 9:6).
- He revealed Himself to me in an unusual and personal way.
- I learned morning always comes after the darkest night.
- I learned to stand more strongly on His promises.
- l learned that the principles that were the foundation of my life must be lived out for others.
- In short, “practice what you preach.”
THEY ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO GROW.
- I had to become a big girl now. It was necessary for me to become the family rock.
- In three weeks time our immediate family absorbed three blows.
- My husband had just had major surgery and was still in a weakened condition.
- Our middle child had just gotten out of a long stay in the hospital (trying to give birth to a seven months baby); was confined to home on an IV.
- Our oldest had an automobile accident which took her life.
- We quickly had to fly out of state to join our son-in-law and make funeral arrangements.
A week later when my family flew home, I stayed behind with our loved “son” to take care of a precious six months old baby boy; until this young husband and father, which we loved, could finish his job and move back into town where his parents would be able to help him with the baby.
Yesterday was gone and there was a new family dynamic that needed to be created. Had to let go of so many things in life that are unimportant. The things that we cling to both emotionally and physically. I now knew for sure that life is to be lived “one day at a time.” We never know what tomorrow will bring, so we must look for the best in each day. There was no choice but to go forward one step and one day at a time. That was imperative for me….for others were watching and following.
THEY ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO LISTEN.
- Once back at home it was time to really start my journey through grief.
- It seemed that I just couldn’t settle down and read anything; even my Bible, so…..I listen a lot; mostly to music.
- Sometimes just the majestic music of the old masters.
- At times the music of our day.
- Music with beautiful instrumentals or maybe with words that were encouraging.
- It might be secular or gospel music.
- I listened to good teachers on the radio.
- I heard men and women speak who had to travel difficult roads.
- Most of the time I just listen to God. He was always there, especially in the silent times.
- I love the scripture in the Old Testament where King David says: “I just came to sit before you Lord.”
THEY ARE OPPORTUNITIES FOR FAITH.
- This was a unknown path. Above all else on this new journey, God must be honored.
- My faith grew immensely. You see “I had walked through the valley of the shadow of death” and “His rod and staff had comforted me.” *(Psalm 23:4).
- There were many alone days when my heart would ache almost more that I could stand.
- God was my refuge and help. I would go “boldly to the throne of grace to find help in my time of need.” *(Hebrews 4:16).
- Many times I told God “I’m not going to look into the future and the experiences with my child that will never be, but with You I can do this TODAY.”
- I’m so thankful that what they say are the many stages of grief, I skipped.
- Acceptance was there at the beginning…..because of faith.
These next few words are for the skeptics and non-believers. Read them clearly and understand what they say: FAITH IS NOT A CRUTCH, IT IS STRENGTH. The way to be strong is to let go of yourself and choose to put your faith and trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.” *(Titus 2:11)
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but, have everlasting life…For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved…He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” *(John 3:16-18)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift…not from works, so that no one can boast.” **(Ephesians 2:8-9)
“I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” **(John 8:12)
“But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.” **(John 20:31)
“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.” **(Acts 4:12)
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved…With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation.” **(Romans 10:9-10)
“The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” **(2 Peter 3:9)
“I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” *(John 10:10)
To those of you who do not believe this, I only ask one thing. Take time to think about what has been said and the Scriptures given. Basically, we are strangers, but you are in my thoughts and I am someone who cares about you and your life choices. Feel free to comment or ask questions. I don’t have all the answers, but have learned many things about what and Who is true.
THEY ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO MINISTER.
- Once you have traveled a difficult path you have been given the gift of guiding others who are at the beginning of the same road.
- You go along side of them and whisper in their ear: “I made it through and you will too. Others have walked this same road and called back….the walk will get easier, the night will be gone, the tears will diminish, the sun will shine again, you will remember once more how to sing and laugh.”
- But you must listen to this warning. You cannot comfort someone going through a painful experience with the words: “I know how you feel and what you are going through.” This statement can only be uttered by those who have truly had the experience.
Again, I say WOW. This post certainly and quickly led me in an unplanned direction. Absorb these words for they are life and truth. I leave you with the words from a book that comes to my thoughts frequently. They simply say:
“In acceptance lieth peace.”
“The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him.” **(Nahum 1:7)
*King James Version
**Holman Christian Standard Version