” … Then one day, my world was shattered.”
But wait. Let’s start at the beginning.
I was blessed to spend 18 years as a stay-at-home mom. That was the desire of my heart. But my kids started growing up, so at age 47 I decided I would go back to school and become a special education teacher.
My “ministry” became teaching children with disabilities. I prayed for my students and prayed that God would use me in the public school system.
I hung a starfish on my desk lamp to remind me that I might not be changing the world, but if I could help even one child, my prayer would be answered. (See “The Starfish Story” below.)
Then suddenly my world was falling apart. I lost my job because of lies that were told about me. These lies tarnished my record and eventually ended my career. With my emotions in high gear, I could not stop crying. I was completely devastated and left with a long drive home.How could this happen? I thought I couldn’t go on. In an emotional state of mind, I made the decision to retire with only seventeen years of experience.
You can imagine the thoughts that went through my mind. I doubted everything I had previously believed. (Surely teaching had not been God’s will. I should have never done this! It was all in my head. I’m a failure. And worst of all: I never really helped anyone.)
Have you ever been there? Have you ever questioned everything? When you are hurt, you are vulnerable to the attacks of Satan and can begin to believe his lies. But God lifted me out of the valley of despair. This is what happened:
That very night, I met a friend for dinner, which had been planned several days before. She knew nothing about what happened to me that day, but she had a gift and a note from her son a former student from 15 years before). The note thanked me for all I had done for him. The gift was a beautiful sparkling starfish on a silver chain.
When I saw that sparkling starfish, I was overwhelmed by God’s love and kindness. God was speaking loud and clear to my heart and mind, “I know what is going on. I know your heart is crushed, but I am with you and watching over you. You are not a failure.”
I realize now that even if God had not sent me such a great encouragement, He would have been watching over me just the same. We must always remember that He is with us every single day and He knows our every care. Sometimes He will give us visible reassurance, but most of the time He wants us to believe His promises and stretch our faith.
The Starfish Story
A young girl was walking along a beach upon which thousands of starfish had been washed up during a terrible storm. When she came to each starfish, she would pick it up, and throw it back into the ocean. People watched her with amusement.
She had been doing this for some time when a man approached her and said, “Little girl, why are you doing this? Look at this beach! You can’t save all these starfish. You can’t begin to make a difference!”
The girl seemed crushed, suddenly deflated. But after a few moments, she bent down, picked up another starfish, and hurled it as far as she could into the ocean. Then she looked up at the man and replied, “Well, I made a difference to that one!”
— Adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren C. Eiseley
Meditate on God’s promises.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. The flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy one of Israel, your Savior…” Isaiah 43:2-3
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you.” Isaiah 43:5
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you … ” Isaiah 41:10
This Is My Journey Unscripted.
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