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Do you read about the amazing things other women have done with a sinking heart?

“Why can’t I do something like that?”
“She’s obviously got more faith, talents or opportunities than me.”

The truth is that each of us has a unique life and God opens different doors for us all. Remember Psalm 139 that says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb,” and again, “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Corrie ten Boom once said that “the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the perfect preparation for the work he has called us to do.”

Things we regret, or wished we could have avoided, often become the very things that open our eyes to needs that we now truly understand and feel deeply about. It is so easy to underestimate the redemptive hand of God in our lives.

Purpose in pain

My mother had a friend whose son was profoundly deaf and this led her into a fruitful life of working for that cause. She was dismayed when she first heard the news about her son, and could never have anticipated the twists and turns her life would take after that. It was not long before she was attending conferences, chairing committees and lobbying the government on their behalf.

The experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the perfect preparation for the work he has called us to do. – Corrie ten Boom

Carol Kent, our 2008 Beauty for Ashes Women’s Conference speaker, started a ministry to prison inmates and their families when her twenty-five year old son, Jason Paul Kent, shot and killed his wife’s ex-husband and was jailed for life without the possibility of parole.

In the devastation that followed, Carol could not have imagined that she would come to have such a love for prison inmates. From standing in queues with the families of other prisoners at visiting times, she also became aware of their needs and so a ministry was born out of her pain and anguish.

God works in the various seasons of our lives

Does this mean that God can only use us if we have had a huge misfortune in our lives?

Not at all.

Sometimes we just need to wait for the right season while God gives us the necessary experience for our future work. He is always at work in our present, though.

Having small children, caring for an invalid, or a host of other things, can sometimes be the season when we are not free to do much else.

God knows and understands your season, but this does not mean that he is not at work in your life.

While David was out in the fields looking after his father’s sheep, he was learning how to use his sling with the deadly accuracy that would one day bring Goliath down.

He may have thought that his life was constricted and confining (after all he didn’t even get to choose to be a shepherd), but God knew exactly where he was and had his loving eye on him. (Without those years we would probably never have had Psalm 23 – imagine that!)

What to do while you are waiting

The main thing to do during those ‘waiting’ years is:

  • to develop your relationship with God.
  • to learn to trust his leading.
  • to learn obedience.
  • and above all to be faithful with the smaller things he has given you to do.

David faithfully looked after and protected his father’s sheep.

It is God’s job to open doors for you—and he will!

A faithful heart will always find lots to do for the Lord! Remember that . . . a noble life is not a blaze of sudden glory won, but just an adding up of days in which good work is done . . . and God ordained each of those days for you.

This article first appeared in the December 2010 issue of JOY! magazine.

Aldyth Thomson

Aldyth has organised the Beauty for Ashes women's conferences for 21 years. An ex history teacher, she and her husband have ex-patted in Ghana, Zambia and Burkina Faso for the last 12 years. She compiled the Beauty for Ashes Prayer Journal and co-authored the Beauty for Ashes Health Journal for Women with Sally-Ann Creed; a bestseller which was also translated into Dutch. She is a breast cancer survivor of 12 years.

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