One Christmas several years before Joel and I took leadership of the ministry, I had a deep desire to do something different to share God's love with people in our community. I was thinking about all the women in shelters throughout the city and wanted to do something special to help brighten the holiday for them. I came up with the idea to make some Christmas baskets filled with perfume and toiletries. I was so excited about my project and couldn't wait to get started!
I looked up the phone number of a nearby shelter and called to get a better idea of what the women might need and how many to make. I dialed the number and a sweet-sounding lady answered. I immediately began telling her my idea to bless the women. Rather than getting excited with me and helping me get the information I needed, the woman began to grill me with questions. She said, "This is a private facility, and the women need to remain anonymous." Then she asked, "Have you been abused? Do you know somebody who has been abused? Do you need help, or are you looking for help?
"No," I said. "I just want to brighten the holiday for the women." She went on and on as though she hadn't even heard me, thinking that perhaps I had an underlying reason for calling. Finally, I ended the conversation and hung up the phone feeling deflated and frustrated. I thought to myself, I'll call back tomorrow and speak with someone else. But as life goes sometimes, I became busy with family and holiday projects. Before I knew it, the Christmas season had passed, and I had missed that opportunity.
A few weeks later as I was praying, I remembered those Christmas baskets. I began sharing my heart with God and explained that I felt badly for not following through—like I let those women down somehow. I asked Him to present another opportunity to me and promised that this time I would make it happen no matter what.
Several months went by when out of the blue, I received a telephone call from the director of The Bridge, another women's shelter in Houston. She was inviting me to speak at one of their major fundraising events. As she was telling me about the event, I remembered those Christmas baskets and my recent prayer. I was so honored by her request and immediately said, "Yes!" At the time, I didn't have much experience speaking in front of large audiences, and when I hung up the phone, I thought, Oh God, those Christmas baskets would have been so much easier! I had butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it. But even though I was nervous, I felt that this was the opportunity I had prayed for.
When the time came to speak, I was so nervous, but afterwards, I knew I had done my best. I was so honored to be a part of helping the women, and several people approached me afterwards saying they were inspired by my words. Later on, a professional athlete and his wife who attended were so moved by my presentation that they made a large donation to the shelter. That donation helped those women way more than my Christmas baskets ever could!
It took faith, stretching and hard work, but it was marvelous to see how God brought back an opportunity that I had missed so many years earlier. He used me to bless those women way beyond what I could have ever imagined.Today, if you're thinking of an opportunity you missed along life's road, know that our God is a restorer. Don't get trapped in regret; instead, ask God to bring back those missed opportunities. Be bold today and dare to believe His promises. He is a rewarder and a restorer, and He is the God of second chances!