Beliefnet
Your Morning Cup of Inspiration

Many years ago, a friend of mine was getting divorced.  She didn’t want her marriage to end and was distraught that she couldn’t save it.  During that time, her priest offered her the following words of advice: “Try to think of life as a stained glass window.  Each part of your life is like one small piece of colored glass.  Only at the end of your life will you be able to look back and see the beauty, when all those pieces are viewed together as a whole.”

For a long time, I thought the priest’s analogy sounded nice, but I couldn’t see its application in my own life.  I couldn’t connect any dots between my experiences, and I had no idea how it all could add up to a beautiful stained glass window.  It is only recently that I can see that there has been a logic to my life thus far.

For example, when I was in my late teens and early twenties, my parents separated and divorced.  It was stressful and sad.  At the time, my only thought was, “Why me?  Why do I have to go through this when all my friends have such terrific, happy families.”  Fast forward 15 years.  I’d moved across the country and was working as a lawyer in the Southwest.  I took a job with a non-profit that helped underprivileged women.  My job was to explain the family laws to women who were getting divorced.  Over the course of the next four years, I worked with hundreds of women who felt scared and overwhelmed by the court process.  As a result of my experience with divorce in my own family, I was able to serve those women with insight and compassion because I understood what they were going through.

And that is just one example.  Now when I look back at my life, I see that God has worked on me like a carver works on a piece of wood.  Where my attitude has been judgmental, God has given me insights that have helped me be more compassionate.  Where I have been insecure, God has given me the courage to face challenges, making me more confident.  And when I have been scared, God has given me strength, showing me that I can be brave.  I am His on-going work in progress.

Consider taking the time during the next week to look back on your life and connect the dots.  Reflect on either major life events or small, memorable moments.  Have they in some way prepared you for the future?  You will find, like I have, that God has a way of taking difficult situations and later using them for your benefit.  If you engage in this exercise, I suspect that you may start to see the beginnings of that beautiful, stained glass window.

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