Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Creative Opportunities Ahead!

Thanks to Amy over at In Pursuit of Proverbs 31 for supplying this week's quote for "In Other Words."

Caution: Road Slippery When Wet

Eleven years ago, my husband and I pastored in Northern New York. In January that year, the area was hit hard by one of the worst ice storms they had ever experienced. The Governor declared a state of emergency because the heavy ice toppled electrical poles in a domino effect, causing the area to lose power. Roadways were covered with ice, slush and downed trees. A nearby river flooded, affecting a low income and Senior Citizen complex.

Though the storm crippled the area, some pretty amazing things began to happen. As a reporter for our local newspaper at the time, I wasn't housebound. There was no time for getting discouraged or sitting around waiting for the power to come back on. I had a wonderful job to keep me upbeat and encouraged - I was able to travel around and see firsthand how people were coping, giving and sharing with each other. Then I had the opportunity to encourage my community by writing those stories.

The temperature had dipped to -20 degrees Fahrenheit after all the rain, which forced those without power to seek other shelter. Several of the large local churches, the schools and even the local prison opened their doors as shelters for those without electricity and heat. Others who had alternative heat sources like fireplaces or wood stoves opened their doors to their neighbors. Families shared the contents of their refrigerators and freezers to avoid losing all their food to spoilage. I still chuckle when I remember how our neighbors "borrowed" our shower because we had hot running water.

For me, it was a unique lesson in giving out of our own need. We all faced the same circumstances, but everyone who was able, gave and shared with those who were in greater need. We all learned to get by without TV, without the things we once considered necessities. For me, it cemented the joy of giving firmly in my heart. Even when things were tight, it became an adventure to find creative ways to give and share what I had.

As I see the signs for slippery economic roads ahead, I remember those days of the ice storm and know in my heart that giving is a part of frugal living. I suffer from less stress when I stop focusing on my own needs and focus on the needs of those around me. I am energized as I look for creative ways to help meet those needs. As I found out during the ice storm, writing is an awesome gift God has given me which allows me to give encouragement as well as materially to those around me.

If I were to post a sign on this leg of my life's road, I think it would read:

"Rejoice: Creative Opportunities Ahead!"

If you'd like to share your thoughts on today's quote, simply blog about it on your site, then visit Amy at In Pursuit of Proverbs 31 and leave your URL in the Mr Linky Box! Then take a few minutes to read some of the other blogs and leave a comment.

Have a blessed day!


Denise said...

Such an inspiring post dear.

MiPa said...

Wonderful reframing what looks like bad circumstances. Bless you for sharing.

Debbie said...

I'm so glad I participated this week so I could meet you. I loved your perspective on this topic. I can tell you are an encourager and I love encouragers! You seem to look on the bright side of things and see problems as opportunities. I so enjoyed reading yours!!!

Laurie Ann said...

Very inspirational and encouraging! Wonderful thoughts, Bonnie. Blessings...

Susan said...

Hey Bonnie,

This was excellent! I love your testimony of how you helped others during your time of need!

Thanks for sharing today♥

Ava Semerau said...

As someone who grew up in Minnesota, I sure can relate to the lessons of an ice storm/blizzard. You're right, giving out of our own need is a powerful lesson and one that sticks with you! Thanks for a great post. AVA