“See I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” (Revelation 3:7 NKJV)
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I pray that you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s spending time with family and friends and also receiving the gifts and blessings you were expecting. Now, it is time to think about what you will do differently to better yourselves in this new year.
When I was child, I remember watching the Helen Keller Story on television. When Helen Keller was approximately 19 months old, she was stricken with an illness that left her blind, deaf, and unable to speak. She did not continue to stare at what could have been perceived as a closed door–Helen Keller overcame her adversity of being blind, deaf and mute to become one the 20th century’s leading humanitarians as well as co-founder of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Helen Keller once quoted, “When one door of happiness closes; another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been open for us.”
In 2019, I am sure you may have experienced a closed door or two. I know I did. The closed door might have been in the form of job loss or maybe you didn’t get the job you applied for, failing an exam, ending of a relationship, an illness, your car broke down, foreclosure, or maybe it was some other problem or financial setback. Whatever it was, that door is now closed. Instead of staring at it, open your eyes to new possibilities. I believe God closes doors to point us into a new, more positive direction.
Let me give you an example with this most inspiring story. On December 19, 2015, a Pittsburgh newspaper reported a story of a Duquesne University custodian quietly finishing her bachelor’s degree. Connie Burwell had been a custodian at Duquesne University for several years. One day while cleaning, Connie literally approached a closed door. Following protocol, she knocked and when there was no response, she opened the door with her master key. However, when she opened the door, there was a professor standing in the room and she was not happy. She chastised Connie for entering the room without permission. Connie stated that she lectured her with an air of superiority that left her humiliated. As humiliating as it was, this incident was a defining moment in Connie’s life. She decided on that day, “I’m not going to let people talk like this to me. I have to do something.” Despite being in her mid-50’s and afraid of failing and of what the professors and students might say, Connie took her daughter’s advice and enrolled in Duquesne University to complete her degree. Her daughter, Kadia Givener, quoted, “Change isn’t change until you change.” Other family members encouraged and supported her decision to return to school. She met with guidance counselors and they told her that fear is not bad–good fear will push you forward. On Thursday, December 17, 2015, at the age of 57 and after two years of taking Saturday classes, Connie Denise Burwell earned her bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science. She plans to obtain a job in mental health or drug rehabilitation services. Connie expressed, “It’s never too late!”
What if Connie Burwell would have just seen those dirty classrooms as a closed door and never opened that door to higher education? She can be grateful to the professor who humiliated her because it only propelled her forward and motivated her to want better for herself. A negative situation can often give you the drive and stamina to accomplish great things. Romans 8:28 states, “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Connie Burwell did not continue to stare at that closed door; she look over to see there was another door of opportunity open for her and what a wonderful door it was.
Are you staring at a closed door? Do not continue to stare at it because there is another door already open for you–you just need to recognize it. As always please share your experience where a door has closed and another one opened. Your testimony can be a great inspiration to other readers.
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