Linda Beck column: Another door opens: Let your light shine

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I’ve often heard, “When God closes a door, he opens a window or a different door.” Have you ever wondered what circumstances the writer of this quotation might have been experiencing? Through the last 16 years as the changes have taken place in my life as a widow, it has seemed like a lot of old doors were closed. Sometimes a fresh breeze came in by way of just a window, not a door.
Due to health problems, there were times when it seemed like a door slammed shut in my face with no possibility of another open door (or a new life). But it continues to amaze me the people, places, or things that God takes away or brings into my life.
I’ve had some of everything: sadness, worry, sorrow, pain, debt, anger, bitterness, sin, loss, hopelessness. There are so many negatives; I can’t think of all the words needed to describe that part of my life. A broken heart, failing health, mistakes I made: those kinds of things come back to haunt us.
Well, I’ve opened one door in this column, but it was the wrong door: not the one I felt led to write, so I’m going to close this door. Now I want to share how God has opened another new door for me.
There have been so many other people in my life that have opened their own personal doors to me, and God continues to bless me with new friends and acquaintances. When my first book, “My Sanctuary,” began to reach people I didn’t know, I was encouraged to write more, to do another book. I knew I had several hundred stories that I could put in probably three or more books, but I had given no thought to the fact that my God is a God of increase. Little did I know that where I have been since 2002 (after the major multiple sclerosis attack) is not where I am supposed to stay. God gave me 10 new stories within a three-week time frame, so the second book has some stories that have never been published.
I heard a preacher talking about God-sized blessings in homes, business, etc. and then he said, “There are books waiting to be published.” That was so ironic because I was waiting for my second book, “The Event-filled Life” to be returned from the publisher. He went on to say that “seeds which were sown have now taken root.”
A door of sadness and loss had been closed and a new door was opened. I had met a lady with myasthenia gravis at one of my book signings and immediately we bonded through e-mails and phone calls. I had run into some old friends and a lot of readers who went out of their way to thank me for the stories that have meant so much to them over the years. And when they heard about the first book, they bought one immediately and asked to be put on the order for the second book.
I got phone calls and e-mails from strangers and I realized that one thing the pastor said certainly was happening in my life. His sermon topic that day was “Walking in the Fullness of God’s Blessing.” Well, even if I’m not walking, I certainly realize that God is giving me some explosive blessings. He has helped me get rid of some things that have held me back.
I do not live in fear, but in some ways the fear that others have has caused me to believe that I am where I’m supposed to stay in life because of my health problems. There was a time when I had accepted my confinement, the use of the RITA van service, and having to ask others to take me when I needed or wanted to go. Over the years, friends and relatives have been so good to help me, but age and their own health problems have caused me to be uncomfortable about asking for help.
Suddenly one day, a new idea came into my heart and mind. I knew if I had one of those handicapped conversion vans, I would have my freedom back. I could get involved in church again, take care of myself instead of asking others to be my personal taxi service, and God could take me to new levels in my service to him.
Discussions with some of my new friends helped me realize that I could start another ministry of traveling to speak with support groups or other victims of multiple sclerosis and myasthenia gravis. Positive comments from strangers helped me realize in doing something food for others, I will be doubly blessed.
I met a lady who has lived in Salisbury a couple of years so she has only read a few of my stories. She was very excited about meeting me and said, “You radiate beauty all around you.” I’m almost 62 years old and I have received more compliments in the past few years than I ever received in my youth. This reminded me of lines of a song that had touched my heart: “Let your love shine through me.” And I hope that others will see God’s love through me.
Shortly before I had heard that song, the preacher said, “God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.”
I pray that he will use me as a champion of hope for other disabled people if it is his plan for me to travel again.
Purchasing one of those vehicles and driving again was not part of my plan. I had decided to sell the “doll house” and move to town so I would have daily transportation. But I told folks in the beginning that if that was God’s will, he would send me a buyer. Well, he hasn’t, but he has given me a new option. It seems kind of late in life to open myself to more debt, but if it gives me another opportunity to travel for the Lord, then I’ll be on the road again before long.
Linda Beck lives in Rowan County.