Her husband got a job in Savannah, Georgia, and she had to move from her hometown of Albany, Georgia. She said, "I thought it was the worst thing that ever happened. I thought my life was over. I woke up every day feeling hopeless. I spent two months in bed, crying. I got up for two reasons: to eat and to go to the bathroom."
Finally, she got up one day and said the Serenity Prayer - and decided to live by what the Serenity Prayer declares. So she began to develop her passion, which was cooking. She started a little business called The Bag Lady, where she made lunches and sent her children to sell them to people down the street.
A year later, she opened her own restaurant. And then she self-published a cookbook, which Random House discovered and republished. And now she has published 14 cookbooks, has her own clothing line, her own furniture line. And she is a famous cooking expert. Her name is Paula Deen.
Have you had something bad happen to you? A mistake that brought unwanted consequences? A forced move that took you to a place where you did not want to be? A misunderstanding that undermined your relationships? A bad decision that threatened your leadership?
What do we do in circumstances like that? We can stay in bed and cry, as Paula Deen did to begin with, or we can get up and do something about it, as Paula Deen later did when she discovered that her move to Savannah was in fact the best thing that ever happened to her. It might take some time, and it won't always be easy. But no failure need be final. As Paula Deen concludes, "You never know what God's got in store for you." *
I concur with the point of this story. Life is full of bad episodes. But we not let those define us. We must trust in God to do in us and through us and for us what we cannot do for ourselves. And the famed prayer of serenity is a good place to start. I conclude by posting it here:
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.**
* Dr. Harbour’s Website is: www.seminaryplus.org.
** The Prayer of Serenity itself is said to have originated with the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. It has been adopted and made popular by Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step programs. The full text of the prayer as originally written by Niebuhr is:
God, give us grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed,
Courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the Wisdom to distinguish
the one from the other.
Living one day at a time,
Enjoying one moment at a time,
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
Taking, as Jesus did,
This sinful world as it is,
Not as I would have it,
Trusting that You will make all things right,
If I surrender to Your will,
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
And supremely happy with You forever in the next.