Have you ever felt called to serve in some way? It’s a powerful thing, and sometimes, a little scary.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV).
I loved being a nurse. It was my passion. From the moment I donned that candy-striper uniform, I felt the calling. I was called to help people. It’s written in my DNA.
Nursing was my lifelong passion. I never regretted my choice. It is a hard and demanding profession, not one to be entered into lightly. Sure, there were countless frustrations: too many tasks in too little time, not enough staff, or the flavor-of-the-month decrees of hospital administrators. Yet, those things were just blips on the screen compared with the joy of caring for patients. It was my honor to serve, and I never wanted to do anything else.
I still felt that way on the day I walked through the double doors of the hospital for the last time. I wasn’t ready to retire, but my eyes were. They couldn’t take the stress and strain anymore. I stepped into retirement wondering, “What in the world am I going to do with my time?”
I can hear you retired folks out there chuckling. Little did I know then that I would soon fill up my time so thoroughly that I would wonder how I ever had time to work! But that didn’t happen right away.
What did happen were the little nudges. I felt the nudge when I consoled a friend going through a difficult time. I felt the nudge when I shared a conversation with someone battling a similar eye disease. I saw people hurting from their own hard things, and I wanted to help.
The nudges grew stronger as I shared some of my writing. Several people encouraged me to attend a meeting of the Burlington Writers Club, and when I did, I felt that nudge that I was supposed to be there. God was working, little by little, pushing me toward a then unseen goal.
When my pastor’s wife invited me to send out a weekly encouraging email to our women’s walking group, I agreed. I had the time. When she encouraged me to add a little spiritual focus, I got enthused at the prospect of a new challenge.
Friends, did you catch that clue? Yep, that’s how these Monday Motivations were born! It started out small as God-things often do, and it grew. Seven years later, you are reading those weekly messages from my blog site. Once again, God had a plan.
I kept writing my stories, continually learning from the teachings and critiques of my writers club friends. For the most part, my stories stayed in my computer. Yet, the more I wrote, the more I felt called to write. Leaving nursing had left a hole in my heart, but soon, it was clear that writing was filling up that void.
Those nudges kept coming. As my stories developed further, I began to see how my experiences might help others on their own hard journeys.
As I shared last week, I started my storytelling journey to share my life experiences with my son. Yet, as time passed, I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was supposed to share my story with others. It took awhile to build my confidence, and even longer to get it organized, but it finally happened, and my book, “Rough Places Smooth: Moments In A Journey Through Blindness,” is now out there for all those who need inspiration or encouragement..
It is my ardent hope that my life journey can help others going through their own rough places. I have suffered the loss of vision, but all of us experience loss in some way. I pray that this book finds its way into the hands of those searching for hope beyond hurt.
Most especially, I pray that God will use it to encourage those struggling with vision loss. I know full well the toll that blindness takes on your soul. If my story can bring hope to even one person dealing with the effects of a degenerative eye disease, all the hours and efforts will be worthwhile. I know full well what a difference an encouraging example of someone battling blindness would have meant to me in those early days of my diagnosis. May my story of the struggles and the joys, of the hurt and the hope, help others find the abundant life that lies beyond the loss.
What about you? Have you felt those little nudges? Is God calling you to something, something you hadn’t planned on? Behind the scenes, God is always working, even when we don’t see it or feel it. Trust His plan for you. Remember, who God calls, He equips.
O Good, Good Father, thank You for the good work You have called us to do. Help us to listen for Your call and go where You lead us. Banish our fears and doubts. Build our trust muscles. For we know You equip all those You call.
In the Powerful Name of Jesus, we pray,
Want to read more of Anita’s story?
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Rough Places Smooth:
Moments in a Journey Through Blindness
by Anita Peden Sherer
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