The God of Second Chances

Harriet - Houston, Texas
Entered on March 3, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: change
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Have you ever felt like your life was over? I went through a devastating divorce 10 years ago. My children were only three and six – two little girls. I was overwhelmed by responsibility and by exhaustion and by disappointment in myself. My life hadn’t ended up the way I thought it would. I would now have to raise my children on my own, give up my dream house on the water, and work full time to make ends meet. I couldn’t go back to my old marketing job because travel was out of the question nor could I take on the long hours of my previous job as a reporter. Life as I had known it was over.

However, God had other things in mind for me. One day I was sitting in church and a good friend tapped on my shoulder. She pointed to a job listing in the church bulletin for a part-time director of a local non-profit helping agency. She said, “You should apply for that.” I had no experience in non-profit management. I had never directed volunteers. Yet, the next day I called about the position and ended up interviewing and getting the job. This was the best thing that could have happened to me. That job was truly my calling. I learned the true joy of serving others and I was able to be a force of positive change in the organization as the job turned into a full-time position. I had the privilege of reaching out by giving second chances to other people who were at the end of their rope. We helped families in crisis with their rent, utilities and other basic needs. I witnessed miracles every day.

But, most of all, I saw a miracle unfold in my own life. My pain from the broken relationship had healed through helping others in pain. And I learned that my life wasn’t over at all. It had just begun. After seven unbelievably rewarding years of leading that agency, I had another chance. This time the opportunity was for a fresh start in a new city with my two daughters – now almost twelve and fifteen – and a wonderful new husband – a true life partner. My life has changed drastically in the last ten years – from a doctor’s wife in a three-story house on the water to a non-profit agency director raising two children on her own to a free-lance writer living with a newly blended family in Houston.

The Scottish theologian Carl Bard said, “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”

I believe in second chances. I know that God never gives up on us – we just have to believe in second chances. This, I believe.