When You Get The Opportunity – Don’t Hesitate

Written By: Debbie Stokes

When was the last time you helped someone? If the opportunity to help presented itself, would you?

The holiday season is fast approaching as December ushers in shopping for Christmas gifts and preparing for family gatherings. Winter is beginning to roar as people wrap up to shield from the grasp of the cold. Some recognize and celebrate the birth of Jesus. Others reflect on their past year’s experiences with the hopes of stepping into the new year… with new opportunities, new goals, and new beginnings. As we look back over this past year, most of us are grateful for making it through this decade to enter into the next one. The gratitude to be, to do, and to experience life’s blessings from the tiniest things to the mind-blowing things like buying the house of your dreams or getting that job for which you’ve been praying.

But, as we reminisce and look forward to what lies ahead in our lives, there is a dark side to society that seems to get lost in the crevices of our minds, especially during the holidays. Hurt people. Hungry people. Homeless people. Lonely people. Scared people. We cannot forget about them. We must not forget about them. I know we can’t do everything, but each of us can do something… no matter how small. Taking on the heart of giving this holiday season is really what it’s all about.

On a personal level during a difficult time in my life, my husband was going through a major illness; we had no food or money and our electric was off. We were both self-employed and I had to take off from work to take care of him for quite awhile. And no, we had no savings because we ran through it. On this particular day, my husband and I were really hungry and had no clue how we were going to eat. We hadn’t eaten all day long and the day before we ate like a bird since we had no real food at home. I had reached out to a couple of people, but unfortunately, they couldn’t help. We tried to be brave and strong but deep inside we were hurting. Sadly, we were ashamed to ask family because they knew of our struggle and had helped us a few times before. Our pride just wouldn’t let us ask them again. So, we suffered but I never stopped praying. Then, from out of the blue, I was offered fifty dollars from a special woman who didn’t know about my situation. The giver explained that God put it on her heart to give it to me. As you can imagine I was overjoyed, thankful, and cried with gratefulness. God had answered my prayer. As I’m thinking about it now, my eyes are watery and I’m sending my love to the woman who blessed me back then (you know who you are).

As I think about how this angel changed my life, I understand how important it is for people to extend their hand when they can. Just like a blessing came through for me, you can be someone’s angel. And if you think about my story, we were no different from any of you, but just going through a rough time in our lives because of my husband’s illness. Yet, God led this women to bless us without judgement and without expectations.

So, I ask you to stop walking around with a closed fist… stretch out your hand to help someone else. And it doesn’t have to be just about money because not everyone has money to give; but we can give in so many other ways. We can volunteer. We can look inside our own home for resources as well. How many of us have clothes hanging in our closet or other wearable items that haven’t been worn for years and is now taking up space? Last but not least, we can offer hungry people a plate. What if we extended our heart and hand to someone in need this holiday season? How would our actions change or impact someone else’s life? Again, I challenge you to be a blessing to someone.

Remember, a closed fist can’t give or receive blessings; so, let’s be kinder and more compassionate towards each other. Let us extend our light so it shines in the lives of others. The truth is sometimes all a person need is:

    • A small push forward
    • A hand upward
    • An encouraging word
    • A shoulder to lean on
    • A guiding light
    • A hug
    • A listening ear

Why not step out of your comfort zone to help how you can? Be that light. Be that blessing. There is no time like the present to “give as you live.” Your actions just may change a chapter in someone’s story, remove the cloudiness from a person’s eyes and open their mind to new choices. I believe every time we go outside of ourselves to help others God smiles and blesses us. But, don’t get me wrong, we shouldn’t help others just to receive blessings, we should help because it’s the right thing to do; in doing so, our lives will be blessed. In addition, we should thank God everyday for his grace and mercy because each one of us could be in a negative situation and in need of help. With that said, we would hope someone would help us. In thinking about that, it’s no time like the present: to give, to bless, to share, or to help another in a struggle. So, when you get the opportunity, don’t hesitate. Be a blessing in someone’s life this holiday season and every chance you get!

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