Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. – 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

On January 1, I always breathe a sigh of relief. The frantic pace that begins the week of Thanksgiving lets up – a little. I always have two or three irons in the fire, and happily so. But in the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, I have a whole blacksmith shop fired up.

For the past few days, I\’ve attempted to slow down, take a few deep breaths, and re-evaluate in anticipation of goals set for the New Year. Tonight my husband and I had a relaxing dinner with another couple. When we dropped them off, my friend, Mike, ran in the house to get a book he\’d raved about during dinner. I came home, got into my PJ\’s, and read the entire book. In one sitting. If I had received this book any other evening, I have a feeling it would have collected dust before I settled down long enough to read it.

In the book, 90 Minutes In Heaven, the author, driving home after a minister\’s conference, collides with a semi-truck that crossed into his lane on a two-lane bridge. He is pronounced dead at the scene. The book tells of Don Piper\’s experience in heaven, and then, much to my surprise, focuses more on his life after the accident – a long, painful journey back to some semblance of health, and the renewed sense of purpose he receives.

As I read that book tonight, I thought of the twists and turns my life has taken. While the events have not been nearly as dramatic as Rev. Piper\’s, the Lord has led me down paths I never dreamed I\’d walk. I\’ve met so many fine people this past year who have in one way or another contributed to my progress, and for that, I am deeply grateful. Rev. Piper had a difficult time accepting the help of friends. I hope during the coming year I can help others, increase my circle of colleagues and friends, and learn to accept help with grace. We need each other.

In the book, Rev. Piper had a choice of two roads to take home. He chose the one that led to disaster, yet God has used the outcome to minister to millions. One moment can change your life on planet earth. One decision changes your life for eternity – the decision to make Jesus Lord of your life. I\’ve been in a reflective mood this week, and this book has only increased my desire to fulfill my purpose in life, to use each nanosecond, to be what God would have me be, do what He\’d have me do, and play my bit part in this drama we call life – even though this is only the first act, and the \’curtain call\’ only the beginning.

Prayer: Lord, help me to use each moment I\’ve been granted as You would have me to. May I be faithful to the call on my life, and ready to walk the path You provide. Help me to be willing to give, and ready to receive – with humility and grace. Please forgive me for the times when I took my life for granted, and help me to fulfill my part in Your master plan. In Jesus\’ Name I pray, Amen.

Children's author and inspirational writer, Donna J. Shepherd, looks at everyday life and finds God's fingerprints everywhere. From bird watching to the Beatitudes, Donna's writing touches the heart with wisdom and humor while feeding the mind with daily portions of God's Word. She is currently a columnist for The Dabbling Mum and a staff poet for The Inspiration Station. Her articles and poetry have appeared in Reminisce Extra, Just Between Us, Guideposts for Kids, Penwomanship, Sisters in the Lord, and many more. Her devotionals appear in Daily Grace for Women, Devotional Reflections to Nourish Your Soul (Honor Books), and Anytime Prayers for Everyday Moms (Warner Books).