Life changing events happen to all of us. Important events change the course of life from that day forward. The ones we choose are usually exciting and filled with anticipation: a wedding, a new career, a family started, a move made. All change the course of events in our lives from that day on and we step willingly into them.

It’s the other events that haunt us … the life changing events that we are plunged into without choice or warning. Individual crisis that most everyone eventually gets a turn at. The call that a loved one is dying, an accident that changes life forever, a diagnose, a breakup, a job loss all change the course of life from that moment on and we find individuals forging on in places they have not stepped willingly.

Take for example the tragedy that happened on September 11 ,2001. If we are over 25, that day still feels so fresh. We can hardly believe it’s been so long ago. We distinctly remember where we were when the news came of that first airplane flying into the Twin Towers in New York. The shock and the disbelief, coupled with the slow dawning realization that our world had changed that day forever, blindsided most of us.

Many individual stories filled the following days. Courage and heroism; panic and agony; kindness and sacrifice. Individual lives changed forever in a moment as we all witnessed and watched and felt our own hearts torn with the loss we could barely comprehend.

Learning from one another

As we collectively mourn and remember this tragic day we also see some life lessons emerging. We see nuggets of wisdom and strength that we can take from this shared world-changing event, into our own quiet hardships and disasters.

The past years have shown us the powerful strength of the human spirit. The 9/11 man-made tragedy, followed in recent years by numerous natural disasters, has shown us a resilience of the human spirit that is not only inspiring but comforting as well.

Courage and resolve to move forward

As a city, New York refused to be defined by this tragedy. She does not cower in fear and refuse to move on. This loss has somehow made this city stronger.

In a world that has seen more than enough tragic events, we find a courage and resolve to keep moving. The lessons we see on a collective world-wide scale can be translated into lessons of strength as we push on in our own private world of difficult and unsought change.

Don’t let your tragedy define you

If you are facing a hard and unwelcome change in your life that has been thrust upon you, be determined in inching forward beyond the pain. Don’t let the trouble determine who you become. Don’t let the tragedy become your definition.

Choose how you will be defined — by your loss or by your strength. Walk forward with your eyes focused on the future.

When facing great loss there can be a sense that there is no future. Choose daily to walk with your eyes looking forward. Do something small each day to keep pressing on. Walking with your eyes cast backward is a sure way to trip and stumble.

We all need help in this journey of life

No one is an island. We need the inspiration and encouragement of one another as we dust ourselves off from the deep pits of life and step out to move forward. Don’t isolate yourself in your pain. Be intentional about straining forward.

Reach for higher help

God himself has offered us life that is overflowing with hope and divine help. Active rebellion or simply passive indifference keeps us separated from him just when we need him the most. In his great love for us he has bridged the separation by sending Christ to die in our place and to be brought back to life again.

Believing he sent Christ and inviting Jesus into your life brings you into a relationship with God that will change your life in amazing ways. If you are facing your own life-changing events today, whether through crisis or choice, invite Christ to walk with you through each day and to be your strength and your guide. You can enter this life-changing relationship today by sincerely praying a prayer like this. It’s the best choice you will ever make.

“Lord Jesus, I need you. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you today and receive you as my Savior and Lord. Thank you for forgiving my rebellious and independent ways and for promising me eternal life. Take control of my life and guide me through the changes I face today. Make me the kind of person you want me to be. Amen.”

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This article was written by: Gail Rodgers

Photo Credit: Courtney Collison