In 1968, at age 60, my father had a heart attack. For a man who was a carpenter and had to work with his hands to make a living, this changed everything. After his heart attack, my father took a remodeling job in an adjoining city with a plan for a house to become a pre-school. The work was not heavy labor so in my father’s post-heart attack world, it was doable.
My parents knew my father’s work history in manual labor was drawing to a close. A couple of years before all of this happened, my mother inherited my grandmother’s home in Los Gatos, California. It was a beautiful older home on a third of an acre. The home was being rented when my father’s heart attack took place.
One day, after working the first week on the remodel job, my father returned home to tell my mother, “Lavert, you could do this.” He was referring to my mother opening her own pre-school. My father knew he could not work much longer and wanted to set up a life for my mother where she would have an income in case something happened to him.
My father finally quit working and devoted all of his time to remodeling my grandmother’s home to become a pre-school. He turned a separate garage into a small cottage for my parents to live in as my mother readied her school to open. The school finally opened in the fall of 1968 with only three students. Over the years credentialed staff were added as new students were enrolled. When the yearly graduation took place and all the children were wearing little caps and gowns and marching across the campus to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance, it was truly remarkable to see the level of excellence and joy being displayed. It was a happy place for children. The school always had a waiting list for new students.
A local college that granted degrees in early childhood development used Green Hills Pre-school as their laboratory to help train students. It became known as one of the premier pre-schools in the state of California. A few years ago, I did a Google search and found a website listing the “The Best of Los Gatos” and up popped Green Hills Pre-school.
What began with a heart attack and looming financial ruin for our family became an unforeseen and unimagined blessing. After founding and directing the pre-school for eleven years, my parents were able to sell the school and reap a full retirement income that would serve them the rest of their days on Earth.
Every tragedy of life has hidden within it a blessing from God. Some of these blessings do not just appear, they require a partnership with God to discover their reality. My parent’s blessing began with the words, “Lavert, you could do this.” That simple statement of faith set in motion a beautiful piece of our family history that I tell today with a mixture of amazement and thankfulness. I was able to see ashes of sorrow and disappointment transformed into something of beauty.
Today, walk through the ashes in your place of sorrow and listen for a word of hope and faith. When you hear that word speak it into your situation. That word has the ability to set in motion a miracle you never imagined could be possible. Somewhere in the uncertainty and confusion of your circumstance is a God-plan waiting to join itself with your faith to produce something truly wonderful. Speak a word of hope and faith and watch God do something beyond your ability to imagine.