Jackie Gingrich Cushman

The three Maryland winners, who have decided to stay anonymous, are: a woman in her 20s, a man in his 40s and a woman in her 50s. One teaches special education, another teaches in elementary school and the third supports the school system in an administrative position. At the time of their lottery win, all three held additional jobs to make ends meet.

According to Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino, "One talked about how they'd just been in church and said a silent prayer for some help in paying some bills."

The ticket was worth $35 million lump sum payouts after tax for each of the three people. The winners now have the ability to quit the additional jobs that they were working to help make ends meet. However, all three winners told the Maryland lottery that they plan on keeping their education jobs.

Conflict -- too many bills to pay -- not enough time to work, wondering how to make ends meet. Resolution -- a winning lottery ticket, ability to only work for the school system -- makes for a great story.

A day later after our story-writing discussion, while articulating why she might not want to go to ballet that day, our 12-year-old stopped talking and started smiling as Kelly Clarkson's song "What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger)," began to play. She began to sing the chorus, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller."

"Why does this song come on every time I don't want to do something?" she asked.

"Divine scheduling," I responded with a smile.

While the rest of us deal with our ongoing and unresolved conflicts, it might be helpful to remember that we are forging our characters and making a path that will look clearer when looked at backward.

Prayers more than answered.


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.