With ten minute between our Sunday morning worship team rehearsal and the first service to freshen up my lip gloss and finger-tame the wild beast known as my hair, I hurried to the third row pew where I’d set my purse. Newly-single-mom anxieties shoved their way past the lyrics from that morning’s song set, determine to steal my focus. I took one of those deep-cleansing breaths that supposedly had magical powers and asked God to help me concentrate on Him instead of how I would afford rent once my boys and I had to leave our house. That’s when I spotted an envelope on top of my Bible. I opened it. Then I had to sit down. The envelope contained not only a sweet card, but a generous amount of cash. I was so shocked (in a good way) and determined not to draw attention to myself that I quickly tucked the gift into my purse, that deep-cleansing breath now caught in my throat.
Surprise! In case you forgot, you are loved, and no matter where you live in the future God will provide for you.
That was one of many gifts that came during a year of not-at-all-fun surprises.
Surprise! You’re getting divorced.
Surprise! You need to file bankruptcy.
Hey, guess what! No matter how determined you think you are you will not be able to stay in your house.
Breaking News! Rent for a decent apartment will cost more than your mortgage payment did. Good luck with that!
It might as well have dubbed it The Year of Being Blindsided—of game changers that I wouldn’t sign up for no matter how desperate I was for writing material.
God knew I needed good surprises to get me through the aftermath of so many crushing ones. I think this is why I am such a fan of doing nice things for single moms, or anyone who is going through a hard time. Memories of seeing God turn a sad day around inspire me to send cards to friends that He puts on my heart because it might arrive exactly when they need it. This is the motivation behind “win a book to give away” drawings, such as the one I held last week.
Let’s face it, surprises aren’t always welcome. Yes, God brings beautiful things out of startling reminders that life can change at any moment. These are the experiences that draw us closer to the only One who can sustain us, create a deep well of compassion in us, and make us stronger. But while we’re waiting for the above benefits, we need encouragement. We need to know that feeling lost doesn’t mean we’ve also become invisible. We need an occasional tangible reason to believe “You are loved” and “God will provide.” Because it is so easy to forget when everything is falling apart!
We need surprises.
Yesterday, two remarkable women won copies of Suddenly Single Mom to give away to . . . someone. One of them asked me to send it directly to a friend of hers.
I have a feeling it’s a surprise.
I love that!
Maybe you are the one feeling blindsided by an unwelcome surprise today. If you are in need of encouragement, or tips for how to survive it, here is a blog post that my writer friend Ashley Mays wrote.
May this week be filled with surprises! The good kind.