Loving God’s Surprises

Apr 13, 2017 by

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IMG_0493I am still catching up after an incredible time at Mount Hermon, and reveling in all of the good things that happened there. I hardly slept, and I don’t think I have ever talked so much in my life (almost eight hours of teaching + a one-hour Orientation + co-hosting a meal table + several one-on-one appointments = a lot of speaking), but I would sign up to do it again in an instant.

God’s plans truly are amazing. Based on my twenty-two trips to this conference, I knew He would work in ways that went much deeper than my workshop track and orientation going well (which they did—beyond well!), but I did not expect to go home so full. When a talk with my agent ended in me seeing the “I have no idea what my next book idea is trying to be” stuck feeling as an indication that God is at work, and walked away with my mind freed to start playing around with a new possibility, I thought I’d received what I needed personally. When an early morning quiet time in the chapel included letting go of a “ghost” that often haunted me at this conference (long weird story), I thought I’d had my God moment. Before the conference someone had told me, “I’m praying that in all you are giving at the conference, you will also receive something.” I felt like I received something every day!

While waiting for the final evening session to start on Monday, I reflected on all that had happened since my friend Sarah Sundin and I arrived on Thursday afternoon, and felt completely satisfied.

The last time I’m been part of the Mount Hermon Faculty (in 2014, teaching an afternoon workshop and serving on the Critique Team), I was still prone to insecurity-driven low moments. I hadn’t had a single one this year. How long had it been since I got through the entire Mount Hermon Christian Writers’ Conference without shedding a tear or fighting the “You’re not good enough for this place” mean voice in my head?

Despite my busy schedule, I’d been able to work in time with friends, including one of my favorite bloggers, Jami Amerine, and her sister Stacey. We are going to guest blog for each other!

My cousin/friend Cheryl and I had taken one of my newbies to see the Pacific Ocean for the first time. There is nothing like experiencing the beauty of Northern California through the eyes of someone who has never seen it before!


Those who took my class encouraged me as much as I (according to their sweet comments) encouraged them.

Teaching had opened doors to minister in ways that I’d been ministered to in the past.

I’d had so much fun with my six cabin mates! We even had logs for the fireplace. (Thank you, Susy!)

My list went on and on.

I didn’t need anything else for this conference to be complete.

But God still had something more.

When it came time for the yearly awards presentation, all I knew was I could finally stop keeping the secret that my friend, writers group co-leader, and roommate was getting the Pacesetter Award. The best part about the Mount Hermon awards is that nobody who wins expects it. Dave Talbot starts reading the bio of the recipient and that person, along with everyone else in the room, slowly recognizes herself. I couldn’t wait to see Susy’s reaction!

[bctt tweet=”I didn’t need anything else for the conference to be complete. “]

Apparently, my agent and a few friends also had a secret. As Dave started reading the bio of the person who’d been chosen for the True Grit Award, I didn’t recognize it as mine until about halfway through.

I could hardly breathe.

The award was named for a remarkable young woman name Lauren Beyenof, who passed away after battling cystic fibrosis. She played the French horn, wrote a book, and glorified God to the very end.

I guess I’d never seen myself as someone with that level of grit.

But others did, and God clearly knew that I needed to know—that maybe through this God-sized reminder when I wasn’t expecting it at all, I would start seeing what they saw, too. Because to be honest, those of us who are considered strong are often the last to recognize it in ourselves.

Maybe we aren’t supposed to, because if we did we might forget where our strength comes from.

God’s surprises might not stop our breath.

And it’s so fun when that happens.

Especially when a dear friend also gets a surprise.


When has God surprised you by doing far more than you expected?

“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21   

[bctt tweet=”When has God surprised you by doing far more than you expected?”]

IMG_0505My wonderful agent, friend, and sister in Christ, Wendy Lawton, who has a beautiful gift for seeing others’ strengths.

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  1. Such a great surprise! I’m so happy for you!

  2. I was delighted that you got that award! You certainly deserve it.

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      Thank you so much! It was fun to share a moment like that with friends.

  3. Loved this post, Jeanette! When talking about recognizing strength/grit in ourselves, I loved when you said, “Maybe we aren’t supposed to, because if we did we might forget where our strength comes from.” Truth! You know where your strength comes from , but your true grit award was still well-deserved.

    • Jeanette Hanscome

      The timing for this comment is so perfect, Carrei! I just had a conversation with someone this morning about how God used the experience of receiving this award to free me to see myself as strong. It is amazing how He orchestrates things. Thank you for your sweet note! I am so thankful that we connected.

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