Surprises 6

SurprisesA simple surprise

I spent yesterday immersed in commas and quotation marks, italics and antecedents. One day into the final proofreading phase of my book. Three chapters down, 40 sticky notes poorer.

Mid-morning I decided to take a psalms walk. That’s what I call it anyway. You know how the Psalms are: they can be joy or lament; they can ramble or rush headlong. So this year, in my attempt to make space in my heart for God to console and delight (see my first blog), I’m trying to take a 15-minute psalms walk each day. On these walks, I just tell my Shepherd whatever’s in my heart (and if nothing is in my heart, I tell Him that). Then I sing a little song about it.

I’m applying a very loose definition to the word “song.” These creative offerings are often devoid of meter or rhyme, changing keys frequently to suit the limited range of my voice. Small children and stray cats seem to enjoy them, but I doubt you would. (I bet young David felt a similar comfortability with the sheep in his charge.)

So, a few blocks into my walk, strolling past disinterested llamas (yes, there are llamas in my suburban neighborhood), soundtracked by boisterous geese flying purposefully overhead, I stopped. I just stopped. Because a thought occurred to me: “I’m happy right now.” I hadn’t had that thought in awhile. Not that I’ve been particularly unhappy. It’s just that in this season of writing and rewriting and social media and social engagements and worship ministry and watching my [adorable] grandson and redecorating my bedroom (yeah, I thought I’d throw that into this season just for good measure), I hadn’t thought to be happy. But here, suddenly, on a dusty asphalted road under a shining blue sky, I felt God smiling at me. And I wanted to smile right back at Him.

A couple of minutes later, when I resumed my walk, I started singing “La-la-la-la-la, flying geese and whispering breeze, hmm-hmm-hmm-hmm, thank You.” (Like I said, small children and stray cats….)

A profound surprise

A friend of mine was surprised yesterday, too. In a more profound way. I happened to send her a text that said, “I hope you’re sensing God’s presence in your day.” I’m glad I did, because she responded, “Yep, I am.” She then went on to tell me how, after hearing a sermon last Sunday on loving one’s enemies, she had gone home and sought the Lord about how to respond to someone who had said some hurtful things. The surprise? Yesterday morning, she received an email, out of the blue, from this person. I don’t know what was in the email, but my friend told me, “God definitely answered prayer.” I’m pretty sure that surprise meant all the more to her because she had been listening already.

Surprised lately?

Surprises. Our Shepherd loves to speak them into our lives. Ask Abraham, or Gideon, or Mary, or Zaccheus, or Paul.

I think sometimes we don’t notice the surprising things He speaks to us because we’re not listening. I wonder how many of these surprise words I’ve missed in my life?

Has He spoken anything surprising to you lately? If not, maybe He wants to speak to you in a surprising way this week? Whether He’s surprised you recently, or He surprises you soon, it would sure be a gift for us to hear about it!


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6 thoughts on “Surprises

  • melissa stadtlander

    Thank you so much again for encouraging us to have eyes, ears and heart open to see Him and all He has for us as we continue to seek Him! Your blog really caused me to think alot this week–I can sometimes not like surprises, always like to know what is going on kind of girl! :) But as I thought about the surprises He has given me I realized that in this week He gave me some surprise moments of realizations about myself. In looking back surprises of even painful events and sweet joy moments, but in all of them I saw His sweet presence with me and that is the sweetest surprise to me! One most recent surprises happened with my daughter and I. We were visiting colleges and we were on our 3rd college, they were all seeming good and we were trying to keep our eyes and hearts open so we could hear Him leading us! On this particular trip, as we were heading to her audition, I was just asking God, “please just show us something…start closing doors if there is one to close…start narrowing down this searching process”. Well let’s just say, He did just that! In such an obvious way (though painful for my daughter and that broke my heart) we both walked away knowing it was all God-surprising us with His presence and His word to us! I was once again so thankful that He does speak and He does surprise me when I am looking and seeking! I want to keep looking for those sweet surprises that are all around me and keep me amazed at Him, so thank you for making me look…

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      What a beautiful post! Melissa, I know you do walk every day with eyes and ears open, and also hands to receive whatever He places in them. Thanks for reminding us that His surprises aren’t always lighthearted or happy in the moment; rather, they’re the things that HE knows will bless us and grow us and keep our feet on the right path. I’m so excited to see how God is going to lead your daughter to the perfect college for her, providing just the open doors and resources she needs! With you on this journey, eyes on Him all the while, staying amazed!

  • Christy

    Surprises, yes God is full of surprises. It’s so hard to come up with just one. Some are little and some are big, but I love the little ones as they bring a little happy kick to your day. So if it’s OK I will say several little ones that have come my way.

    Reading God’s Word and He sweetly whispers, “I love you.” Wow, what a way to make a persons day.

    Within the last few years I have really come to appreciate the landscape of Idaho. Only recently has it started to include farm animals. It’s with this new found interest that I have a new sense of curling up (like a dog to it’s owner) to my Lord while praying. I feel safe, at peace and I can truly find rest at His feet.

    Another surprise was when God answered my prayer on how to help His child. His sweet reply was, “Just love them.” He truly cares about every petition and will never let us down.

    So with that all being said….what a fantastic subject Jeanelle. Those are the surprises that need to be written down so they can be passed on to the next generation. What a fresh reminder of His goodness in our lives. Thank you for pursuing this new adventure & I pray that God will bless you immensely along the way. .

    • Jeanelle Reider Post author

      Christy, those are exactly the kinds of surprises we so often miss. It takes a heart receptive to His Spirit to recognize them. Thanks for the reminder to have our ear trained to hear, our eyes focused to see. You’re right, too, about passing these things on to those who come after us. These stones of remembrance will be a wondrous witness to God’s faithfulness and a profound prod to KEEP gathering such stones so that God gets the glory from generation to generation. (Thanks for the encouragement and prayers too!)

  • Linda Brown

    The birthday that came two months after my mom passed away brought with it a wonderful surprise: A friend who was born in the same country as I was rang my doorbell and walked in with a special gift from that country, something she had purchased on a recent visit. She stayed for several hours and we shared reminiscences. There could have been no better person to share my birthday with, other than my mom. Later on, I received an email from a different friend who asked how my birthday had gone, as she had prayed that God would send me a special surprise. How surprisingly wonderful that God answered her prayer for me by sending me someone who was “related” to me in such a special way, and with such a special gift.