Unexpected Gifts

I was 13-years-old and horse-crazy.

The fact that we lived in a suburban house with a small backyard didn’t dissuade me from asking my dad if we could buy a horse.

“No.”

“Why?”

“Because you just don’t buy a horse. You also have to find a place to board the horse. Not to mention food and veterinary costs.”

End of subject.

Decades later, two horses graze on my rural property. I stand beside the black horse…my arm extended, hand open with an orange peace offering.

His nostrils flare when he sees the carrot. He brushes the palm of my hand with his moist, soft lips. My skin tickles; stirring memories of a young girl’s dream.

I don’t own these horses. They’re temporary guests, lodging here at the request of our neighbor. It’s a win-win. My neighbor won’t have to purchase hay. We don’t have to mow the field grass.

This gentleman’s agreement isn’t what I had in mind when I asked my father for a horse. But while I rinse dishes and watch these ambling horses from my kitchen window, I realize this is answered prayer from way back when.

Even though the answer looks different than I imagined.

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8)

This isn’t the first time I’ve seen God answer prayers as though He were thinking outside the box.

When I was a teenager, I wanted to become a schoolteacher. Who knew I’d homeschool my children? Homeschool was a foreign concept when I was young.

I also dreamt of being a writer. Who knew my words would appear on a website Blog and online magazines? There was no internet back in the day.

The Lord knew. He had a plan.

Silly me when I think a subject is closed just because it doesn’t happen according to my time table and expectations.  

My desire for a horse waned like many youthful dreams. However, the Lord has gone above and beyond to give me the desires of my heart. Mostly, He’s shown me that desiring Him above all things meets my deepest need, satisfies my greatest longing.  

Even in this moment…

When my hands are buried in warm dishwater and I’m grinning because the Red horse is rubbing his neck against the Oak tree like it was a scratch post,

I’m reminded of God’s goodness. And I praise Him for unexpected gifts which sweeten mortal days.

 

 

Share a time the Lord answered your prayer in a surprising way.

Photo by: Jonathan Foster

 

Like it or Not, Can I Rejoice?

Who knew when I wrote this blog back in February that I’d be speaking at a women’s conference this month on the topic “Finding Rest in the Middle of Wrestling Life.”

Isn’t it just like the Lord to remind me of this blog considering for the past three weeks I’ve had poor health, AND fractured my big toe so I’m limping along in life.

So like it or not, here is the message on rest that speaks to my current circumstances the same way it did earlier this year…

For almost three weeks, I’ve been home bound with ill health, and I’m still not up to par.

I miss the days I woke up ready to rumble. And went to bed feeling as though I’d been productive.

I tell myself: “It’s okay. Use this time to rest. Read the Bible. Pray.

But my mental energy is sapped; lethargy takes over. Spiritual disciplines are minimal, I’m just going through the motions.

Are you there Lord? How much longer?

I’m weary of resting; waiting for good health and LIFE to resume.

An inner voice whispers, “This IS life.”

So like it or not,

“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

God knows my circumstances. He allowed it.

Can I rejoice and be glad in it?

Not happy about ill health, but rejoicing that God is with me even in this season of ill health and lethargy?

Can I rejoice without whining?

Knowing that Nothing is Wasted.

Because when I come before God, fully submitted and willing to learn…He teaches me.”

So what has He taught me?

That when I’m healthy, I am more prone to live independent of God and be self sufficient. But when I’m unable to do anything in my own strength: Not housework, not ministering to others, not even meditating on God’s Word … I’m forced to REST in God’s strength and grace.

At the end of myself, I’m forced to let go of expectations …. those things I think will make me happy such as good health and productivity.

And REST in the knowledge that every circumstance is an opportunity to be made in the image of Christ and bring Him praise.

By keeping my eyes on Jesus, the lifter of my head,

I’m able to REST and REJOICE even in this……

Like it or Not, Can I Rejoice?

Who knew when I wrote this blog back in February that I’d be speaking at a women’s conference this month on the topic “Finding Rest in the Middle of Wrestling Life.”

Isn’t it just like the Lord to remind me of this blog considering, for the past three weeks I’ve had health problems, AND fractured my big toe so I’m limping along in life.

The message then, is the same for me now. REST, not just physically, but rest knowing God is in control. And HIS strength equips me to do the things He calls me to…..

For almost three weeks, I’ve been home bound with ill health, and I’m still not up to par.

I miss the days I woke up ready to rumble. And went to bed feeling as though I’d been productive.

I tell myself: “It’s okay. Use this time to rest. Read the Bible. Pray.

But my mental energy is sapped; lethargy takes over. Spiritual disciplines are minimal, I’m just going through the motions.

Are you there Lord? How much longer?

I’m weary of resting; waiting for good health and LIFE to resume.

An inner voice whispers, “This IS life.”

So like it or not,

“This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24)

God knows my circumstances. He allowed it.

Can I rejoice and be glad in it?

Not happy about ill health, but rejoicing that God is with me even in this season of ill health and lethargy?

Can I rejoice without whining?

Knowing that Nothing is Wasted.

Because as my friend Loretta says, “When I come before God, fully submitted and willing to learn…He teaches me.”

So what has He taught me?

That when I’m healthy, I am more prone to live independent of God and be self sufficient. But when I’m unable to do anything in my own strength: Not housework, not ministering to others, not even meditating on God’s Word … I’m forced to REST in God’s strength and grace.

At the end of myself, I’m forced to let go of expectations …. those things I think will make me happy such as good health and productivity.

And REST in the knowledge that every circumstance is an opportunity to be made in the image of Christ and bring Him praise.

By keeping my eyes on Jesus, the lifter of my head,

I’m able to REST and REJOICE in this day the Lord has made, and be glad even in this……