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A “surprised” granddaughter and daughter when the train whistle blew


This was more than a “deer in the highlights” look. It was a “scared deer in the bright daylight look.” She looked at me with the fear of surprise, turned with a leap, and headed into the woods. A doe, on her morning walk, came across a human on her morning walk and that was not expected.

Some of us don’t like surprises because we don’t like to deal with anything unexpected. It causes us to think that we may not be in control of things and this is unsettling.  We plan our day, make provisions for our plan and charge into it. I’ve tried that more than a few times and more than a few times I’ve been surprised as the expected crashed into the unexpected and disappointment ensued.

More than having my plans changed, I hate disappointment. I hate it so much I decided that I would just not expect anything to work out as planned, so I’d stop planning anything. If I had a few minutes here or there I’d dust the furniture, or do the dishes or read a little farther along in a book I wanted to finish.  I believed that if I didn’t plan, didn’t expect anything, if I didn’t hope for anything, I would be safe. Not!

I used to make daily, “To Do” lists. Not anymore. At the end of the day so few of those “To Do” items were checked off, with the disappointment being in myself. There were too many little or big surprises tucked into my day, I couldn’t accomplish it all. There just had to be a better way to look at my day, know what was expected of me and reach it. What was I doing wrong?

Some of us like to be surprised, some of us do not. I have surprised people before and found out, by surprise, that they didn’t appreciate it very much. The very word surprise can have a fun annotation. All I have to say to my two-year old grandgirl is “I have a surprise for you” and her face lights up! But as grownups we know a surprise can mean a sudden feeling of wonder, or an unexpected disappointment. Depending on the situation, surprises can be very good or very bad.

Before I write this blog post, I pray. “Lord what do my readers need? What is it that I could possibly write that they could take the time to read and be helped in some way by You?” Sometimes I start in one direction and feel led by the Lord to go somewhere entirely different. This is one of those latter days. “But I don’t have any answer for this yet” I told Him. “I still struggle.” He says, “That’s okay, share it.” So here it is.

I pray. I pray for wisdom in knowing which things need planned, especially those things where others are involved. I do not want to waste their precious time or throw anything unexpected at them. I love to plan women’s events, VBS, Church Programs, family get-togethers. I can still do this and feel planning is necessary and even fun. Seriously –  to not plan leaves things open to disorder and that is not God’s will. I plan to work, when I’m on the schedule, for my employer. To not do that is to not be a good employee.  I plan to stay committed to whom and to what I made a commitment to. To do what you say you will, if you have the power to do so, pleases God and is a good testimony.

“Many are the plans in a man’s (woman’s) heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21, NIV

But in the day-to-day, life as it comes, I toss the planning out the window. I have a “master list” of what needs done and prioritize it according to deadlines, or not, and work at those things when I can. I try to welcome distractions as opportunities to see God at work in my life and minimize any expectations. If I get surprised by an invitation to babysit or run an errand for someone or pray with a friend, it’s a glorious wonder that holds a blessing I would never have experienced if I had stuck to the “list.”

I would like to leave a verse with you, “Many are the plans in a man’s (woman’s) heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21, NIV

So, to you mommas out there who are cleaning up mess after mess, kissing boo boos after boo boos, all the while just trying to get something “done”, I get it, I’ve been there. Look for the blessings. For all you grandmas who were just waiting until you had some “free” time to get something “done” and wish you had those little ones back, I get it, I’m there right now. Look for the blessings. Let life surprise you and give up the thought of control that you have really NEVER had in the first place.

And whenever you experience that “deer in the headlights” moment, pray, even if it’s just saying His name, (but not in “vain” if you know what I mean). Give Him first place and enjoy the wonder of living every moment for Him.




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