What To Do When the Unexpected Happens


Have you ever made plans only to have them unexpectedly and forever altered? Me too. I didn’t think I was alone. One of my favorite Christmas movies is Christmas Vacation. And one of my favorite scenes is when Clark Griswold has been expecting a big, fat bonus and then when it finally comes…it’s a jelly of the month club. He falls apart and loses some sanity for a few moments. 

That’s happened to me before. I’ve been making plans. Good ones. Nothing over the top. Working toward them. You probably have too. I mean after all, putting in a pool for the fam isn’t exactly a bad idea for summer fun, and that’s what Clark was planning.



“The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.” Proverbs 16:1

I can think of several occasions I’ve felt like I’ve been given jelly when what I was expecting was a nice big fat bonus–to bless me with putting that “pool” in. I love what Clark’s cousin, Eddie, says. “That’s the gift that keeps on giving…”



Even unexpected good gifts, promises, dreams can feel like jelly because they still come with some cost.

It reminds me of Mary. A young girl, and by young I mean she could have been 13 or 14 when she was betrothed. Nowadays we put men in prison for asking the hand of a girl that young. But then, it was customary.



Imagine the great, and unexpected news she was given. I imagine she was filling up her hope chest and preparing for Joseph to come, like a thief in the night–since that’s how the bridegroom came. I wonder if she was thinking about children, teaching them how to bake bread, sew, whatever it was they taught them…preparing her heart for life. All good plans.

And the angel Gabriel came and interrupted her preparations, her plans. Oh, it was wonderful news, but I think it may have felt a little like having jelly at times. It came with a price, like anything God conceives in us. A beautiful promise, gift, dream…it grows….

And with that we have to grow, stretch, and feel things move inside us. Pain comes as we move closer to that fulfillment. 

No doubt Mary was the talk of the town/s. 

“Did you hear Mary was pregnant?”

“Mmm…hmmmm, you know who the baby daddy is?”

“She says, God, but…I saw her with that guy down by the watering well.”




Her own husband was going to divorce her quietly. No one probably believed, except her cousin Elizabeth…because she had her own miracle growing inside her! Thank God when we have a wonderful gift growing inside us, that He planted, He always makes sure to supply us with at least one person to encourage us, to believe in us.

Mary believed. She had child-like faith, probably because she was a child, really.


“Blessed is she who believed for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45
Even when it came time to give birth to that dream, to labor through and deliver it, it came with pain, sweat, tears, and a price. They couldn’t even get a room! There in Bethlehem, the House of Bread, in the stable, Mary’s unexpected gift,–one she didn’t deserve–but was given to her by simple, beautiful grace, was born. And they laid the Bread of Heaven in a sheep trough, another glorious picture, and the heavenly army that had followed Him–the Angel of the Lord– the Commander of the LORD’s Army–sang Him His first lullaby. 
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” Luke 2:14
I don’t know what your dream is, what God has conceived inside of you, but without faith it is impossible to please God. I know if He’s planted it, He will grow it. It won’t be easy. You’ll stretch, you’ll endure those around you who won’t believe with you and maybe some of those people will be loved ones, friends, co-workers. You’ll adjust, even your walk will change as you carry a growing dream or promise inside you.

The stretching will be painful, the labor–strenuous. At times, you might not even be able to catch your breath. Pant if you need to. It won’t come without sweat, fatigue, and some grunting. It takes time. The time may seem to tick by slowly. But it will be born. God will see it to fulfillment.

“And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You….” Psalm 9:10
What stage are you in? Conception, growing, labor? Have you birthed your promise or dream? Have you given up?
*This is a portion of what I’m speaking on this weekend at a Women’s Christmas Banquet, so if you go to Central Christian Church, you’re going to hear this again!


Don’t Forget: God is always doing miracles

“And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way…” Deuteronomy 8:2

It’s important for us to remember the wonderful works of the Lord in our lives. He asked the Hebrews to tell their children about how remarkable He was when leading them out of Egypt. It’s a testimony to share, but it’s a reminder to us that God has been faithful. He will continue to be faithful.

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself,” 2 Timothy 2:13.

I think it’s easy, after a time, to forget the glorious things that God has does in our lives. Day to day responsibilities push out those moments.

New bills pile up in our mailboxes, suffocating the thoughts of times when God provided when there was no way possible.

I can’t tell you  how many times we’ve found ourselves needing a way and someone made a mistake on our taxes, a medical bill, an insurance thingy (you can tell I don’t handle the insurance stuff) and we’ve received a check in the mail, exactly when we needed it. Sometimes the exact amount, usually…more!

I’m going to tell you a story. A true one. I have to clarify since that’s what I do–tell fictional stories.

When Myles, my son, was about 2, I went outside to shake some rugs. Not for fun. I left him inside on the couch watching one of his heinous kid shows. My husband had put a new knob on the back door, the kind that automatically locks when you shut it.

I forgot.

When I realized what I’d done–locked myself out with no cell–I freaked out. I hollered to Myles hoping he was strong enough to turn the lock. He wasn’t. He never even tried. His cheesy grin told me he hadn’t a clue as to the problem.

I turned, pushed, kicked and panicked.

Finally, I said, “Jesus! Get me to my baby!”

I put my hand on the knob…turned it. And walked inside my house. I’m overwhelmed all over again as I think about it at this moment. God’s goodness. The way He cares for us. The power He has.

I fell on my knees and sobbed the second my feet touched the kitchen tile. Myles never looked up from the TV.

You can call it coincidence, say the door wasn’t really locked, that I jiggled it enough to get in. You can say I’m off my rocker (that’s debatable) but you can’t take away what I know happened to me that day.

That’s just a couple of amazing things God has done in my life.

But what about those things He does for us to confirm His personal words of promise to us? The ones about our callings in ministry, jobs, relocations? How many times have you prayed for guidance and a scripture popped out on the page like it never had before, your heart thumped wildly, tears filled your eyes and you knew without a shadow of a doubt that God was speaking directly to you through His word?

You know what I do when that happens? I date it in my Bible with a small description so I can go back, when I’m struggling to hold on, to believe…and remember. So that when I’m gone and my children are left with my stuff, they can go through my Bible and see all the marvelous things God spoke to me, some about them. I want my children to know God speaks. God moves. God loves. God delivers.

God is faithful.

Whatever you need. Whatever doubts you’re wrestling with, God knows. He’s already got your answer. You might say, “But I’ve been in this mess for years. I’ve been praying for months. Decades.”

God hasn’t forgotten you. God has a plan. A purpose. A good one. For you.

Take each day and remember when God did something miraculous for you. Physically or spiritually. Go back to your Bible and find the scripture He used to speak into your life! Tell it to someone!

Here’s a word I found this morning when I was praying about what to blog about for Wednesday.  It could be the scripture you date in your Bible today.

“For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you  have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints and do minister.” Hebrews 6:10
August 26th, 2009

Share something, big or small with us. What is one thing God has done in your life that you haven’t remembered for awhile?

I LOVE your comments, everyone! Thank you so much for taking time to come by and spend a few moments with me. I treasure it. Truly.