Desperately Needed and Completely Unexpected

By Kim Payne

When the topic of unexpected blessing was chosen as the theme for this series of blogs, I knew exactly what to do. I picked up my trusty Dr. Grip 0.5 mm lead mechanical pencil, my Pentel click eraser and my newly purchased black cloth covered just for blog ideas journal and started to write. In a matter of minutes, I had a nice list compiled. And now I’m going to share it with you. Are you ready?

1. Labor Day
2. The birth of my nephew
3. …

What? Those are too blessings. After all, being off from work most assuredly constitutes a blessing. One I’ve been looking forward to since July 4. And you know as well as I do the birth of a new baby in the family is –

Oh. I see. They aren’t “unexpected.” Well, I guess I have to agree with you there. Labor Day comes around every first Monday in September. And my nephew was expected for nine looooong months.

surprisegiftWell, if that’s the case, then maybe I don’t have any unexp… Wait a minute! There was this e-mail a friend of mine sent the other day. It arrived just when I needed a good chuckle. And then there was the phone call from my brother. He’s a Methodist minister who got bored on his way home from visiting a parishioner in the hospital. The cure for his boredom was to hassle his older sister. For me, that phone call was a much needed break from a rather intense work day. So yeah. Looking back on it, I have had some unexpected blessings.

That’s the thing when something unexpected this way comes. Often you don’t realize that it is a blessing until you look back on it in those quiet, reflective moments of the day. That is when God’s graciousness reveals itself.

A few days ago, I had one of the hardest meetings of my professional career. A three year old just been diagnosed with a much more profound hearing loss than any of us previously thought. The parents were frustrated because there are just no straightforward answers when it comes to this kind of thing. Will he do well with hearing aids? I don’t know. Does he need a cochlear implant? Perhaps. But no one can tell you how well he’ll do with one of those either.

Questions were answered as well as they could be and a small decision was made. I’d adjust the child’s hearing aids. We’d continue on the current course until the parents had a chance to go through all the information they were given and reach an ultimate decision.

MickeyThe whole time I’m working on his hearing aids, he’s holding onto two stuffed Mickey Mouses I had in my office and I’m second guessing myself. Did I say the right things? Am I doing the right things for this child? When we finished, I looked at this precious little guy who probably can’t hear much of anything even with his hearing aids on and said. “Tell you what. I’ll trade you my big Mickey for the little one. You can take little Mickey home with you.”

His lips curled into a shy smile as he released the big stuffed animal and folded the small one into a gentle embrace. Did he hear me say those words? Probably not. Still, in that shy smile I found something desperately needed and completely unexpected – a blessing straight from the heart of a kind, gentle and loving God.

Surprises

Don’t you just love a surprise? An unexpected phone call, a thank you note from a dear friend, flowers from your significant other at the end of a long day—all of them brighten your world in special way.

A few years ago, I got the surprise of a lifetime. When my family went to mother-in-love’s for two weeks, my family and church friends back home did a “While You Were Out” on my house. They painted, cleaned, and reorganized every room from the basement to the upstairs. (They did not tackle the walk-in attic.) It was amazing.

Now some of you are probably thinking there’s no way you’d want anyone to do that to your house, and I can understand that. But they knew me and I’d made no secret about my bathroom not being done for three years. They also didn’t do this without knowing what I wanted. They’d been planning it for weeks.

On the night before I left, my sister came over and began asking about my redecorating plans. My sister, who should have been a journalist, can get you to tell her anything, so when she started asking, I started telling. We went from room to room, and I told her everything I wished I could do with my 1910 Craftsman home. I had paint samples on the walls with the color I wanted circled, and I had chosen things at different stores, but both money and time had been a huge issue.

Emma cookingSo, while we were gone, family and friends moved in. Older women from church came to hold babies so younger women could paint. My brother-in-law finished the bathroom, my dad moved the washer and dryer from the kitchen to the basement and plumbed it, my niece painted a mural on my son’s wall of the solar system. New curtains were hung, new rugs were on the floor, and I even had a new stainless steel island in my kitchen! All in all nearly 40 people had a hand in the effort.

When we walked in two weeks later, the change was mind boggling. Imagine, everything you wanted to do on your house being done. Every room glittered. Every piece of laundry—washed, folded and put away. Even the garden had been weeded!

That night, I sat on my very clean kitchen floor and cried. What a gift of love they’d given me.

It was the talk of our church family for months. For weeks, I gave tours almost daily when people dropped by with their friends just to see it. Yes, I realize this would not be for everyone. Still, I hope you can see the joy that it not only gave me, but it also brought to the givers. They said they had a blast doing it, and it made for a wonderful chance to witness.

worldNone of us know the surprises God has planned for each of us. I love Psalms 31:19. “You are wonderful, and while everyone watches, you store up blessings for all who honor and trust you.”

So what surprise blessings has God given you lately? What ones do you hope He is storing up for you? I’d love to hear your stories.

Meanwhile, keep your eyes open, because you never know when you’re going to get one of His good and perfect gifts.

Weekend Edition – Coming Up Next

A special thank you to everyone who’s stopped by for a visit during our debut weeks. We’ve loved introducing ourselves, and if you missed any of the introductions, be sure to stop by the archives.

Coming in the next two weeks, the Inspirational Messengers will each be taking a closer look at the “Unexpected Blessings” in their lives.

The following two weeks, please join us as we talk about what’s on our nightstands right now, what we’ve recently read, and what’s in our “to be read” piles.

Along with that, there will be a live report from the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference in Denver, Sept. 17-20.

It all started like this…

Hi, Lorna here with the first official Inkspirational Messages blog post.

It’s an exciting day for all ten of us as we embark on this new blogging journey, but I dare say most of us would be more comfortable putting characters through new experiences than living them ourselves. Still, I am reminded that “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” Believe me when I say, I hang onto that verse every day knowing I can’t do it alone.

Since in our first two weeks of posts each us bloggers will be introducing ourselves, here’s a little about myself.

For as long as I can remember, I loved writing. I even dreamed in plots. I also grew up attending antique auctions nearly every weekend, so history was as much a part of my life as chores on our farm in Iowa, reading books, and playing with Barbies.

So, writing historical romances fit perfectly. Times may change, the style of clothes, the way we speak, but the common threads that unite us remain the same. Couples fall in love. Injustices happen. We fight for what we believe in. We struggle. We endure. We grow.

rings 8-16-09After graduating from college with a secondary education degree, I met and married the love of my life, David. God had written our love story, and I knew from the moment we met he was the one. It was not love at first sight by any means, but I was so sure he was “it” that I wrote in my diary I’d met the man I would marry. We pledged our hearts to one another two and half years later. We’ll be married twenty years this February.

daycare 8-16-09

I taught high school English until my oldest child was born. After that, I began my career as a professional wiper. As a daycare provider, I wiped noses, counter tops, tiny tushes, tears, and scraped knees. I have the rare distinction of being able to say I have potty- trained approximately twenty children.

David and I have three children. Our son is 17 and a senior this year. Our two daughters are 15 and 10. As my kids got older and less in need of my constant supervision, I started pursuing my first love again—writing. I found a great way to rediscover that love was by writing fanfiction at romancefanfiction.net.

Along with that, I worked as a freelance graphic designer, wedding coordinator, cookie baker, and 4-H leader. David and I also work in youth ministry, and teach youth and adult Bible classes.

floweroncar 8-16-09This last year, God fulfilled one of my greatest dreams when I was offered a three-book contract with Revell. The first book, an inspirational historical romance, currently titled Summer of Truth, will be out a year from now. The next two will follow in the subsequent summers.

To all of the writers here, books have played an important role in our lives. My tastes are eclectic. From Shakespeare to science fiction, I can enjoy a lot of genres. Currently, I read a lot of historicals and mysteries. A book with good pacing, great characters, and a page-turning plot will win me as a fan every time.

Dear friend, thank you for stopping by. I hope whenever you visit Inkspirational Messages, your spirit will be lifted, and you’ll feel the friendship of the ten women gathered here.

We’d love to hear from you. To make a comment, please click on this post’s title.

Welcome to Inkspirational Messages!

Inkspirational Messages is a blog made up of ten unpublished, contracted, and newly published Christian writers. We have all joined forces on our publication journey to encourage one another and our readers.

Faith is our inspiration for this group blog. We celebrate all that motivates us as writers and as His children. Besides author interviews, book features, and giveaways, here you will also find posts that will brighten your day, lift your spirit, and tickle your soul.

So, grab a cup of coffee, bookmark us as one of your favorites, and join us everyday for some fun.