Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

We were talking at our staff retreat about our word for the year. Have you revisited yours lately? My word for this year is surprises. I am usually excited to hear from the Lord through this exercise. But at the beginning of this year? Not so much. I didn’t receive the word surprises as something akin to fun and delight, as in parties, gifts, and trips. It came with a tinge of dread. Surprises felt more like being caught off guard, snuck up on, or tricked. You can imagine my initial conversation with the Lord.


“Why am I nervous about this word?

Why are you?

It’s been a hard season.

Yes, and I have been with you through it all.

I know Lord. Thank You. You have been so good to me. I think I am just tired. I don’t want any bad surprises for a while.

But I give you good things. Good surprises. Do you trust Me?

Funny that Trust word. Dang it. It always circles back to our whole-hearted trust in His goodness. 

So here we are in April. And, whew, there have been a plethora of surprises. Some were painful. A lot of unplanned home repairs. A new HVAC. A new water line. A car repair. A new dock after storm damage. There have been surprising heart twists and turns. Some relational breaks and lots of transitions. But God has been with me, teaching and changing me through it all. 

That’s just doing life in His good hands.

And. There have been delightful surprises. Visits from Knoxville friends, and my team just left a few days ago. A Florida church all because Chuck went to a funeral. Lots of hearts. Seeing manta rays off our dock. New flowers are blooming for the first time on our property. Restored family relationships. 

Again, just doing life in His good hands.

But there are deeper surprises still. God has revealed and healed some hidden wounds. Places in my heart I was surprised still needed medicine. He has provided in amazing ways, unexpected gifts and commissions. And recently, He has surprised me with His plans for my future.

God doesn’t forget. God doesn’t quit. God doesn’t skimp or slack. 

See, I had gotten stuck in a mental loop of two yucky choices regarding the future. I had prayed and asked Him ‘What the heck am I supposed to do?’ To which He was silent.

Then I spent some time with my sisters and they started to echo back to me key phrases. Extend your tent pegs. Houses of promises. Extreme Security and Extreme Generosity. The current house prepares for the next house. 

God surprised me in several ways.  

  • He used my sisters to remove the lenses (read: lies)  I was looking through. They jerked me out of faulty small thinking to recall God moves in mysterious ways. 
  • The Lord told me I was far from done and to get ready for the next season of GT.  
  • And, He reminded me what He has already told me. Every step leads to the next bigger step. Glory to glory. Strength to Strength. Faith to Faith. 

Whew. It’s
only April. And boy, have I been surprised by this hilarious and intentional God. He has plans for our future to prosper us

I love doing life in His good hands.