Unexpected

surprise-insideI can never decide if I like surprises or not.  They’re fraught with possibilities.  The surprise could be so amazing that it leaves me speechless or so unexpectedly amazing in a completely different way that I don’t know what to say.

Generally if someone surprises you, they’ve put significant thought and effort into planning, secrecy, and execution.  I don’t want to disappoint them.

I’ve been the recipient of a few surprise birthday parties—my Sweet 16 blew me away.   (When I was 16 I had no idea how sneaky my parents could be at party planning–especially my mom.)  While in Africa I planned a murder mystery dinner that turned into a surprise birthday party for me.

Earlier this year I had one of those out of the blue, leave me speechless in the best possible way kind of surprises.  Unexpected encouragement was heaped on me in spades by a complete stranger.

I wrote a guest blog for my friend Jenny.  Linda read it.  She wrote and asked if she could repost it on her blog.  I readily agreed.  I mean, who doesn’t like it when someone thinks what she wrote should be exposed to even more people?

Then Linda did something unexpected.  She encouraged me in a way no one had done before.  She wrote about me and incorporated  another one of my posts in the process–and then told me about it.

In case you don’t click and read, here’s the skinny.  I’m on support.  I have to find partners who believe in me, in the ministry I do, in what God is doing in and with Third Culture Kids, in healthy families in ministry.  I have to ask them to partner with me in this venture.

I’m not good at asking.  If you ask, I’m enthused to tell you.  Asking if you want to know is difficult.  Asking if you want to join in? Even more challenging.

When I wrote in May I was struggling with getting my presentation together and starting to ask.  Then summer hit.  I had little time to focus on the programs under my purview let alone my support.

As I reflect on Linda’s boldness in advocating for me, my heart simultaneously sings and is humbled.

My summer ended.  It’s now time to work on finding new ministry partners.  I’m a bit daunted again.  Then I remember Linda—a complete stranger—and her words, her cheerleading, and her advocacy.

I know this is where I’m supposed to be.  If this is where I need to be, this is what I need to do.

When the surprise is sincere encouragement, I’m game.  Bring it on!

photo courtesy of Don Shall

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8 Responses to “Unexpected”

  1. TirzahSeptember 16, 2010 at 9:03 am #

    Praying God blesses you with many more prerfect surprises! Love you!

  2. Faith Barista BonnieSeptember 16, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    Hi Sheryl — what a wonderful story of unexpected encouragement. I used to be in full-time ministry for a short period. And I totally know what you mean. Friends like Linda are just straight out of our Father’s treasure of gifts. Be bold and tell everyone about it. You are working for the Lord and you can be proud to offer people a chance to participate! 🙂

  3. SherylSeptember 16, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

    Thanks, Tirzah and Bonnie! I’ll keep you posted on my progress.

  4. KatySeptember 16, 2010 at 7:11 pm #

    aw, what an awesome story! I too am needed of that reminder as I step out to support raise…praying for you right now!

  5. SherylSeptember 16, 2010 at 7:52 pm #

    It’s amazing to watch God provide and know that he has for over 20 years. May you find much encouragement along your journey of partner development, Katy!

  6. Linda ThomasSeptember 17, 2010 at 11:13 am #

    Good afternoon, sweet Sheryl! What a surprise to read your post! I continue to pray for you! And I’m so glad God introduced me to you!

    Big hugs,
    Linda

  7. WaltSeptember 26, 2010 at 1:33 pm #

    Praying that God opens His storehouse and provides your much needed support of and additional $1,200 per month – that’s about right, eh?

    How you have managed for soooo long is only the grace of God!

  8. SherylSeptember 30, 2010 at 12:02 pm #

    God is good! Thanks for praying for the needs to be met. I’m so thankful for you in this area of fervent prayer . . . as well as many others!

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