Unexpected Gifts

Recently my husband John and I spoke at a FamilyLife Weekend to Remember® marriage getaway. We love speaking at these events, but by the end of the weekend, we are thoroughly exhausted. Because this particular event took place over Valentine’s Day weekend, we had arranged to stay an extra couple of days simply to rest and have some time with each other! Several hours after it ended, my phone rang. It was friends of ours who had attended the getaway and were calling from their car.

“Susan,” they said, “we want to treat ya’ll to a special Valentine’s dinner at a great restaurant  near where you are staying. We have eaten there, and it’s fabulous. We have made all the arrangements. All you have to do is show up.”

We were overwhelmed and thrilled, and of course we showed up and were treated like royalty. It was one of the best dinners we’ve ever had, and it was such fun. It was so unexpected!

Often in life, it’s the “unexpected things” that bring joy! It can be a double joy — joy both for the one giving and joy for the one receiving. Last week, John and I sent a small check to a young couple in the midst of a move. There are always unexpected expenses involved in a move — we know! And we wanted to help. They were shocked and so appreciative. Oh, what fun we had doing it!

A friend was going through chemotherapy. It was a difficult time. Another friend planted a bulb garden in her sick friend’s backyard. The hope of flowers to come in the future gave hope to a friend who really needed it and brought great delight to the gal planting it!

As I’ve thought about unexpected gifts, I’ve been reminded how much it must delight our heavenly Father to surprise us with gifts — an unexpected sunny day during a lingering cold winter, a verse quoted by a friend that was just what I needed, an email from a child whom I have been missing, a call from a friend simply to say hello. Too often, I forget to notice or I forget to thank Him for these unexpected gifts. How sad that must make Him!

And so as spring and Easter approach, I’m asking God to show me unexpected gifts that I can give to others and to help me to be more sensitive to noticing the gifts He gives me and praising Him for them.

Have you ever received an unexpected gift? Will you bless us by telling us about it in the comments?

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15 thoughts on “Unexpected Gifts

  1. Yes, we were so blessed last year. Last year we were planning on taking our family to a family camp. Ever since we attended our first one we have been under fire with financial difficulties. Last year ended up being no different. The Friday before we were supposed to leave we knew we were not going to have the finances to go. So my husband called the camp and left a message on their answering machine letting them know we were not able to make it due to finances. On Monday morning I was sitting in our study just sad…thinking how we were supposed to be leaving right then. My husband walks in and asks whats wrong. I told him how I was sad that were should of been leaving for family camp right then. Next thing the phone rings. A very good friend called to talk with my husband. He told my husband he had a friend who had some money and wanted to gift it to someone who was in need. This friend knew our circumstances and said he had a place for the money. So our friend asked if we still wanted to go. Of course we said YES!!! BUT we called the camp and canceled our reservations! So we called the office and they didn't answer. I started scrambling around trying to find another phone number we can call and see if our spot was still available. Well my husband finally gets ahold of one of the camp staff. The camp staff answered and he told my husband that our spot was awaiting for us!! My husband asked if he got our message and he said no!! Now….let me explain something here…we have 9 children still at home. We literally had *2* HRS to get ready and be on the road!! Well we did it and arrived on time for the first session of the weekend. Found out the staff in the office didn't notice the message light blinking. Which is why they didn't get our message. God is GOOD!!!! That week at camp God spoke to a few of my children and ourselves. HE wanted us there. We are so very thankful for being blessed.

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  2. Susan – love your writing! And you are just beautiful!

    We have been to Family Life Conferences about 5 times – I gave my heart to Christ at one before we got married! God has done a huge work in my life, and as a result, I've written a book for Christian wives, entitled, "The Respect Dare." It's like "The Love Dare," but focuses on respecting our husbands – and how to do that. We've been endorsed by Dr. Kevin Leman, Shaunti Feldhahn, and Pastor Mark Gungor. I was wondering if I could send you a copy?

    Nina Roesner

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    • NIna,

      It sounds great! I'd love a copy. My address is:

      Susan Yates

      1008 Broadmont Terrace

      falls Church, Va 22046.

      Thanks so much for thinking of me!!

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  3. Susan,

    I love this. We are embarking on a new ministry and just received a note and a small gift from a couple that barely knows us. It was, to me, a confirmation that God will always provide where He leads you.

    Thanks for sharing! Love, Robyn

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  4. Love this post!

    My husband and I had just finished college, moved to a new town, and he had just received his first paycheck. We were excited! He took me out to eat and we had a great time celebrating all God had blessed us with. When we went to pay our check, the waiter told us it had been paid in full by a nearby table! Turns out, the family saw us praying over our meal and wanted to encourage us by paying for our meal. An unexpected gift indeed! We ended up giving what we would have paid to the waiter as a tip. Sweet moment!

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  5. As Pastors we often get unexpected gifts from people in our congregation. You would think after almost 11 years of Pastoring it would get "old," but it never does. It always humbles me and brings tears to my eyes no matter the size of the gift — big or small. I consider this one of the few "perks" to doing one of the hardest jobs on earth! 🙂

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  6. We have experienced many difficulties the last 8 years. My husband's sweet aunt regularly sent us care packages to help and to encourage our faith in the midst of continued trials. One of those packages contained 7 new bath towels and 7 new washcloths ( for our family of 7!) . What she didn't know was that we REALLY did need those things. We were hosting an MK for the weekend and I thought it would be so nice to have some new towels for company. Those towels came the day our guest was arriving!!!! When I called to thank her she said "Honey, do you know how many times I took those out of the box and put them back in?" She couldn't decide whether or not to send them. But she said the Lord told her to go ahead and send them and that we could use them eventually. Our "eventually" was the day they came.

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  7. Hi Susan!

    I just want to say Thank YOu for sharing your life stories at Weekend To Remember. We were their in Feb and what a gift it has been to our marriage. Yours and Johns story has really touched us. OUr positive experience with the conference encourged us to sign up as volunteers for Family LIfe. We hope to bless as many marriages as we can. Certainly would love to see you two again as well 🙂 Also if you have any ideas, suggestions, encourgement we would welcome it . We are both very nervous but so very excited 🙂

    Definitely a stepping stone for us. Again, Thank you so much!!!

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    • Thank YOU Katrina! We are thrilled you were blessed. You will continue to be blessed as you volunteer and see other marriages encouraged! We’ve probably been to over 45 conferences over the past 16 years of speaking and they have really helped our marriage! So we all benefit!!Love, Susan

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