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?