By Karen Smith
Unexpected events sometimes happen in our lives. We are caught off guard. I don’t know about you, but when unexpected events occur, I often feel that I am not emotionally prepared to handle such circumstances. Sometimes my eyes leak tears, or sometimes my mouth spills not lovely words. Other times, I’m left speechless.
As I shared with you, I had an unexpected event that brought many tears to my eyes. I had a 9-year-old and an 11-year-old. The diaper days were completed and the baby items sold. Until….the unexpected pregnancy came and brought much surprise into my life. I had been sick and couldn’t seem to shake the sickness, or so I thought. Then one evening we walked into a fast food restaurant and that all too familiar morning sickness hit my stomach with a vengeance. The stop at the store for a pregnancy test soon confirmed my suspicions–my illness wasn’t a virus; it was a baby. Not just any baby, but an unwanted baby! What made matters worse was I had a friend that had been unsuccessful at conceiving a new baby, and now I was pregnant with one I didn’t think I wanted. The tears began to flow. For two weeks, I cried almost non stop before the realization that life would go on began to settle in.
A few years ago, my husband’s health had been declining. He had been on short term disability as he was recovering from a difficult chemo season. He was preparing to go back to his job as a physicist. As he was getting ready for his first day back at work, he took a fall in the bathroom. It was soon evident to me that he had a leg that would not hold any weight. A trip to the ER was in his future, and not the day at work he had planned. It didn’t take long for us to discover he had a broken hip. This season of chemo recovery, a broken hip, and ALL three of my children came down with head lice I was not prepared for this season of unexpected events. Yes, some tears leaked from my eyes, but more than tears were the ugly words that raged out of my mouth.
Where was God?
Was He even looking at me?
How much more did He think I could handle?
I think there were many words that I shall not repeat as well. My son stated it so eloquently one night, “Mom, I’ve heard you say more curse words in the last few weeks than I have heard you say in your entire life.” Unexpected events can illicit undesirable actions!
A few months ago, I had a doctor insist that I attend an eating disorder treatment center. In a week and a half, my life went from what I thought was reasonable to unraveled. It felt like I was walking in a cloud. Everything was moving forward, but I was oblivious to its movement. The paperwork, the medical tests, the saying goodbye to my family, the arrival at a treatment center were all a blur. Even though I was the primary participant in all these events, it did not seem real. Two weeks into treatment, I begin to start to feel again. I remember scratching my head thinking how in the world did I get here? How did I agree to this? Unexpected events can paralyze us and make us a spectator to our own life.
We all have stories. Every single one of you could take different situations and plug them into mine. Unexpected events that have left you with tears or questions and not lovely words or situations that have caused you to be a spectator to your own life.
Your stories are different, but the result is the same.
The more experience I have, the more I am learning to do three things that help me walk through unexpected events better. When I can remember to do these three things, it allows me to have a much different response to unexpected events.
- Remember God’s faithfulness in the past. When circumstances steal my joy, recalling the times in my life that God has been present and carried me through help bring a calm assurance into my heart. It brings confidence that God hasn’t left me in the past and He will not leave me in the future. Our God is steadfast in love and faithfulness. Psalms 86:15 states, “But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”
- Sing loudly. Go ahead and laugh now, but I mean it. Sing His praises. My God is a big God and is worthy of praise. No unexpected event is bigger than God! So go ahead and sing loudly about our awesome God. For real, He determines the number of stars and gives them a name so He surely can handle my unexpected storm. “He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure.” Psalm 147:4-5
- Hold hands with a friend. This number three is harder for me than number one and two. I am a do it by yourself kind of girl. I like to hold my struggles close, not allowing others to enter into my world. However, Scripture says in Galatians 6:2, “Bear one another’s burden and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Allowing others to enter our world encourages us to keep going. Allowing others to hold our hands gives us the security to face unexpected events. Hold hands with a friend, let a friend bear your burden.
When unexpected events come raging into your life, I challenge you to remember to claim God’s faithfulness, sing loud and hold hands with a friend. These three things will surely help you navigate the next unexpected season.
Karen lives in Huntsville, Alabama with her husband and three (20, 18 and 9-year-old) children. She has served as Preschool and Children’s Minister and Women’s Ministry Leader. When her older children were younger she directed a MOPS group. She has also taught 2nd grade at Freedom Project Academy.
Currently, she homeschools her youngest as well as caregiving to her husband. Karen’s husband suffers from a debilitating disease known as Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Karen loves to minister to women in crisis. She spends many hours in hospitals alongside those who need to know they are seen and loved. Karen speaks at Women’s Conferences and has a passion to help women learn to connect with one another. She has come to understand that much of aloneness in life is not someone else’s fault, rather it’s each’s own inability to receive. She also teaches women that in their brokenness, they are not disqualified from serving God and others. In fact, in the middle of brokenness she teaches women the secrets of what she has learned in order that they may live life with more love, grace, and gratitude in the middle of brokenness.
Karen regularly shares glimpses of their faith and struggles with others, via her blog. She has encountered what it means to be stripped of everything that seems normal to her all the way down to what she puts in her mouth. But after being stripped down, she sees how God is using some of the darkest places in her life to comfort others in their darkest moments!
Karen blogs at www.glimpsesoffaithandstruggles.com
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Unexpected things may take us by surprise by God is never caught off guard. He has a plan for our lives, and it is a good one. We can trust him with the unexpected events in our lives. I sure enjoyed this post by Karen Smith today, and I hope you did too!
I have some exciting news to share with you today!
Karen Smith and I are both contributors to a ministry called A Wife Like Me We wrote a book to address the need for wives wanting to grow deeper in connection with their husbands. The book is called Dear Wife and it comes out May 1st, but is available now for pre-order on Amazon at Dear Wife Book.
Dear Wife provides you with twenty-six heart changing invitations to discover how Christ desires connection with you and how through connection with Christ, you’ll develop a deeper connection with your husband. In this book, you will: Replace boring and busy with building deep intimacy and love, Swap ongoing complacency with an intentional connection, Spend guided alone time with your husband and God, Experience more depth in your marriage relationship, Restore and build a connection with God and with your husband. For more information visit Dear Wife Book.
Thanks so much for joining us here today! Remember, you are never alone in your struggle, and God is always there to see you through!