I was sixteen when my father lost his job. Worry found me that year, stomach tight, thoughts all jumbled, and eyes dropping tears. Tension was high in our house. I hid away in my room where the “what if’s” of worry kept me prisoner, “What if we can’t buy food?” “What if I have to leave my school?” “What if he can’t find a new job?”
God often sends us grace silently, like an unexpected gift.
It could be a smile from a stranger, a needed hug from a friend, or words of thanks from a child. Sometimes it’s found in the heady scent of a flower or in seeing the sun break through the clouds. God gives us gifts in thousands of ways, including little pleasures and the things we enjoy.
Yet, sometimes grace comes as hope when it seems there was none. For me, hope came in the shape of teenage friends.
The first gift arrived in a bag of lunch. I was sitting with a friend during lunch at school and she handed me a sandwich. “What’s this for?” I asked. “My mom made an extra one” she said.
Had she noticed I hadn’t been bringing lunches to school for a while?
Every day, until my father was employed, my friend brought me a lunch her mother had packed just for me.
Just before Thanksgiving that year, another gift of hope arrived. It was Sunday evening and I heard a knock at the door. I opened it to find three kids from my youth group at church. They were carrying bags from the grocery store. They had brought us everything we would need for Thanksgiving dinner. That was a Thanksgiving meal I never forgot and probably never will.
Even when hope seems lost, He leaves a trail of gifts. Sometimes they are small, sweet treats, and other times they are much-needed provisions. Following the trail, counting the graces as they are found, leads to new-found hope.
And sometimes, it’s the unexpected graces that linger in the heart the longest.
Counting His gifts and all the unexpected ways He loves (1399-1420):
The way God provides for all our needs
Traveling with my husband while he works
Kids who are used to flying and traveling–they know the routine
Homeschooling away from home
Meeting up with a blogging friend!
Touring the Atlanta Botanical Gardens–I could have stayed for days!
My boys and my friends kids had a blast together
The beauty of God’s creation in bloom
Salad of mixed greens, figs, and blackberries
Listening to birds sing while sitting on the porch
Shrimp and grits
Visiting Legoland Discovery Center in Atl.
New legos to build
The kids discovering honeysuckles at the park and experiencing its taste for the first time
Meeting up with old college friends
Exploring the Chattahoochee Nature Center
Kids pretending to do the weather
Almond encrusted french toast
Rope burns–evidence of fun on the ropes course at Stone Mountain
Psalm 34 and 1 Timothy
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