God Sized Surprises And A Confident Heart

When I saw this posted on Facebook,
I felt a little …small

*sheep·ish  (shpsh)
1. Embarrassed, as by consciousness of a fault: a sheepish grin.
2. Meek or stupid.
See what I mean? 
Let’s start at the very beginning, friends. Without excuse I confess, sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. It’s like the cliche, “my eyes are bigger than my stomach”. 
Only let’s apply this with my appetite for God, truth, knowledge and wisdom.
This can be a good thing. And it can be bad.
How can it be bad? 
When I can’t or don’t  follow through on what I committed to initially. 
My grandmother had a saying about this which I have shared in previous posts.
About a road and good intentions and a place…you get the point.
There are so many wonderful opportunities to draw closer to Him, to know Him, to grow in the grace and knowledge of Him and fellowship with others who are seeking to follow Him, and they all look good. 
Really good.
So it’s true,
I am a God hog.
See, when I lived without Him, my desire was to live my life out loud. To seize every moment. To learn all I could about everything in this big, wide, world and experience every second of this life, as if it might be pulled away from me at any moment.
Because it could.
But, He has shown me a better way…and His way leads to peace, perspective and unhurried moments.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. 
He guides me along the right paths 
    for his name’s sake. 
Psalm 23:1-3

However, sometimes that inner crazy chick returns 
and tries to take over my current Christian life.
It always sets me up for failure. 

 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, 
which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesian 2:10

Because. I. Can’t. Do. It. All.

 It is good to grasp the one
    and not let go of the other.
    Whoever fears God will avoid all extremes.
Ephesians 7:18

Nor does my God mean for me to…
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

All this to share how God, knowing my tendencies, and assuring me of His great love for me, still.
Enter my desire to do a Bible Study, which I shared on the blog and that I would be doing it, and invited others to join me. I was so excited because I even got the book free!
(Amazon/for Cloud Reader since my Kindle bit the dust) 

Confident Heart
Then between all of my other commitments, obligations and job searching, interviewing, volunteering blogging, life, I got behind. The first week. What a loser, I thought …maybe I can catch up. But then I got discouraged because (here is where I feel like a brat) I loved what I read but I could not stand reading on the computer after I was done all of the other computer stuff…So I put forth on Facebook a random request…and let the thought of catching up be for another day.
That was on about week three of he study. I think. 
May 14th…I waited…and then SURPRISE!
Enter an old church friend and Sister in Christ, who lives in North Carolina. She In-boxed me: “so, how much do you like Renee Swope’s work? I may be able to send you a book. What is your address?” 

She sparkles and shines for Him…can’t you just see it?
On Monday June 4th I get the notification on Facebook  from Kristy.  An envelope shows up at the door and in it is the book, I open it and peek, and ponder her kindness. I am thinking. That was so sweet. I read the inscription and lay down as I have a tiny headache. The book is on the bed beside me. I stare at the ceiling and decide to open it and re-read the inscription. I almost fall off the bed, I sit upright and read the name. Renee Swope. How had I missed it? I had read the words but was all heady about how thoughtful Kristy was, even signing a brand new book for me. I wondered why, would she do this kindness. Why? When I realize it is Renee’s handwriting I am giddy and silly as I cannot figure this out at all. One small request. An old friend. Suddenly it’s looking like an amazingly intricate plot to bless…me? Blushing. 
Why, Lord? Why, Kristy? 
Why me? 

I’m the Christian version of Mr. Magoo fumbling through this life, making messes – yet falling into the lap of grace, over and over again.

It’s utterly baffling to me. 
I baaaaaa like a sheep.
Then I popped onto Facebook to thank Kristy and she tags a photo of me as I sit there with the infamous “deer in the headlight gaze” and see for the first time the picture of Renee holding “mini me” via the cell phone and I am getting exhausted with surprise and blessing as the story unfolds. 
This great God Sized Surprise completely unknown to me…
and I feel so silly and unworthy but I just know God is smiling not because I am so wonderful but because He just loves to play with me…mess with his children. In lovely ways.
I’m stunned, and ask Kristy the meaning and she shares that she went to the Proverbs 31 Ministries Offices. 
Got the book, had it signed for me and the picture. 

Thank you so much for the book! I was very surprised to see it is signed to me BY Renee Swope! Now how on earth did that happen? I am so surprised, amazed and humbled. When I read the inscription the first time I thought you wrote the note and I was so blessed …but then after when I looked again and saw it was not your signature but Renee’s! Thank you but I am very curious about this! In His Grace, Dawn

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Honestly…I am still feeling overwhelmed by her sweet gesture and kindness. You need to know that she is one who was an encouragement to me in my early days of marriage as we attended the same church, bible studies and fellowship. She is one of those woman who truly just magnifies Jesus, in a fun, real way. Without fan-fare and with oodles and oodles of grace. Thank you Kristy. Thank you, Renee. Thank you, God.
I know you want to give each of your daughter’s unique surprises every day, as they watch for them!

Of course, being held in the palm of Renee’s hand is kind of cool too, in a fun, disturbing way. 

Have you had any God – Sized Surprises, lately?
Do you have your own story to share?
I would love to hear how God has messed with and blessed
you through a friend or circumstance. 

Oh and one special request. 
Run over to Renee’s place and beg her to start,
ask kindly when her next 
Confident Heart Online Study
 is starting, OK? 
This was the second time I have tried and failed to get it done-
 is the third time the charm? 
No excuses!

*Thanks to the Free Dictionary for always being there for me!

Beholding Glory

Published by enthusiasticallydawn

Dawn Paoletta is the author of Journaling for Discovery and Delight. Her writing is included in several anthologies and her poems have been included in the Wickford Poetry and Art Exhibit and Books. Dawn is currently working on her next book. Inquiries at dawn.paoletta@gmail.com

8 thoughts on “God Sized Surprises And A Confident Heart

  1. Wow!! How amazing! But no surprise. Your constant encouragement and honesty about life has blessed many of us!!! BTW – I am A Confident Heart drop out too. 🙂 I am still trying to do it but not very well. I read a chapter and then put it down for days that I have to go back and reread the same chapter. Needless to say I am stuck in chapter 2 right now. Anyhow, many blessings and hugs!!


  2. I am not familiar with this study, but now I am certainly curious. I will have to check this out! Isn't God marvelous? He has so many ways to surprise us and show us how much He loves us! Makes my heart overflow with joy and laughter when I see these special fingerprints of God on the doors to our hearts. He knows exactly what we need and when. I will repost one of my favorite stories on my blog about this later. http://pamelasopenwindow.blogspot.com Thanks for sharing a day brightener with us!! (as usual….) 🙂


  3. What a cool story! I'm really glad you shared in community at Getting Down With Jesus. Sorry it took me so long to pop over. … I like to visit everyone who participates in the Getting Down With Jesus link-up, if possible, but our mini-vacation to Minnesota stalled those plans.


  4. What a gift to be part of HIS gift to you!! He really is an amazing God who loves, pursues and surprise us with lavish love. Not sure when my next online study will be but it's looking like the fall – Octoberish. :0)Blessings and smiles, Renee


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