Thursday, September 16, 2010

Expecting the Unexpected at a Baby Shower

It all started when I had that dream, several months ago...a dream in which my pastor preached a sermon entitled, "Expect the Unexpected from Unexpected People."  Some may scoff, thinking a simple dream couldn't possibly revolutionize a person's life...but this particular dream certainly did mine.   

"Expecting the unexpected" demands faith...not just saying, "I believe," but letting go of normal and routine to grasp the unknown and sometimes unacceptable.  It means disappointment when you fall back into the rut of expecting the expected. Yet the results are amazing blessings...beyond anything one could ever imagine.   

"Expecting the unexpected" has become the theme of my life, in conjunction with my desire to be a part of whatever it is God wants to do in and through me. My heart cry is to be an unexpected person in the lives of those I come into contact with, never missing an unexpected opportunity made possible by God.     I've seen God open doors for me to minister to--and be ministered to--by people I would have never before expected.  He has formed relationships in the most "unexpected" of circumstances, using the most "unexpected" resources.  

One such unexpected experience came just a few weeks ago when I got an email from somebody who is very dear to my heart...almost like a daughter.  

She had joined our family for dinner around Christmas but then had been busy for several months. So, we had communicated only online or by phone until June, when we celebrated her birthday.  We met again in July and all seemed well as we laughed and talked over some delicious cheesecake.  

So, yes, it was very unexpected, when on August 1st, I got an email from her, informing me that she had a three-month old daughter.  Her heart was was mine.  We met a few days later and I learned that she had nothing for her precious baby girl...not even a crib.  (She was sleeping in a borrowed car seat.)  My heart was in prayer prior to and during our entire time together, longing to be so filled with Christ's love...a love that doesn't condemn but points her to Him so that she may go and sin no more.

I felt God leading me to have a baby shower for her and her precious daughter.  This shower was about much more than meeting the material needs for her baby.  The greater need was that she be showered with pure unconditional love.  I knew she had few friends and that meant a huge step of faith for that God would provide her many that people would respond. 

I approached her with the idea of the shower and she melted with disbelief and gratefulness that I would do such a thing.  With her permission, I would invited several of my friends to the shower.  

I had never asked people to reach out to a total stranger, in this capacity, before.  Yet, I knew God was calling me to do it.  I truly believed this was one of those "expect the unexpected" events and only God knew who was to be there and who wasn't. So, I prayed about who to invite and sent out the invitations, trusting God to lead those He wanted involved to participate in whatever manner they could. The enemy tried to attack and thwart in so many ways--even a threat from the baby's father to cancel the shower--but I continued in prayer and stood firm...expecting the unexpected.

None of her friends made it to the shower.  She was nearly in tears an hour beforehand, and was hesitant to come, when she found out the last of her friends wasn't going to make it.  I persuaded her to come on, knowing a little of what what awaited her.  She definitely got some unexpected--and much needed--encouragement that day.

I cannot begin to describe the joy that was evident in her face as she opened the many gifts people she didn't even know gave her and her baby.  Every need she had was met...and then some...a swing, crib, glider (rocker), Bumbo, exersaucer, blankets, stroller, sling, toys, sheets, towels, and more clothes than she could have ever hoped for or imagined. 

When God speaks to people and they obey, His work is accomplished.  She was blessed beyond words!  As we helped her set things up at her apartment, she could not stop thanking me, expressing how much it meant to her.  She experienced love like she has never known.

I had no intention of gaining anything from this shower; the thought never even crossed my mind.  This was all about God meeting her was about her feeling loved and encouraged...or so I thought.  So, it was certainly unexpected when I found my own self relishing in an abundance of love and encouragement that night...and the days following.  

My own heart was filled to the brim and overflowing with the love that my friends had poured out on some one so dear to me.  For you see, when they loved her, they loved me.  That must be how God feels when we love His children..."when you have done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me."



Anonymous said...

ohhhh how beautiful! i can just imagine the room full of love. i love your theme too. such a lovely way to step out in it and see God move :)

Jessica said...

Now this this is breathing love!

Bonnie Gray said...

Debbie! Now you've done it! You've gone and made me cry.. tears of joy! God is so real... thank you for sharing this amazing story of love and joy for this mom! I cannot imagine how much our Father loves her, through you!

Lisa notes... said...

Now it's my turn to cry. After reading the message you left on my post about Scrabble, I was deeply touched. And now reading your post here about how you reached out to this young girl, oh my. God is so real in the ways he works among his people. I really don't know what else to say because I am overwhelmed at the moment. Just thanks for sharing your story.

Debbie said...

Oh thank you for sharing this story. I love that you reached out to her in love. God used you to encourage this young mom. Oh if more Christians would do likewise. The world would get to see the difference in us by our love. I think that would have a major impact.

Anonymous said...

How wonderful! Isn't it amazing when we listen to what God is calling us to do?

Peggy said...

Blessings Debbie... what a beautiful heart & way to expect the unexpected for someone else and touch her & her baby with God's love & acceptance! What a beautiful blessing! Now that's heart to heart ministry!

I too was blessed with your unexpectant amen when you weren't even on the Sweet P's prayer links(yet)! Thanks... hope you & your heart are filled back up as you pour out His love on others!