As a young girl growing up with horses, I remember early Saturday mornings my dad would wake me up; the sky still black. Handing me my riding clothes, he directed me out to the barn. Tacked and ready were Silver and Peppy. Saddlebags filled with warm canteens of freshly stirred hot chocolate; our trek up the trail began.
Those days were filled with innocence of what the world entailed. It was just me, my daddy, and our two big animals; life felt comfortable and easy. We would make our way to the hill’s peak, just in time to fill our travel mugs with a cup of cocoa and watch the sun come up. Moments you stop to watch the world go round, time seems to stall.
During these travels via horseback, my dad would notice my relaxed frame and mindset, responding with a common phrase, “always expect the unexpected.” Spending most my days on my pony’s back, I grew quite savvy at a young age to the lifestyle of an equestrian. This phrase could be easily blown off. “Regardless how well you think you know your animal and surroundings, pay attention, it’s the things out of your control, the people, the environment around you that’s unpredictable, everything can change in an instant.” Although, not always making sense, it never failed; these words became ingrained in my thinking.
I think my dad knew back then he wasn’t just instructing me on my trail riding abilities, but rather gearing me up for what the world had to offer, preparing me for the unexpected calling’s of God. Life, through my eight year old eyes, didn’t see complication, didn’t see struggle, but my dad knew. Through such a tangible lesson, he knew the depth in which he was speaking.
Watching out for the unexpected doesn’t mean running from what’s coming your way, but rather being prepared. For me personally, life’s most unexpected dealings were tests of my obedience to God. Challenging my faith to see if I was ready for some of life’s biggest blessings. Blessings that were foreshadowed by fear, questions, confusion, struggles…
When God put my husband in my path 14 years ago, I would have to say I was not expecting my heart to fall in love with someone so far from my dreams. Learning to face life with great limitations, marrying a man with quadriplegia. I had never known the depths of anyone with a disability; let alone welcoming it into my life forever. Was I prepared for this emotionally, mentally, & physically, I was only 21 years old?
Eight years deep into our “not so normal” marriage, we were called into adoption. Was I prepared for this unknown? In 2013, we received the unexpected call that a baby boy was born, and we were being considered as placement. Was I prepared to be a mom to a child I did not carry? Sitting across the table from my “soon-to-be” son’s birth parents, telling two broken people whose life’s journeys were in despair, that we truly loved them and welcomed them into our family. Was I prepared for that kind of love? Two years later, while winding the roads up the coast of Oregon on vacation, unexpectedly receiving a call from my dear friend. Her brother had just had a child and they were detaining the baby at the hospital; asking if we would consider adopting him. Was I prepared to enter a convoluted situation where friendship now became birth family relation? Having to wait six months before being able to welcome this baby into our home. Was I prepared to face the challenges of attachment with this child?
Was I prepared? Was I looking out for the unexpected? Was I ready? Well ready or not, here comes God, sending me what he has called me to do. Placing me and my family in the muck & mire of his grace, his love, and his mercy. In every one of these situations, I had a choice; I could bail, or I could ride the ride. The ease of that ride, all depended on my relationship with God in that moment. How much I was paying attention to the things of my faith.
We all have callings. We all have stories. We all have our challenges; some harder than others. But, I truly believe some of the hardest callings are given to those who are equipped, who pay attention to the ways of the Lord, who are ready when something is put in their path. It’s scary, but it’s scarier the farther you are from God. These past 14 years have been filled with emotion, doubt, fear, struggles, but one thing I can tell you is the blessings and fulfillment far outweighs the above. I fail, I fall, I sin, but one thing that assures me, is God’s forgiveness is always there to strengthen and hold me through. This life is not about me, it’s about my quest towards eternal life, and how I can be an example to those around me through my shortcomings.
So I ask (both you and myself)…Are you prepared? Are you ready for what is next for you in life? Are you ready to face fear head on, and rely on God to show you the bigger picture?
Are you expecting the unexpected?…