I will thank the Lord with all my heart as I meet with his godly people. How amazing are the deeds of the Lord! All who delight in him should ponder them. Psalm 111:1-2 NLT

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Unexpected Gifts

We're having weekly giveaways during December.

Read more about it below!

Ten years ago, God flabbergasted me with a you-have-got-to-be-kidding gift.

And I wasn't so gracious about accepting it.

I sobbed. Pulled the covers up over my head and stayed in bed. But can you blame me? I was taken down by all day long morning sickness.

Forget about reciting, "Children are a gift from the Lord." (Psalm 127:3)

At the time, I had three teenagers. Having a baby wasn't even penciled in on my calendar as an optional activity. I had my life planned out--and God had interfered.

Yep, that's how I felt. God's unexpected gift was an interference, not a gift.

My surprise pregnancy delighted family and friends. Some of them laughed out loud, but more in an "I'm glad you're pregnant and not me" kind of way. I moped. And talked to God. My conversations went like this:

Do you realize I wasn't planning on getting pregnant?
Do you know how this is messing up my plans?
Sometimes my plans trump your plans.
Do you understand I can't do this?
What's that verse about my grace being sufficient? The one you like to tell other people to cling to in tough times?

My unexpected gift was born on Christmas Eve 2000. As I held Christa, I had no idea all the hidden blessings God wrapped up in my newborn daughter.

About a month ago, my daughter Katie Beth said, "Can you imagine how bored we'd be without Christa?"

Truer words were never spoken. Christa brought childhood back to our family. Increased the laughter. And all those "I can'ts" that I threw at God? Like I can't get up with a baby again. I can't potty train a toddler again. I can't do teen angst again. God's grace has been sufficient. Actually, teen angst is looming. But God's grace was sufficient for the first three kids, so I'm optimistic!

Christa taught me that the unexpected gifts--the ones we try to push back into God's hands--are the absolute best.

December Contest: We're having weekly contests during December and we're giving away the fun prizes that my daughter Christa is holding in the photo! Leave a comment this week and you could win: a journal and a mug containing 3 Starbucks Christmas flavored VIA packets and 3 flavored tea bags. The mug has a photo of an old-fashioned typewriter on it and says: Write your own story.

*Photo at the beginning of the post is by Lenda Jay Messina of LJM Photography and is used with her permission.*


  1. That is a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it. I hope she will have wonderful birthday!

  2. Absolutely beautiful story. I know Christa has been a delight in your life. It's amazing how God gives us gifts we didn't even know we wanted.

  3. TonyaRenea, Christa can't wait until she hits double digits on the 24th! And Pat, it's true--Christa has been delightful. And becoming a late-in-life mom has stretched my faith & strengthened it.

  4. I remember hearing your shock as you e-mailed me your news. :) Reading your story today still brought a lump to my throat. :) How beautiful to see what God has done in your life and through you because of this most precious, incredible, fun, amazing gift named Christa! :) May her birthday be delightful!

  5. Beth,
    I knew Christa was a surprise to you, but I wasn't aware that her birtday was so close to Christmas! What a blessing to you and now to us!

  6. Love this - "Sometimes my plans trump your plans."
    Thanks for the reminder!
    (But I'm kinda hoping I don't get that kind of gift this Christmas. :-))

  7. Oh the mug.....

    and the trumping of plans.... and the experiencing of much better plans than those I had in mind... been there-cried from fear to joy in that;)

  8. I laughed out loud over this one and certainly got tears in my eyes, but not over the laughter. I love how God works. He always knows what is best for us. I'm thankful for Him at every moment.

    I love His sense of humor as well:

    "What's that verse about my grace being sufficient? The one you like to tell other people to cling to in tough times?"

    He makes me laugh so many times with thankfulness over Who He IS. I AM.

    Wonderful post Beth. I was truly blessed.

  9. What a fun, fun post, Beth! :) And so true about God's grace being sufficient - if there's anything my family has learned in this past year, I think that's it. So glad to see what joy God has brought into your life through your unexpected gift!

    Fun mug, too!

  10. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NAS)"And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness " Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

    One of my most favorite verses ever!
    Glad you all are enjoying the post--and yeah, the coffee mug is so, so great. Too perfect for writers.

  11. Angela Bell12/1/10, 5:02 PM

    Beautiful story, Beth! After reading your post I started crying like I'd just watched a Hallmark movie.

    Wish Christa an early Happy Birthday for me! :-)

  12. Thank you, Angela! Sometimes God's most beautiful stories are the most unexpected! ;O)

  13. Having met Christa, I can see how she would be an absolute delight to your family. She's a sweet child. Happy upcoming birthday, Christa!!

    Doncha just love those little God surprises...His plan is so much larger and better than ours!!

    Thanks for the great blessing reminder, Beth!!

  14. You know we're quite fond of "that girl" in our house too. So glad you were blessed with her.

    But, man do I understand wanting to give a gift back. Some of my "gifts" I'd like to re-gift like a blinky-nosed Rudolph sweater. But I'll hold onto them in hopes one day I'll understand why I've received them.

  15. I'll make sure Christa gets all the birthday greetings. And you know, Evangeline, my caboose kiddo loves hanging with your boys!!

  16. What an awesome story. And I agree that Christa is such a blessing. I can still see her with her face painted like... umm.. was it a cat? So cute!

  17. That was after her day trip with Rob to DisneyWorld. Her face was painted like a chimpmunk's, a la Chip 'n' Dale.

  18. I so enjoyed your story. Your point about God's gifts being the best -- even when we would not have chosen them -- is so true. And very timely.
    Today I listened to a dear friend practice a talk she will give tomorrow evening that makes the same point...but from the other side. She initially rejected an unplanned "gift," and years later found God's compassionate forgiveness. God's gift of forgiveness and Hope is so needed by many. Her testimony is powerful.
    I sent a your blog's link to my friend.
    Blessings on you and your lovely daughter.

  19. Beth...wonderful! So true how we question God, but He always has our best interest at heart. Happy Early BDay Christa!.

  20. Beautifully done, and so great to have Christa's smiling face next to pic of current prices. Yes, life would be unimaginable w/o her.

  21. Beth! What a beautiful story! As I read it, and especially about you holding your unexpected gift on Christmas Eve, I thought of another woman blessed by God with a similar unexpected gift 2000 years ago. I imagine her asking Him all the same questions as you. Not only did you remind me to be thankful for my own unexpected gifts, but for The Gift that bought us eternal life.

  22. Caught this late, but it's a great story and perfect for Christmas!