Thursday, February 14

Unexpected Grace

It's always the unexpected that delights. 

I knew it was coming--Valentine's Day. It happens every year, every same date. 
It's never been very significant in our home--us kids who were single weren't encouraged to mope and cry because we didn't have someone to share the special day with, and those who did have that special person always kept to themselves and only discreetly made their affections known. 
Sappy romance has always made me a bit squeamish.

So I knew what was coming. I would go to bed February 13th like any other night, and I would wake up on the 14th to find all the same. The day would go on as normal too. The only difference was something little, something very special. It was always in the morning, waiting for me on our dining room table. Sometimes it was a red rose or other pretty decoration, but always a dear card and some chocolates. This year I even got two heart-shaped chocolates! :) The card from my father was very sweet (no pun intended), and I always smile all fuzzy warm with deep appreciation and admiration of his love for me. 
But this is the thing that bothers me about holidays such as Valentine's Day. They are annual, recurring,  expected, much hoped for and anticipated, holidays (or celebrations, or special days, or whatever you want to call them... I know Valentine's Day isn't a work holiday, but I think you know what I mean.). So you perfectly well expect to receive sweet things and/or for your special person to be extra loving towards you, and for all the world to be happy for just that day. 
Maybe I'm not saying it clear enough, let me try again:
Nothing expected is ever as wonderful as when you least expected it. 
...And again...

Anything expected is never as glorious or wonderful as when you would least expect it. 

Does that make sense? I can't say I don't like Christmas or Thanksgiving just because it's so very much anticipated (it's always new and unexpected enough for me), but I can say I don't like Valentine's Day because I know exactly what I'm getting.
The joy is taken out of the gift given on the day, because it is a holiday, and--those kinds of things are expected to be given and received. 
However, I know I'm looking at this from a pessimist view, because I know many of you would look at holidays and say they are "sacred" days specially set apart just for the express purpose of declaring your love for your person, or for giving thanks or giving gifts, or for celebrating someone's birth... I understand that side of it, too, and I am very glad our calendar recognizes these special displays of appreciation.

So this morning I surveyed the chocolates, read the card, and then let out a little sigh of resignment. Okay, that's it. Nothing more special this year... Now to find something to eat. But then, looking up, there was one of the most gloriously divine sunrises I had ever seen. The sky was all lightening blue clouds, then suddenly streaks of pink were painted across all the sky, glowing, illuminating, brightening, dazzling.
It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I had seen since we moved.
Unexpected grace.
My heart skipped a beat and my breath caught. As I slowly breathed out, the whispered words rolled over my tongue, spilled from my lips. Thank You, Father. Thank You, Father! THANK YOU, MY FATHER!! 
And then the song played in my head, hummed from my throat.

I see Your face in every sunrise
The colors of the morning are inside Your eyes
The world awakens in the light of the day
I look up to the sky and say 

You’re beautiful...

And then I read and I see this: You took your life – and took a chance on me. You took your one whole, wild life and took your chance on me. That’s the miracle that rents the sky, that explodes a heart – that you chose me. ~ Ann Voskamp 

And now I see, His graces lighting up everywhere, showing His love to me. 

Photo by Randy Wilkerson

Photo by Meghan Murphy

Photo by Dan Ransom 

Photo by Meghan Murphy

Smile. God loves you. He is Awesome and He is Powerful, He is Love and He is Gentle.

Receive God's love for you today.
Happy Valentine's Day. :)

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. ~ 1 John 4:10 NIV Bible

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. ~ 1 John 3:16 NIV Bible

For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. ~ Romans 8:3 NIV Bible

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to deatheven death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~ Philippians 2:5-11 NIV Bible

Hallowed be Your name, Oh LORD.


  1. Happy Valentines Day, Heidi! I love you. <3

    I was reading Philippians this morning, and was struck by the very verses that you shared. :) God is so good to us.

    1. Happy Valentine's Day to you too, Riah! :) I love you! <3

      That's awesome! :) God is indeed so good to us! <3