In high school, I dated a boy named Greg. He was my first love and is a big reason I know the Lord. I loved his family and we made a lot of great memories together. Ultimately, though, we weren’t right for each other and after two years, Greg wisely ended the relationship.
I’m someone who believes that God often brings people into our lives for finite pieces of time. Greg was a huge part of my life when I was 16, but obviously not anymore. We live in different parts of the country, are both happily married and have had very little contact in recent years.
Fifteen years later, I look back on that time fondly, knowing that God was preparing my heart for the deep love I have found within marriage. Little did I know that He was also preparing the way for a rich friendship to bloom more than a decade later.
You see, about a year ago I received a Facebook message from Greg’s older brother, Rob. He was a doctor now, married with a young daughter and amazingly working at the same health care institution I work for in Nashville. In his note he said, “My wife Katie is awesome, and I think you two would really hit it off.”
He was right.
Katie has become one of my dearest friends. We love doing life together, and our kids are the best of friends. We cook and share meals. We craft. We change diapers and wipe runny noses. We paint and plan parties. We share Target deals (a very important part of friendship!). We worship together at church.
Katie shines Jesus brightly.
When I take time to sit back and think about how this friend came to be in my life, I am blown away by the workings of God. He didn’t just bring a high school sweetheart into my life who helped lead me to Him – which would have been plenty.
Fifteen years later, he brought a dear friend into my life that I would have never known without having first knowing Greg. And not just a let’s have coffee once sort of friend, but a soul-sister.
We serve a God of surprises. In my life I have seen God surprise in many ways, but it is relationships that have the most significance to me. God delights in each of us and He created us as relational beings.
My friendship with Katie is a surprise that continues to bring me to my knees in thanksgiving.
What has God done in your life that surprised you?Leave a Comment
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
After years of verbal and emotional abuse and infidelity, I was divorced from my husband. I never thought that anyone would see me as worthy. I know this sounds hokey, but at one of my lowest points while being single, enter (yes, through facebook) a guy friend from high school. He was extremely shy back then and not a Christian. We rekindled a friendship which has blossomed into a beautiful love story. After two and a half years of dating, we are planning our wedding in January. He is a wonderful, caring, Christian man – the stuff dreams are made of. God has totally blown me out of the water with this one. Just another reminder that he weaves our lives together in ways that far exceed anything we could ask or imagine.
Beth Williams says
Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. Your story reminds me of the verse that says: God can do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or think.
God is a God of surprises & His ways are higher than ours. I pray you both have a wonderful life together!
What a sweet gift you have in each other:)
Beth Coulton says
Just last Monday, God surprised me with a new job…literally overnight. It’s only a temporary position in the same school I’ve been working in for 5 years, but it may be the doorway to the “greater things” I’ve been praying about for over a year. I was amazed at how rapidly change can come- when God is behind it, in it and throught it! I was so surprised….
Thank God for your close and Godly relationship. Some of us go our entire lives never finding the “ones” God has put out there for us… Blessings!!
been a single mom for 4 years, and it’s been amazing how God surprised me with beautiful strangers who grew to be my support system today. And just recently, met another beautiful stranger thru facebook in the person of King. He has blessed me by being one of the persons to draw me to get closer to God. And God really has many surprising ways, i’ve also become part of a facebook group of women who seeks God.
alina y says
When I was still in high school, my mother always told me to pray for my future husband and let God give me the one he thinks I should be with. Well, to me that was scary, I didn’t want a husband God would choose for me because I always imagined him to be some kind of loser, some one that I would never be interested in. I just didn’t trust God with that;) well when I was 19 I finally gave up on every male out there. At least that’s what I thought. When I finally gave my future up to God, I met my future husband. We are happily married for 5 1/2 years with two beautiful children. God has given me the perfect gift of a husband and best friend only after I surrendered my life fully to Him and put my trust in him.
Beth Williams says
I was much older (35+) when I tried to surrender my future husband to God. I thought I was doing it right–used Yahoo Personals and lots of prayer. Time passed and no one was writing me. At my low point I just threw a pencil on my desk and surrendered it to God. Told Him “that’s it if I’m to be married then you will have to make it happen,” Not long after that He sent me the most wonderful Christian hubby a gal could want. We’ve been happily married for almost 10 years now.
Prayer and surrender to God are the keys.
The summer after graduating from college, I moved to Nashville. What I thought would be a great adventure turned out to be the hardest year of my life. When the light on my parents’ porch was more exciting than the skyline of the city, I knew it was time to leave. I stayed late at work one Thursday afternoon in late September to finish an application to grad school in my home state because I didn’t have internet at my apartment. The next afternoon, I was unexpectedly let go from my job. I moved home and waited to hear if I had been accepted into the program…only to have the acceptance letter lost in the mail. Because my acceptance and registration was postponed, the only class I really wanted to take was supposed to be full, but a spot opened up at the last minute. It was a Thursday night class, where, on the second week, a bearded young man with a kind smile sat next to me in the last row. Ten and a half months later, he asked me to be his wife. This June, we celebrated our 7th anniversary.
When my heart was breaking in Nashville, when I filled out a grad school application less than 24 hours before being fired, when I got into African American Lit, when Josh sat next to me and smiled…God was in the details. I never imagined after such a hard year that such goodness was waiting on the other side. Our lives are not perfect, and I am not the perfect wife, but I am so, so thankful for the way He made beauty from my ashes.
Charley Reeb says
My name is Charley Reeb and I am the Senior Pastor of Pasadena Community Church in St. Pete, Florida. I happened upon your story and was moved by it. In fact, so moved that I would like to include your story in my upcoming book that will be published next Summer. It is called “Mission Possible” and will be published by CSS. It is a book of Advent and Christmas messages. And your story is all about God making the impossible possible. I would like your permission to include it. Please email me or call me 727-463-0400. I would like to discuss this with you.
Thanks so much!
What a wonderful tribute to the Lord and to your dear friend. You inspire me to seek out deeper friendship with my sister friends.
I went to an Incourage event in Nashville earlier this year. Part of me was hoping to meet some new friends at this event, and I even got the email addresses and phone numbers of some of the women I met. Unfortunately, I did not form any lasting friendships since my texts went unanswered after several attempts. This was very hurtful to me, but I have learned to forgive and just let things go.
What is surprising is that I was able to meet one girl my age at work this year, as well as some older ladies at church that I was able to connect with on a more spirtiual level.
I guess it really is surprising how God works in mysterious ways. I know God has a plan for me and he has put certain people in my life that lift me up and make me smile, but more importantly are there for me when I need them and vice versa.
Robin Dance says
Your comment makes me wonder what people who attended my inRL event left thinking… :). I’ve been living between two places for a while now and haven’t been able to maintain contact, though I thoroughly enjoyed our gathering.
I know what you mean about wanting to make meaningful connections, but I’ve found when people don’t “click” there’s usually plenty to explain it…though you don’t always know the circumstances and reasons why. I’m SO THANKFUL for you to have made natural connections with your friend at work and the ladies at your church! Perhaps the Lord was gently allowing you to experience those hurtful feelings to build empathy and compassion for others, to embolden you to accept the friendships that develop right in your back yard?? Or maybe I’m just thinking about the void I’ve had for years, and that God allowed me to feel those things deeply so I’d LEARN!! (message received 🙂 ). In any event, good for you for receiving God’s mysterious plans, and celebrating the special people in your life (not for focusing on the relationships that didn’t develop). 🙂
Joanne Peterson says
We adopted 22-1/2 years ago a beautiful 2 year old daughter. It was extremely difficult raising her and I felt so inadequate raising her, with her behavior. I responded to her badly more often than not. I thought if I just tried harder and tried more techniques, her behavior would change. I did not know what was God’s job and what was mine, and I used to tell Jesus this. I prayed for years for healing for our family and begged to please just give me some direction. Years later, I started to understand she never bonded with us, and had major special needs issues, and by the time we learned this, she wanted to just get out, and huge damage was done. Because I had felt like such a failure, many years earlier I swore in mt heart I would never adopt again.
A few years later after my daughter left, she became pregnant and I had not seen her for over two years. The Lord revealed we would meet before she had her baby. We did. I started to apologize for the damage I had done. She had her son, and I was in the delivery room with her. Something I never expected. After 28 days, she took off and took her son with her and became pregnant almost right away with her boyfriend.
She ended up back in the same city, and delivered her second son. She had been saying that she didn’t think she could raise two children. I supported her and encouraged her to try, but to also do what is right for her and for her baby. She decided to give up her second son for adoption. Unexpectedly to me, she asked us to adopt her infant son. I was shocked and had never considered doing this. After seeking the Lord, He said we were to adopt her son. Then less than a year later we were adopting her older son. They are biological siblings. I never thought I would adopt again, much less our daughter’s sons. It is not easy, we are in our 50’s and have two and a half and three and a half year old boys. It is almost like Jesus saying “I still believe in you” He has promised He will give us everything we need to raise these boys. It still is not easy being a mother again and our next closest son in line being almost 19 years old. Because of the lack of attachment, we still rarely see or have contact in any form from our daughter. But, I still trust for good in the future for her and for us. Jesus is bigger than our circumstances and what we see.
You are the definition of a true friend! You were definitely put in my life by Him, and I am so very thankful for that. Thank you, as well, for using your words in an uplifting manner. Not just for me, but for everyone who reads this. This is a world where words define who you are and what kind of person you are-you have truly found your calling. I am so happy I get to do life with you!
Sharon A says
Somehow it seems an incongruity to suppose God could surprise us–just look at all He’s done! Yet, He has surprised me over and over these past three years. My husband is suffering with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). As his disease worsened, each time we thought we were in crisis, God provided solutions…immediately. People helped us, circumstances presented opportunity. It’s just been incredible how the LORD has walked each step of this journey with us…and continues to do so!
Thank you so much for sharing that wonderful lifetime story with us; it’s wonderful!
My husband and I have both been married before. Those marriages ended in divorce. They were hard, heartbreaking and hurtful times in our lives. BUT, (and we talk about this regularly), had he never married his first wife and lived in a small TX town, he would’ve never met Matt and Stacie. If I hadn’t gotten a divorce, I would’ve never moved back to TX from MS and would’ve never started going to church with my sister…where Matt and Stacie then attended. I would’ve never met them and they would’ve never introduced us!!! HE is in every detail. There are no coincidences 🙂
God’s paths for us are a strange and wonderful thing.
Robin: Thank you for your kind words.
God does work in mysterious ways. Sometimes I tend to overanalyze the situation and think that there is something that I did wrong….. But I just have to remember that God has a plan for everything….big or small. I might not understand it at the time, but everything happens for a reason. It reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures, Jeremiah 29:11.
Again, thank you for your kind words and have a fantabulous day! 🙂
Thank you for posting this. God is so good! You asking the question made me think about how if God had not surprised me, I never would have met my very best friend/husband. I had a plan after high school to follow my sister to college. When I went I had so much fun. I had wonderful roommates in my dorm and some of the most fun times of my life. But, I didn’t consult God about the school or my major…I just made my own decisions. After a year and a half, I was failing horribly. I tried so hard, but ended up flunking out. I felt so humiliated having to explain to my roommates and move home with my parents. I decided to take some time off school and figure out what to do. My Dad kept talking to me about what a great opportunity Engineering was especially as a woman. So, I decided to take some classes at my local Community College. It was there that I met my future husband. He had been at the Naval Academy, but decided it wasn’t right for him. Not only that, but the class that we met in was the only class that he was taking at the Community College. It was a class he had tried to pass a couple of times at the State College he was attending, but couldn’t. Talk about timing… God arranged all of that, so that we would meet in that ONE class. We have been together ever since. We started out as friends and then on the way home from our first date he told me “all I want to do is make you happy”. And he has! I cant imagine my life without him. We have been married for 18 wonderful years and have two beautiful girls. Two years after our wedding I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Life has been full of ups and downs since then, especially health-wise for me. Through it all my husband has never once complained or treated me badly. God has been so good to me…He knew what I would need in my life and provided it. I thank Him every day for all the blessings He has provided. I’m sure He isn’t finished surprising me yet…I hope not anyway. 😀
I guess it’s nice to know God provides for some people.
Sometimes these stories can make people think or delude themselves into thinking God will do the same for them. Leg me just tell you HE WON’T. Some people are just lucky or for whatever reason god favors them, that is not His way with all creation. Some single mothers never find LOVE some homeless believers will never be ok.
I wish that I could give you a great big hug right now. I’ll pray for you instead….mostly for you to have hope.
So many examples of God’s gracious care for us! Laura, your comment brought me back to an earlier time in my life. A time when I struggled with so many seemingly unanswered prayers. If I had your honesty at that time, I would have posted the exact same thing. What amazes me, is that I now have many, many stories of God’s loving care. I found that often his love and graces are seen over time, even decades! Hang in there – God is very fond of You, even though it might not seem like it in the least right now. It is my hope and prayer, that like me – you will be showered with his favor and with good things over the years. He says, For I know the plans I have for you, to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future!
Kristen Strong says
Oh how you tell this story so beautifully, friend! I just adore your heart and how you see God’s hand in your everyday. xo
Abigail Snyder says
Reading through all of the comments leaves me smiling. No, just grinning. From ear-to-ear grinning. So many stories of love surprising people when they were least looking for it. I’d add to that if I could, but, I’m happily single right now… and the only guy I’m attracted to (and was quite surprised by, if I’m honest) is not a Christian, so that just isn’t going to happen. 😉 No big deal! Oh yeah, surprised by God. Bunny trail… shoot the bunny… Yeah. ADD. A little. Okay, maybe a lot.
I live in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 9 months ago, I didn’t know where Tanzania was on the map, besides that it was probably in Africa somewhere. Now, I’ve been here for almost four months and sincerely believe that I was born to live in Dar. The entire story is long and a beautiful web of surprise after surprise as God led me here (without me even knowing it for most of the journey). The short version is that after a short-term mission trip in 2010, I wanted to return to Papua New Guinea as a teacher once I finished university. In 2011, I finished university and started the application process. I was going to PNG to be a teacher in a school for missionary kids. I couldn’t raise the money, despite believing firmly that God was leading me to PNG and that God always provides for His will to be accomplished. In December of 2012, I got a call that there was a school in Tanzania who needed an English teacher. By February, I was accepted at the school and getting my visa paperwork completed. June 24th, I left Chicago en route to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The rest, they say, is history. I never dreamed about going to East Africa. But I couldn’t have dreamed about this place. Its beautiful. And perfect. And I’m not just teaching missionary kids, but I’m teaching Tanzanians and expats and missionary kids… and I love it. God is so good. (The whole story is scattered across my blog… feel free to contact me there if you want the whole thing… I love telling how God brought me here because it was so totally a God-thing!).
Beth Williams says
God continues to surprise me daily. First almost 10.5 years ago with a wonderful hubby, then a great small church filled with loving people. He has also helped my dad to get re-baptized. It never ceases to amaze me how God works in our lives.
I call daily little happenings God things–making the light, having my road reopened, getting a good parking spot.
Thanks for the wonderful story!
Jessica C says
I really loved this post. God IS in the business of surprises. The other day, I got a text from a friend. We had discussed this pro-life organization that I’m a part of, and she mentioned about someone she knows that was facing an unplanned pregnancy herself, and that she needed to bring her to a doctor. I gave my friend the organization’s number and location address. Wow! What an amazing experience that was. To other people it would seem like NO BIG DEAL, but God’s been allowing me to participate in the organization that stands for life that I mentioned above, and being able to actually help an actual person was such a privilege!! God is so awesome. I’d been feeling down spiritually, but God lifted me up with that little gift of helping someone…