The Surprise I Didn’t Want + the Saving Grace That Followed

© Unsplash at

© Unsplash at

Surprise. This word popped up on a podcast at 5 a.m. as I drove down the highway early Monday morning. Surprise. All I could concentrate my mind on as I sped through darkness I wondered at it’s meaning. I mean, who thinks about amazing things at that hour? And not surprisingly (because that’s how God works in my life lately), it’s the word for this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt. (The lines indicate the beginning and end of the 5-minute free write.)

Surprises are what peer through the hardness of life with grace and gifts we can’t yet see.

The Memory

The shafts of light streaming through my windshield almost eleven years ago. My daughter would be born via c-section. My first child breeched. This was not the plan. I was crushed. I pounded my fist on the steering wheel and wept for all the expectations lost. Perfection dashed. Birth plan ripped into shreds. My whole life I had gotten what I wanted. The schools, internships, the job, and with persistence, the job. Getting pregnant had been easy. But not this. This took all my natural planning, whole foods living, breathing deeply life and dashed them on the OBGYN floor. The doc was sorry.

That surprise followed with the doc trying to turn my baby through an aversion a few weeks later. She didn’t budge. She was thoroughly stubborn. Thoroughly loved.

The birth experience was worse than I ever imagined. Painful. Humiliating. Cold. Distant. And I didn’t know what to do with the story. The hurt. The pain. I had a gift of a beautiful baby, and yes, her beauty was surprising. The love I felt for her ravishing. But it got harder. The postpartum panic. The colicky sleepless nights. The lostness we felt. The surprise was the glory of God on my windshield that day.

Great Grace

That’s what I remember: how it vaulted me into a place of dependent determination on a mighty God. He didn’t let me go for one moment. Even when I didn’t feel Him. He surprised me with shafts of light through windows drawn tightly by a mother scared, on green grass where little feet toddled, through fields and across a sky tonight as I walked with my little girl ten years old now. She held my hand, surprising me with her love and allowance of my lips on her forehead in public. She is the grace of God, a story woven within mine that has been nothing short of difficult and glorious.

I remember how we were surprised at her birth to find the cord had been wrapped around her neck. What I have been saved from experiencing amazes me still as I pray over her smooth hair and kiss her once more.

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March 17, 2016