You know how some people love the thrill of being surprised? They love surprise parties. They would love to show up at work today and be told they are actually going on a surprise vacation and be whisked from their desk to paradise in just a few hours.
They would love to have one of those makeover shows show up at their house with a film crew and be told they’re getting a whole new wardrobe.
Surprises feel thrilling to them. Like the thrill some people get when a roller coaster ride you thought was over suddenly takes off again and starts doing upside down loops. They throw their hands in the air and embrace the thrill of the unknown.
They call that fun.
I love a good birthday party. But I don’t want it to be a surprise.
I love a good vacation. But I don’t want it to be planned for me.
I love winning stuff and would freely accept a gift certificate for a new wardrobe. But I don’t want all the clothes to be picked out for me.
I like (not love) a roller coaster. I don’t mind when it finally crests the lift hill and then careens downward like the bottom just fell out of the world. But I don’t want it to take unexpected twists and turns.
This dislike of surprises can usually be managed with all the things I mentioned.
My friends know not to throw me a surprise party. No one is looking to give me a surprise vacation or new wardrobe. And before getting on a roller coaster, I thoroughly check it out and know its patterned route.
But life is different.
Life twists and turns and throws loops into those places we think will be flat and smooth. Because that’s what life does. Sometimes it all just catches us off guard.
And at the end of the day, I guess that’s why I don’t like to be surprised. I can’t stand to get caught off guard. It makes me feel exposed and afraid.
But slowly, I’m learning it’s not all bad to be a little exposed and afraid.
That vulnerable place reminds us we have needs beyond what we manage. It reminds us we need God. Desperately. Completely.
And into that gap between what we can manage on our own and what we can’t, that’s right where faith steps in and has the opportunity to find deep roots. Roots that dig down and break up previously unearthed places within us.
My faith doesn’t just need to grow big, it needs to grow deep. Yes, I need deep faith roots.
Deep roots anchor us when surprises blow like strong unruly winds.
Deep roots hold us steady during the next storm that didn’t show up on the radar.
Deep roots find nourishment when the surface gets awfully dry.
Deep roots allow for growth not previously possible.
Deep roots yield rich fruit.
So, I’m learning to not be so afraid of what might be around the next corner. Even if it does catch me off guard. I close my eyes and whisper… “deeper still.”
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit,” (Jeremiah 17: 7-8 ESV).
The staff at Proverbs 31 Ministries will be taking time this Memorial weekend to pray for the families in Oklahoma who were impacted by the recent tornado. In the comments below, feel free to leave your prayer request for our team; or you can share your prayer for these families.
I can see another book in the works! (-:
Thank you Lysa, my prayers are with you and your team as well as those in OK. This blog helped me to understand why I don’t like surprises either. I don’t like to be out of control of anything. God is teaching me his is the one in Control and that I need to Trust him completely. Trust is a very hard thing for me. Not such a wonderful past. In our Ladies Evening Bible Study at my church we just finished your book, “Being more than just a good Bible Study Girl” I never expected to get so much out of it. I loved it. Thank you for writing it. I also just completed reading Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I can totally relate to the main character Angel. I feel i am on the road to a major recovery. Again Thank you.
We are praying of Oklahoma up in Minnesota!
I can totally relate w you! My family is on kind of a roller coaster w my mother. She is 80 yrs young and has been battling scarred lungs due to an over dose of antibiotics, which then lowered her resistance and she developed pneumonia and has been on this roller coaster for almost 2 yrs. She has always battled anxiety and coupled w sickness which has zapped all of her strength, she is losing the battle… I would so appreciate prayer for my “new believer” mom, Joann. She really needs God’s peace that passes understanding and His healing touch on her body. I would love to see her really KNOW Him as her peace and Healer. Blessings on you all!!
Amen to all of that!
Thank you so much, that is just what I needed to hear this morning.
I also don’t like surprises, even good ones cause me to feel out of control.
I love the reminder to close my eyes & ask God to grow my faith deeper.
You are a blessing….
Keep up the good work!
Please pray for my husband and I as we take a vacation together, just the two of us, the kids are grown. We need an “new beginning.” We have had so many problems and need a new spark in our marriage. thank you for praying for us!
Thank you for your post!!! Todays was really in season for my heart and soul. god is in process of leading me out to???? I fearful…your post really helped my heart. May I print out a copy please? What is your policy?
thank you (:)0 tidbit4Jesus Virginia Stewart
I would just like to start with saying thank you for praying for Oklahoma tornado victims. All I can do as I watch this happening so close to home is pray. I am very proud to say that I have lived in Oklahoma my whole life. I live about 1.5 hr south of Moore. I know a lot of people that live in Moore. My daughters best friend just recently moved there. They are safe. They did not lose their house, but they know people that did. My Sunday School’s teacher daughter was one of the many that lost her home. Her kids attended Tower Plaza school. Praise God they are safe. This young woman I am speaking of has been through so much this past year and a half. She lost her mother in Nov 2011, May 2012 she lost her husband in a car accident, and now she has lost her home. Her kids are safe, though. That house and belongings can be replaced. She will come through this. Her foundation and trust is in God. I know there are many more stories similar to hers but I just ask as you pray for these victims remember her. Remember those that have lost their children and other loved ones. Remember the rescuers. They are truly amazing people to have the strength to do what they do. Again thank you for taking the time to pray and lift them all up in prayer to God.
What do you pray for when you just don’t know what to pray? My marriage is failing, my kids are always arguing and NOT being kind to each other (they go to a Christian school for crying out loud)!! I feel unloved and unnoticed and unappreciated and unfriendly. I have many acquaintances but no friends…..not even the man that I married 15 years ago. So, I don’t know what to ask you to pray for me, but maybe that tells you a little about where I am. Thank you for caring….
1 Peter 3:1-6, James 4:1-5, Philippians 4, Read these, pray over them, meditate on them, ask God to help you. That is where it begins, in your own heart, with your relationship with God.
Amy I have been where you are and still climbing out with the Lord’s help. Praise God there are no kids at home. The only true friend I have is Christ, which in itself is good. After being in my church for almost 3 years, I have finally begun to get to know a few ladies a little better but not enough to have deeply personal conversations. For me real prayer started with sitting in a corner, crying and praying Lord I can’t do this anymore. Search my heart and change me. Point out all of those things about myself that I need to change. I even prayed for him to take me home, but he seems to still have purpose for me and you, we just aren’t sure what that purpose is. Pray through scripture that speaks to you about how you are feeling. Pray for the cashier at the McDonald’s drive through, pray for missionaries, pray for the children and women who are sold into human slavery everyday. Soon I forgot about myself and started concentrating on others.
We must work on us first. Ask everyday to search your heart, point out any unrecognized sin, repent of it and ask to be used in anyway that the Lord sees fit.
Don’t worry about the husband, but pray for him. He is God’s work. The kids of course are a different story. Portray to them a loving atmosphere. Not everything can be taught at any school. We have a wonderful God, find joy in that, concentrate on that, read scripture faithfully, read it to the kids even if it is only a verse or two. Have family prayer time even if your husband doesn’t join in. Pray each time you are feeling low even if it is every few minutes and that will turn to every 15 minutes then 30 and before you know it God has seen fit to allow you an entire hour of happiness in Him.
The husband I have found is the hardest part and I finally had to say he is all yours God. This is completely out of my hands. I am filing for a Legal Separation as I feel it was my only option left. If that doesn’t wake him up, then he will have chosen his path and I must go mine. I am not in anyway suggesting that you take this route. No Mam, I pray that as you grow stronger in Christ that he will see the change and be more attracted to you than ever. I am praying for you.
I’m sorry you are having a tough time right now. Please know I am thinking of you, and praying for you. God hears our prayers even when we don’t know the words to say, and the Holy Spirit intercedes for us. I have felt every one of those emotions you described at times. Even though I don’t know you, you have a friend in me!! 🙂
I can relate to your struggles too. My husband left me and our 4 kids last summer. I know your pain. God knows our pain. Jesus felt rejection and knows our pain. It is so difficult to trust. But we have to. You are not alone. 🙁 Sorry for your pain.
I have been where you are and will pray for you! Yes, praying for your husband is a great tool! Your heart softens and You begin to see sides that may have been hidden to you or by you.
I read another post a while back and thought it was helpful! A mom was on the brink of leaving and was asked by her mom to write a list of all the things that made her husband hard to live with, then when she expected to be asked to write his good points, was surprised when she was asked to write how she reacted to those “hard to live with” things and was convicted by how she treats him even subtlety. I’m not saying this is you but it can help you see a different perspective as well as changing only what you can (as another post noted) which is you, if need be.
I have 12y, 8yr and 5yr old girls who seem to argue constantly. (christian school too!) I try to point out the times they get along so they see it IS possible. We started reading a few posts from “busy mom”, “positive parenting solutions”, “proverbs 31-Lysa T” and “Jesus calling” out Loud to get conversations going. It helps! They balked at first, but now they just know that’s what we do every morning to start our day! Love to you today!
It is a work in progress and I’m still struggling, but I have days where I see the hope of a better future!
I fully understand. I am in a separation right now in hopes of reconciliation, I have gone through those emitions. I read a book by Stasi Eldredge called Captivating. Good readindiscouragement
Amy, I too have been in a situation similar to yours. I am still dealing with the truth that I have a lot of acquaintances but no true friends in the town I live in. It can be very difficult because I find my heart is very heavy when I am so lonely. My first marriage ended in Divorce because my husband was physically abusive to my children. I couldn’t stop the violence in my home and it caused my to go into a very severe depression. I was in and out of the hospital for years and my ex husband got custody of my children. That broke my heart and gave me a resolve that with God’s help I would get them back. A wonderful man came into my life during this time and although he was not a Christian, I married him. It was one of the best things I have ever done. Together we were able to regain full custody of my children and he helped raise them. About nine years after our marriage he came to know Christ as his Saviour. I lost several close friends a few years ago to death and it has been really hard to open my heart to new friendships. I fear losing the people I love the most. As for your children’s behavior, all kids go thru periods of fighting. They just need gentile reminders that God wants us to love each other, and to treat each other with the respect that they want to be treated with. I will pray for you Amy. If you would like an online friend, please email me. Put in the subject line prayers for Amy, just so I don’t miss it. I get so much junk email. God Bless you and your family.
Our Heavenly Father,
Hear our prayers, Oh Lord. Our hearts are heavy and our minds are dismayed by the tragic events that have occurred this week. Our eyes have seen the images and our ears have heard the news accounts. And we are overwhelmed at the loss of precious lives and with the vast devastation. Hear our prayers, Oh Lord. Give us the right words to say that will only bring Honor and Glory to your name. Surround all who have been affected with your presence and give to them your Comfort, Peace and Hope. Hear our prayers, Oh Lord. And give us wisdom, knowledge and compassion as we strive to do your will. Hear our prayers, Oh Lord. Amen.
Please pray for our church here in Tallahassee. The senior pastor and youth director have resigned, the elders have resigned, and the congregation is on the verge of splitting. Please lift us up in prayer.
I’d like to thank our great God for keeping my son and his family safe, they live in Moore. Praying for all those who’ve suffered loss.
I went to bed Monday night feeling guilty….guilty for having a sound home, and a
nice soft bed. Guilty for knowing that my children and grandchildren were safe.
My husband and I prayed together for those in Moore, OK. God please comfort
them as only you can, and give them strength, through faith.
Please pray for Oklahoma. I tend to struggle with worry and fear. This post speaks directly to change that inevitably happens in life. My worry is always surround a tragic event happening in my life (like a tornado, or death, or suffering). I needed to hear this post and be reminded that I need to accept the surprises in my life and stand in the shadow of God. I need to surrender my family to Him and know that He has us no matter what happens.
my prayer is for our dear Lord to be with the people in Moore, to help them feel His presence in what they are dealing with now … to feel the prayers that are being lifted up for them …. just seeing what they are dealing with is overwhelming, i cannot even begin to know how they are feeling … i trust the Lord will send who and what they need at this time…. thank you for your devotions and I hope they will be able to see todays for sure! I pray their roots will sink deep and they will hold fast to their faith!
You are speaking my heart about surprises. I even hated that our engagement was a surprise! ha! I need to welcome surprises from the Lord and know that His planning is better than mine anyway.
Please pray for our pastor. He has been treating for cancer for quite some time now but he is currently undergoing complications from his treatment. He has an infection and ulcers in his mouth and throat and has been unable to eat for days. He is very weak due to a 17 pound loss in a 3 week period. Through all of his treatment he has had such a positive attitude and wonderful look on life. While in the hospital he still finds time to pray for and with other patients that are going through similar situations as him. My prayers and thoughts will be with him and his family and hopefully we will see him back at church in the weeks or months to come.
Dear Lysa, Your messages always come at the right time they address the issues I am struggling with just as this one did…”I need to dig deeper into the heart of Jesus” Unlike you I do enjoy surprises but the last one I received made my heart cry out to Jesus to send His help to me and the sender.. God knows our needs and knows all about our hurts. I pray He will bring beauty amongst the rubble in Oklahoma and for all who are crying out for help to see the Hand of God working one miracle after another through the hands of those who reach out in His Holy Name. “By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8 (TNIV)… Blessings and love to you as you serve our Risen Lord and Savior..Carolyn
I can’t even think of the words, it makes me so sad. I am so grateful for the promise in Romans 8:26- that He intercedes when I don’t know what to say.
Please pray for my marriage we are currently separated but I desire to repair what is broken.
I pray Zephaniah 3:17 over the Oklahoma victims. I am thankful to know that God is in their midst, mighty to save. I pray that He will rejoice with those who lost homes, but have their family and friends. I pray that He will quite with His love all of those that are grieving for lost loved ones and healing from injuries. I pray that His presence will be felt.
My heart breaks for mommys and daddys that have lost their babies in the schools, homes etc. I join faith with you all to pray that the Lord will comfort all the families that lost loved ones in this Tornadoe. and I pray for all those in Joplin, Missouri that two years later are still grieving or dealing with hurt from loosing loved ones in that tornadoe that occured two years ago. That all these families would find comfort and peace from our Lord.
What perfect timing your post was, Lysa! A sweet, precious couple from our church has been expecting a precious baby boy. The mom was induced yesterday, but their sweet baby was born with no heartbeat. I cannot imagine what this poor couple is going through! Please pray for Randy and Laura.
All of these prayers are so beautiful. I’m thankful God hears our prayers & cries to Him. When watching Brian Williams on the national news last night he made the statement that a big part of the country did not or could not understand the way of life in Moore OK. Person after person interviewed gave glory to God & were thankful, even with the loss of all they owned. As much as it grieves our hearts, and I can’t imagine what they are going through, I pray the outpouring of love for each other & for our Lord will reach every corner of the US & beyond. I pray also for His hand to deliver concerning several issues heavy on my heart. Thank you Lysa & Proverbs 31 team for your love for others! Cindy
My heart is shrink..as a mother, as a sister, as a women, as human being, i was passing a couple of tragedies in my life, those tragedies are man made tragedies, men evil minds tragedies that cost me many fears through my adult life, after i saw the news, after i saw many interviews included the parent of a beautiful girl who died inside of her school i saw a Land with grief, but i feel peace..resignation of the events but many many Oklahoma people are fulfillment of the Grace of God , i saw people with an Holly obedience, a love for each other, a respect of God’s will, i have a prayer request for all of us who are following the news to watch very close to what God is telling us through His People.
Please pray for our daughter who has been rebelling against The Lord for over 3 years. He has been trying to get her attention and she hasn’t seen it yet. She is facing even bigger trials right now from her decisions. Pray that she will rediscover God and all the things he has for her…our family loves her so much and we are looking to The Lord for our strength in these trials and He is good…all the time!
My prayers are certainly with all the families in Oklahoma; but in my own office this morning a young lady six months pregnant learned of her baby’s death. No matter if taken by storm or other freak incidences, these losses are devestating and so very hard to bear . . . please be in prayer for her and her familiy; but also pray for me as I reach out to her, you see I lost a child at 32 weeks along in my pregnancy many years ago . . . of course I feel a connection to her as I do to all parents who lose infants; and I know that the words you speak about roots running deep is true. My prayer is that God will be able to help her see His love and feel His comfort. I am offering myself only as a tool should it be the tool He decides to use. Thank you.
Thank you Lysa. I just told Father God, yesterday how afraid I am of the unknown. I am so grateful He lead me to you. I’ve only been following you since the beginning of this year but I think you are AWESOME! Thanks again, for that timely message. I took notes and will re-read again and again. 🙂
Thank you for prayerful post. I work at The House FM Christian Radio station that covers the Oklahoma City & Moore, OK areas. God is using his people to bring healing and hope to the Moore community, but also those on the “fringe” of the storm are seeing God’s hope too. That’s awesome! God binds our hearts together in the shadows of a Monday storm to loose His power in the aftermath. I think someone needs to call for clean up on aisle 9 now.
My 7month old daughter has a blood disease called Beta Thalasemia Intermedia(at least that is the preliminary diagnosis, still waiting on final results). I would like someone to pray healing over her. Her name is Amelie Faith.
Also, I love Jesus and on some level I know he loves me, but I am having a bit of an identity crisis, a grace crisis really. I am having a hard time giving and receiving Grace. My heart is hurting and I don’t know how to deal with the pain. I’m not suicidal, just trying to seek healing from wounds that I have recently found were in my heart. Please pray for revelation of God’s great love and grace over me.
I am praying Ephesians 3:18-19 for you. I am praying for you to have the power to grasp God’s love for you. I pray for you to being to understand the width, length, height and depth of His love. You can’t make God love you any more or any less…His love for you is unconditional and does not change! And I lift up your precious daughter. I pray for healing for her! And I pray for God to heal your broken places!
Sweet Crystal… boy do I understand your pain. Have you listened to the mother’s day message I posted last week. The link is still there. It’s all about my struggle with tying my identity to wrong things and my own grace journey. I pray it blesses you.
Praying for the Proverbs team and Oaklahoma. Praise God for all those who are helping in this disaster and praying that God will continue to provide what is needed. As I cry for all those who have been affected by the storm, my comfort is Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God. ” Thank you Father God for answered prayers; for holding us in the palm of you hand and for being our Comforter, Healer and Provider!
My mom has ALS. Please pray that God will heal her. The dr. Can do nothing for her. I refute to give up. I am praying God will fully stop this ugly illness and give us more time with her. I am also praying that when it is her time that God will not let her suffer a slow death that ALS is. Healing and mercy oh God!
Lysa, I too hate surprises. You’re message flipped a switch in my mind….this IS an opportunity to trust God!
The tragedy in OK is yet another reminder of the battle raging. As with many of the recent horrific events, I pray to discern good and evil. Pray that we all may trust, find comfort in knowing Jesus is weeping with us and he has a perfect plan to end all of this heartache. God wins in the end!! Praise God! We have hope! Jesus told us that forces may destroy our flesh, but Faith, Hope, Love….those things untouchable will remain.
Oh how the Lord encourages us through other believers, and sharing. This week we have had a different kind of storm roll in. Our house is still standing, and from the outside, no one would know there was heartache inside. It came as a surprise to our lives. A thunderous one. Yes, one that feels the bottom has dropped out for a short time till we can pick our selves up again, as we lean on the Lord. Our daughter found out she is pregnant. Her and her boyfriend have been attending Bible School, and there are many decisions to make. Actually plans for a wedding have begun, in this whirlwind. We would appreciate prayer for both families as this all unfolds, especially in the public eye, and the Christian community they are in. Gods Word has been our Rock, Comfort, and Strength, so any verses sent our way will be a treasure. We haven’t told any family or friends yet, so thanks for being there. (Kinda easier like this first.) This storm will pass, Gods peace and calm will come, and we will look back and be assured of His Faithfulness.
I need prayer please. I have had several rough years. I was divorced almost .2 years ago and that wad hard. God.got.me thru. Provided all the overtime I could work to catch up.and.keep.my home. Other stuff.as well bancruptcy, then losing my vehicle. All.tests. Monday I was fired.from my job. I need God. I need guidance and wisdom. I’ve made mistakes but I realize I truly need and love the.Lord Jesus Christ.
I need prayer please. I love the Lord Jesus. I have been through so much in the past 2 years. Divorce, bancruptcy, then I got fired Monday. My hope is in the Lord. I need guidance and wisdom.
I pray sincerely for those going through tragedies. Oklahoma and others that you would hold onto.God even when you don’t know how to pray..Lord watch over them and heal them. Most importantly there are lost people going through these tragedies…may the see your presence and have the death.burial and ressurection of our precious Lord shared with them. In Jesus Name. Amen
Dear Heavenly Father, When I think of all that went on and is still going on in Oklahoma, my heart feels saddened. But I also get chill bumps. For I know that you are in control. I pray that the families and victims there and all around the world know the same. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
I need prayer desperately, but not like the folks in Oklahoma. I pray, Father, that your hand of love and compassion be on those that lost loved ones, property, hope, faith, etc. you are God and sovereign, and you also promise to bring good out of bad for those who love You. May this tragedy bring glory to Your name!
For me: I’ve been with Jesus for 30+ years and am questioning my faith. My passion is dry and I feel like I’m just going through the motions. Life seems dull and I’m anxious about this and my salvation all the time. This isn’t how a Christian should be living or thinking. Please pray for me…
Praying for the people in Oklahoma…and would you please pray for healing for me…and salvation for loved ones? Thank you!
Thank you for this timely post. The Lord is my deep well that I draw from. Continuing to stretch my roots towards him and bear fruit for him.
We also want to continue to pray for our military service men & women and their families.
I am finishing up Unglued with my small group, and I just wanted to say thank you so much for your book and your heart for this ministry. I have been incredibly blessed by reading Unglued! God has seriously spoken into my life through this study. My children and my husband thank you!! 😉
Thank you for being so vulnerable and open, I feel like we are besties. 😉 It’s very comforting reading your words and knowing that other women of God struggle with these “freak out women” issues.
I am so thankful for your words like “imperfect progress” and being able to see when I’m exploding, stuffing or negative chattering. Its all so good, I’m so blessed by this wisdom!!!
I love that through Christ’s amazing grace and wisdom that we can have growth and victory even in an emotional struggle like being Unglued.
Thank you so much for sharing your heart! Thank you!! Xo
I discovered you through Ann’s place today, and I felt my eyes well up with tears. so blessed I am to have found you and heard your voice.
intense prayers for the Oklahoma broken and the hands and feet healers.
Pray I get back to my old self. Free of pain and nausea free of meds. Be a part of my families daily activities.