Jesus Follower | Word Stringer | Avocado Eater

What the What? Didn’t See THAT Comin’

  • I cooked in my kitchen when the house phone rang. “Sharri has cancer.”
  • I sat in his Jeep when he told me we were done. “I’m loving you more than I’m loving Jesus.”
  • I stood on my college campus when I read, “You have not been selected for the position.” 
  • I walked through a Costco parking lot when he called. “Carrie? He’s gone.”
  • I soaked in a jacuzzi when I realized I was the only one not invited to a party.
  • I rode in a van when her voice shook through my cell. “She’s probably not going to make it through the evening.”

You didn’t see life comin’ either? It’s probably better that way. If God showed us all the impending bad news, some of us might tap out early.

On the flip side, if He showed us all the brewing surprises it would suck the fun out of life.


Middle Ground

And then there’s the news in the middle. Not horrific, not magnificent, just there. 

  • Someone loves you. But you don’t feel the same. 
  • You got a raise. But it was only a peso. 
  • Your closest friends are prego. But you’re not. 

You’re mostly happy… but there are strings. 

I’ve had a couple of these lately, and I’m not sure what to do with them.

Chuck Swindoll’s words about attitude ring in my ears every time I’m faced with something thorny or mystifying. The whole quote runs rich, but here’s the end for those who want a quick shot in the arm.

Even if you’ve seen it before, I challenge you to read it again… slower… more intentionally. Insert your situation and check your attitude.

“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.”


Positive DNA

Being a “glass half full” kinda girl wasn’t my choice. Since I remember no other way, I’m guessing it’s part of my DNA. Engrained in my parents and poured out through example, you’d think I’d be a 7 on the Enneagram. 

Doesn’t mean my attitude always oozes grace, optimism and hope though. On the contrary. Normal questions bubble when life catches me unaware.

Really, Lord? You want me to move to a 3rd-world country? Why?

Really, Lord? This weekend? I’m teaching two seminars with a sore throat?

Really, Lord? Right now? I’m forty-five and a half. What will people think?

My friend recently adopted a baby and accidentally did her own math. “That means I’ll be 65 when he graduates!”

Really, Lord? She feels too old. So do I. 

Wait—did you hear that? I think I heard Noah laugh. 


My Plan, Your Plan, Our Plan, His Plan

I’ll never forget listening to a friend in the ‘90s lay out her whole life plan. “I want to travel, and then get married, and then we’re going to buy a house, and then have two kids, and then….”

Something didn’t sit right. No mention of Jesus, no talk of surrender, no trust in God’s blueprint. Plus, what if something didn’t go as planned? Was disappointment around the bend? 

Had the song been invented yet, I might’ve belted out, “Jesus take the wheeel….”

So yes—I judged.

And then I turned around and inadvertently made the same dumb plan at the end of my second decade.

I think we’ll live here for 30 years, relax on our porch swing, buy a motorhome and then travel the country serving at different camps and schools. In Jesus’ name, of course.

Nothing sinful about such an itinerary, but it certainly didn’t include space for Jesus to take the RV wheel. 

It seemed logical, affordable and Christian though. Why wouldn’t God give us His stamp of approval?

Surprise, surprise… my plan didn’t exactly pan out. But that didn’t mean it turned out bad. 

  • Instead of 30 years it became 2. 
  • Instead of a porch swing it was a hammock.
  • Instead of a motorhome we lived in a 5th-wheel.
  • Instead of traveling the country we moved to a different one. 

Not bad, just different. 

The older I get the more I realize although God’s timing and plans usually seem early, late, bizarre or illogical, ’tis I who falls into those descriptions.

And then I get down the road a bit, look back and raise my eyelids. Ohhh! Okay, Lord… I see what You did there. 

And boom—faith grows.

I don’t ever recall singing about God’s faithfulness as a teenager and fully understanding the depth of it. Not in my 20s either. It didn’t start till my 30s when I lived in Baja and watched Him take us in and out of crazy situations that made no sense in our finite brains.

But last weekend, at a women’s retreat, we sang these words to the new song, The Goodness of God:

And all my life you have been faithful

And all my life you have been so, so good

With every breath that I am able

Oh, I will sing of the goodness of God

I sang with more faith than ever because I now possess more proof of God’s faithfulness than ever.


New Seasons

So far in 2019, I’ve walked into a new job, a couple new surprises, and a few new assignments.

And each time I’ve felt the nerves. And each time I’ve double-checked my deodorant. And each time I’ve forced myself to remember God’s faithfulness. 

Are you standing on the brink of something batty? Scary? Ludicrous?

I get it.




BUT… He is faithful.


So what’s new in your world? Share your surprises, and you’ll be entered to win a high five!


P.S. Happy April Fools 😄


Bahahaha! Sometimes I laugh so hard the tears run down my leg. 


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24 Responses to What the What? Didn’t See THAT Comin’

  1. I’m not sure what to think, because I had a baby just shy of my 40th birthday. Yeah, we were STUNNED. Our other kids were 12, 9, and 5. They were fabulous with him, and still are.
    That baby just turned 16, I will turn 56 soon.

    • If this were true I would be 46, and yes, I probably could have handled it fine because of people like you encouraging me along. 🙂 Happy birthday to your baby!

  2. You are so funny! I love your April Fools joke! It was a joke, wasn’t it? The responses above seem to be divided.

    In the column of “didn’t see that one coming”, we went to a memorial service yesterday for a baby born last Sunday on her due date. The young parents had everything ready for her arrival, but on the night before her day of arrival, the parents could not feel any movement. They went to the hospital and there learned that their labor and delivery would not be as they expected.

    The daddy’s sister and her husband did a candle lighting ceremony which was absolutely beautiful–5 candles representing sorrow, grief, joy, love, and hope. God and his Word were honored throughout the service. The young couple got up at the end to relay their story through their tears of love for their lost little one and their love for God. While it was a difficult service, no one sitting there could deny God. The young mother even “joked” that little Luna was the only one in the family that was ever on time! What an amazing example of attitude.

    • Haha… yes, it was a joke.
      I’m so sorry to hear about your friend’s loss. Can’t even imagine. So strong of them to get up and talk. Wow. An amazing example of attitude for sure.

  3. You totally got me too!! My hard has been accepting my disability. To quote Kathryn Wolf a Christian stroke survivor and co-author of Hope, “I never dreamed as a little girl this would be my story, but I really like my story. The fact I’m alive and able gives me such gratitude… the good and the hard are coming together” On Wednesday, I finally get to tell the judge why I can’t work, why the state is wrong and why I need disability payments. It’s been a long 18 months wait since filling for the hearing after being denied twice because I don’t fit in their tiny description boxes. I really could use your prayers. But I’ve also decided, after frantically looking for the manuscript I’d started a year ago and couldn’t find (with my husband’s gentle guidance) to just keep a journal and eventually, in the future, it’ll become my memoir. 🙂 But the biggest reveal is understanding more about my body and health from this event, that God has been protecting me this entire time. That something as simple as oral birth control, the hormones could have given me a clot. It’s eye opening and humbling. Hugs to you! BrendA

    • “The good and the hard are coming together.” Great quote, Brenda. I hope your appointment goes well and that the judge is empathetic to you and your situation. I like your husband’s idea about a journal! What a great memoir that could be. So great how you’re learning more about your health, too. Keep on pressin’ on, friend!

  4. Good one, Carrie! You got me. One of my favorite things to remember is a poster I once saw and it is now my phone “wallpaper “ (if it’s called that??). The will of God will never take you where the grace of God cant keep you. Happy spring!

  5. Congratulations Carrie & Doug and the two big brothers. What a fun and challenging blessing for your family.
    My mom and dad had three children then years later had two more daughters. Like two different families, 55 years later we still call Karen and Val “the little girls”. My youngest sister tried to explain her bad grades in high school as a result of being born to an “older mother”, yeah that didn’t get her off restriction.
    I am so excited for you and by-the-way, you are looking fabulous!

    • Thank you, Cyndee. I appreciate your kind words, but at the very end of the post I revealed that it was an April Fool’s joke. Forgive me for leading you astray! I love your youngest sister’s attempt to justify her bad grades though. Classic!

    • Well, I haven’t studied it, but I took a short test and fell dead center between 1 and 2. Are you into it?

      • About 30 years ago I read a book about the Enneagram and found I was a 1. I found it a helpful way to understand other people as well as myself. More recently my daughter has got into it and renewed my interest.

        Seems to me that you are more of a 1 than a 2, though I probably would have guess a 7.

        • Wow–30 years ago?! I just heard about it a few years ago, but then a friend said Richard Roar wrote about it in the 70s! You’re right actually… it said I’m a 1 with a 2 wing, but it also said I was hard to diagnose or pin down. Ha! The optimist in me identifies with 7s though. I have “The Road Back to You” in my Amazon queue and have heard it’s the best book to start with. Even better than taking a test.

          • Really? Cool connection! I didn’t know we could morph like that between numbers. You obviously know what you’re talking about and I obviously need to get that book! There are some people who would definitely argue with the mature comment, unless you’re just talking about the year on my driver’s license, but thanks.

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