Out of the blue: from an unexpected or unseen source; at a completely unexpected time
We have all had situations hit us ‘out of the blue’! Some are pleasant like getting a bonus or a promotion we didn’t see coming. Maybe some as thrilling as attending a casual gathering and meeting the person you’re destined to marry! However, some fall on the other end of the spectrum—like this past week when we lost my brother-in-law to an unexpected heart attack. Some of us have felt the sudden and gut wrenching pain of losing a job, losing a child or finding out you have a health issue that can’t be cured with the apple that is supposed to keep the doctor away. One leaves you elated while the other leaves you devastated. Both come ‘out of the blue’, but each produces a completely different reaction. Interestingly enough, one doesn’t have to choose that emotion either. It comes quite naturally.
However, I’d like to tackle the ‘out of the blue’ opportunities that come unexpectedly and leave us with a CHOICE on how we will react. The kind, that if we aren’t careful, come and go before we even realize we have ‘a dog in the fight’! (Now that’s some good ole East Texas slang there, right? Ha!) Truthfully though, opportunities that we aren’t expecting come every day—opportunities where God is allowing us to be a part of a greater plan to bring joy, encouragement and comfort to those in our paths.
With that thought in mind, I’d love for you to read this story that was sent to me last week by a friend I haven’t seen in years. When Linda shared this with me, she had no idea what I was writing about this week. But the timing of hearing from her couldn’t have been better and I love how the Lord used it to confirm I was on the right track. Take a look and we’ll catch up on the other end of it when you are done:)
So, I am in a Walmart store near the town I currently live in. I have purchased some items for my upcoming trip to Hawaii to visit my son.
I was waiting in line to pay for my purchases, when I heard a small voice behind me say “Mom, why can’t I have what that lady has in her cart?” His mother replies, “Jack, you know how you are when you eat sugar, and you have your leg in a cast!” The boy then asks me why I have some other purchases, and I tell him that I am going to visit my son in Hawaii. He replies, “Mom, I have always wanted to go to Hawaii”!
We start to speak back and forth about Hawaii. The mother and son paid for their purchases and started to move out of the aisle. I am still paying, and I asked the young man if his mother would give me his address because I would like to send him a special gift from Hawaii. He yelled very loudly, “Mom give the lady my address!” She said she would and she asked me for my cell phone number. They left the store, and as I was walking towards the exit, my phone dings! I look down and there was the boy’s address. I kept on walking and the phone indicated I had another message. I glanced down to read the message: “God Bless you on your travels.”
While on the Island, I sent Jack a big box of all Hawaii has to offer. By the time I got back home to Texas, there was a box waiting for me at the post office. It was from my new friend Jack. When I opened the box there was a letter from him to me. It touched my heart so much, that I framed the letter and put it on my nightstand. In the letter he thanked me for the gift box, and then went on to say how very much he wanted to go to Hawaii, that it had always been his dream. Then he added, that by meeting me, ‘I had inspired him to work hard in school so he could get a good job when he graduated, so that he could take his parents to Hawaii’.
Two more trips have come and gone to visit my son, and each time I send Hawaii memorabilia to my new friend. This last trip in March, I traveled back with a Ukulele especially for Jack.
I drove to the town he lives in to present him with his gift. He was so excited and emphatically determined he was going to learn how to play the Ukulele and sing me a song! His mother took a picture of Jack and myself. We hugged each other real tight. And, then he asked me when my birthday was so that he could give me a gift as well. I told him, to me, our friendship was the gift and that it was priceless because it came from the heart…And a gift from the heart was ALWAYS the most precious thing you could give someone.
We now write cards and letters back and forth to each other. Who would’ve thought by just speaking with someone in line at a store, that you would find a blessing such as this and a forever friend, even though the friend is 12 going on 13 —and of all things, worried how old he is getting!! I didn’t dare pass my age number on or he probably would’ve fainted. (LOL)
Wow!!! That was an ‘out of the blue’ moment where a CHOICE to make eye contact, a CHOICE to engage fully and then the CHOICE to go the extra mile to bless someone had a life-changing impact not only on the recipient but the blesser as well! Why is it that in our society today, we do all we can to ensure we don’t lock eyes with anyone? We surely do not have time to go out of our way for someone …oh, and for sure, we don’t set ourselves up to then be accountable for a promise we may not want to follow up on! But my friend, well, she saw an opportunity to bless someone and went for it! She realized in that moment she could bring light (in the form of joy) to that little child’s life. When the Lord prompted her to act, she didn’t stuff the heavenly nudge into a place where she wouldn’t have to respond. Instead, she put her energy into just how big she could go!
I hate to rock your world, but there is a scripture we should all take to heart. God doesn’t mess around with the topic of Godly promptings.
If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
The Message version states it like this:
As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such self-importance is evil. In fact, if you know the right things to do and don’t do it, that, for you is evil.
Now let me follow up with this verse from Galatians:
You were doing so well! Who prevented you from obeying the truth?
I sure hate to say it, but usually the answer to that question for me is ME! I get in my own way! I’m too busy, too rushed and too detached from anything that doesn’t benefit me personally. Is that too honest? At times, do you struggle with this too? It’s just human nature! But in this moment, I’m asking myself, why in the world I would ever wrestle with this??!! The many times that I HAVE followed through on a prompt to send a note, buy that dinner, type that text or email, or make that call, 99% of the time, the person responded with, “that was just what I needed in the moment”!! In fact, right after we moved to Longview, the Lord prompted me to buy the groceries for a mom with two young children ahead of me in line. I remember the Lord saying, “buy her groceries”. And I distinctly remember saying back to him, “Lord! No! She is going to get offended! She is going to think…bla bla bla bla bla!” You know the things that go through our heads! But in that moment, the prompting was so strong, I couldn’t help but act! I looked her straight in the eye and said, “Ma’am, can I please buy your groceries? I don’t want you to think I’m weird, but God told me to do it and I’m scared to not follow through on what He’s asked me to do! Would that be ok?” I kind of started laughing nervously…But y’all, she looked at me with this shocked look and started crying and thanked me over and over again. Her daughter was standing underneath her—arms around her legs— looking up at her. All of the sudden, she let go and ran over to me and started hugging me and jumping up and down and saying “Thank you! Thank you!” Good gracious, I thought I was going to lose it! They got their groceries together and thanked me again one last time as they were leaving. As they walked away, next thing you know the checker ran around from behind her register and started hugging me and crying! She said, “I can’t believe you did that! She shops here a lot and has had to put things back because she didn’t have enough cash. This is just so awesome! This just made my day!” Truly, I was so moved by the experience that I wanted to get my groceries into the car and go back in and do it for someone else!
But isn’t that the way it is?? The more you bless others, the more blessed you are! The more you give to others, the more you want to give! The obvious other side to contemplate is this: what if I had ignored the prompt that came ‘out of the blue’? The mother would have missed the help; the children could have missed a nutritious meal and more importantly, they would have missed the experience of love in action. And that sweet grocery checker, well, she would not have gotten in all those extra hugs and shared tears! LOL! And me, well I would not have learned the lesson God wanted me to learn which was to be SENSITIVE AND OBEDIENT to His urging in those ‘out of the blue’ moments.
So what do you think? What if we get after it and inspire others to do the same?!! In fact, if you’ve had a moment where you followed through on an opportunity to bless someone else, share it in the comments below! We could all use some good ideas on how to spread sunshine in practical ways! Also, I’d love for you to tag me in your FB and/or Instagram stories and posts with the hashtag #outoftheblue so everyone can follow along!
We have a real opportunity here to make a difference! Let’s get a shiny shade of ‘out of the blue’ brushed onto the canvases of our communities! What do you say, friend? I’m thinking…”On your mark…get set…GET IT, GIRL!!”
Love you BIG,