Small surprises from a sovereign God (and Patrick).

My life has been full of pleasant surprises and reminders from God, as well as one from Patrick (which can be a throw back to God, as well).

For Valentine’s Day and coming back after interviews, Patrick has a surprise for me.  A guitar.  Yes… This sounds like a crazy gift… But, Patrick is ridiculously romantic and I have been on the prowl for one for years.  You see, I always wanted to learn and never really had the time or instrument.  Now I have a bit more time and an instrument.  Apparently my face lit up like my face has not lit up before (at least not for a long time).  Apparently, he searched online and asked friends and got me a legitimately good guitar with a learn-to-play DVD.  My fingers are sore, but I feel like I am getting somewhere!

My new buddy and I. We make beautiful noise together.

This morning, on our way out to run errands, I opened the door to the porch and then screamed bloody murder.  Thankfully, it was not an earwig.  But a cat.  A pretty, fluffy white cat.  I am not scared of cats.  I am scared of live beings in my porch that I do not anticipate.  Apparently the landlord came in to grab a tool and didn’t close the door all the way.  And this cat got in.  Well, Patrick was overjoyed.  He loves cats more than people sometimes.  We can’t have pets here.  But it was super cute.  She was way too clean looking to be a stray.  So, sadly we had to put her back outside… In the rain.  Poor kitty.  Patrick took his good old time taking her out, though.  A lot of pats and cuddles for him.  I was more scared she would attack us.

This cat looks very similar to the one hiding in our porch this morning. Image from terrybitner.com

After parting ways with the cat, I noticed our mailbox was open.  Now, I am at an all out mental war with the mail man (please note, I am the only one having this war because he has no reason to believe the war even exists).  He leaves our mailbox open with mail in it.  Then, the rain and roof drips get in and our mail gets all soggy.  Ugh.  Clearly, he should know the angry vibes I send.   Anyway, there is a single letter.  From the school district!  Its Patrick’s first real teacher pay cheque.  He has finally had a few substitute days and thus he finally gets a teacher’s salary type payment.  This cheque was only for his first two-hour day…  He made more in those two hours than I make in two weeks as a clerk and almost as much as he makes in two days at the Y.  Wowzers!

Patrick and his big money. Yes, I altered the image so that crazy internet stalkers can't steal his identity. Point: Me.

Surprises are great.  Especially when they aren’t bad things like earwigs or moldy food.

The surprises I have been getting lately make me grateful for what I have and what I have gained (well, except the cat).  I am thankful that we have enough money that a surprise like a guitar is possible.  I am thankful that I have the musical ability and time (well, sort of) to learn to play the guitar, so that I can one day use it in worship and in relaxation.  I am thankful that Patrick will get the odd teacher cheque, as that will make a huge difference both to our finances and to our giving.  I think that how we live now will impact our gratitude in the future for what we will one day have.

A bigger lesson from these surprises is the sovereignty of God.  He really is in control of all things and takes care of us.

You see, the guitar thing has been something on my mind for a while.  I am too fiscally prudent (cheap) to purchase one on my own.  I have been missing playing music as much as I once did and was yearning to undertake something new.  Patrick knew this and got the guitar.  Sure, it is my smart spouse who made it all happen…. But working out the sales so that it is possible, as well as the timing… God.

A better example would be the whole teacher thing.  First of all, Patrick getting a substitute teaching day is pretty huge.  We have been here for three years together and he was on the list for over a year before receiving a single call (and not for lack of trying).  He had two calls in a week.  Before this happened, he was starting to be very discouraged and wondering if teaching was what he really should be doing in life.  Then the calls came.  And he did well.  A pleasant confirmation.  Plus, despite not teaching in the purest sense, Patrick has had opportunities to work for an after-school program, do supervised access work and help run our church’s wonder ministry.  If he was teaching full time, maybe he wouldn’t have had those chances… Or maybe those opportunities have made him a better teacher.  I think that this is all preparation for things to come.

Along with the teacher thing is the pay cheque thing.  It is not a lot of money.  But, aside from my line of credit, we are not making a lot of money.  By global standards we are rich and very blessed.  I am not complaining about having too little.  I am just being grateful for the bit more.  Especially given one of my student loan cheques got lost in the mail and I have had to do so much travelling this year.  Something as small and simple as this extra money will be able to put a bit more on his student loan or my line of credit. We were talking in the car about how cool it is to have a bit more to tithe this week.  And I was worried about our budget last night.

The cat… Well, how is that a sign of God’s sovereignty?  As I said, Patrick loves cats.  Today, the after school program for which he is the site leader is having an external reviewer come to assess the program.  He is stressed out.  He was up late doing paperwork and has been rehashing possible scenarios in his head.  So, he needed a break.  Something to clear his head.  And then there was a cat.  I am pretty sure I could have left and did the errands and come back and he still would have been in the porch with the cat.  It was just the thing he needed.

These surprises aren’t big.  They aren’t of the thunderbolt from the sky and blatant divine intervention categories.  They are little things that mean a lot and happen at just the right moments.  Some people may argue they are just coincidence.  But when enough of these things happen.  If you take time to listen and to pray… They aren’t.  Just look at how Ruth got from where she was to where she went and what became of that.  These are the things that keep me trusting and help me to know that someone is looking out for us, whether it is a random cat or a cheque for $86 that helps me to know we will be okay in the future.

The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.  -Proverbs 16:4

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.  -Romans 8:28

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