Encouragement, Featured

Still Unfolding: When You Are Struggling with the Unexpected

They are at it again.  They are showing off.  These peonies at my mailbox that I wrote about a few years ago, when I was struggling with the unexpected.

Just look at them!  Every year they catch my breath with their beauty.  This color I wasn’t expecting.

I actually have no idea where I got these peonies.  I only remember buying red peonies.  But these flowers are not red.  They are a gorgeous magenta.

And they remind me every year of the shift that occurred in me a few years ago, as these buds formed and opened for the first time, revealing their true color.  I expected red.  They unfolded in this amazing pink-purple.

Life, it hasn’t unfolded the way I thought or expected.  And that can be a hard place, when you are grieving the loss of expectations, hopes and dreams.  I used to ask God, “What are you doing?” from a place of turmoil and tears.  I spent many years there, in turmoil and tears, as hope and expectation, one after another, were broken.

Sometimes I still ask this question from this place.  And the grieving is necessary.  It is only when you grieve what you thought would be that you can then open yourself up to what is becoming.  And this is where the shift occurs! You can then ask this question, “God, what are you doing?” from a place of anticipation, wonder and awe.

The Lord, he is unfolding each one of us.  He is doing something completely unexpected and new. God is all about doing new!  It’s His thing.

See, I am doing a new thing
 Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
Isaiah 43:19

I wrote a poem a few years ago that marked this shift in me.  I offer it to you with the prayer and hope that even as I stand in wonder, watching this unexpected beauty and color unfold next to my mailbox, you might also stand with God in wonder at the unexpected beauty and color, form and shape your life is taking.   It’s probably not be what you thought or expected, and it has probably taken you through dark valleys of grief and loss, and wilderness places of letting go, because friends, that’s life in this broken and sinful world.

But this is also true friends: This life of yours, God is doing a glorious thing with it, because that’s what our God does… he only does glorious. And one day, it will take your breath away.

So watch with him and be amazed…


Watch.  Listen.  Pay attention.
God, He is unfolding YOU
What form, what shape
will the unfolding take?
What color, what surprise,
what unexpectedness will bloom?
Don’t rush, just be still.
Sit a while with your eyes fixed.
Lean in, keep your ears open.
Feel the anticipation, the wonder.
It is glorious, this miracle we are beholding.
Watch. Listen. Pay attention.
God, He is unfolding YOU.


2 thoughts on “Still Unfolding: When You Are Struggling with the Unexpected

  1. I needed this today! May I use part of it as a devotion at a Session meeting this weekend? I’ll identify it as yours! Judy

    1. Judy, you may always use whatever you find here! Sorry I didn’t see this sooner! I’m glad it spoke to you!

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