Unexpected Gifts

Unexpected Gifts

We’ve all gotten them at one time or other. The gift that disappointed. The one that ends up in a garage sale or donated to the thrift store. The one we worry about keeping long enough we don’t offend the giver. The one that hurts deep inside because it wasn’t what we had hoped for.

I remember one Christmas when I was in junior high the youth leaders decided to have a white elephant gift exchange. These can be interpreted several different ways. From bazaar gag gifts to cheap dollar limited nice gifts.

That year not everyone was on the same page. When I opened up the gift I chose, laughter filled the room. Inside the box was a banana and a fork. If every gift had been a gag gift, this might have been okay. But mine was the only one. Any other gift in that room would have been better.

I cringed on the inside and smiled on the outside while everyone laughed. Even though I enjoy a spirited gift exchange, to this day, I cringe that someone might bring that one gift that is just awful and I will be the one who ends up with it.

When I’m “opening life” – hoping and praying for something good, the stakes are a bit higher now that I’m an adult. Sometimes what actually happens is a bit – or a lot disappointing.

But I have found that in the midst of my dark places, the unsettled places, the hurtful places, God gives me unexpected gifts.

I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. Isaiah 45:3 

The last couple of years especially, I have been blessed with some of these gifts. A moment in the midst of the pain to know I wasn’t forgotten.

After discovering my husband’s deep struggle with pornography, it would have been easy to walk away or remain in bitterness. But by choosing to forgive and allow God to work on my heart, to stay and allow room for restoration, the way was paved for treasures in the dark places.

Unexpected gifts. Peace in the middle of the storm. Compassion for others. Stronger faith and trust in God. Better communication tools. A better understanding that God is good, even in the midst of loss. And the promise of a stronger marriage.

I wouldn’t choose this valley over again, but I wouldn’t erase it either. These are the places where I have come to know God better.

It seems like every loss and dark place is felt more keenly during the holidays, so I wanted to encourage those of you who are hurting. There is hope. Wherever where your dark place is, give God room to give you treasures unexpected.

When you can’t see God’s hand, trust His heart.

Angela Meyer About Angela Meyer

Angela D. Meyer lives in Omaha, NE with her husband and daughter, where she writes women’s contemporary Christian fiction. She enjoys the ocean, good stories, connecting with friends, taking pictures, quiet evenings and a good laugh.

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