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When a Secret Pal Surprises You

When a Secret Pal Surprises You

As I stared at a UPS parcel delivered to my door, I kept wondering what in the world I ordered this time! Noticing that it was addressed to me and the return address label was the same, it took me a second to realize that the sender didn’t want to be identified. Carefully sliding the sharp edge of scissors across the seal, I opened it to find a multitude of fun beauty item samples along with a card that said: “To Lori…I miss you…Love, your secret Pal.”

Sometimes encouragement comes in the form of a simple gift. (I used to hide the fact that “Gifts” was my love language, but I cannot deny this anymore as I clearly light up at the simplest bestowment.)

Stress seems to be mounting with every passing day. I won’t bother to tell you the contributors. You know what they are. Sometimes if feels as if the rope I’m hanging on to is tied to my own neck. Clearly, at that point it’s time to call out to the One who loosens the sickening grip and invites me to grasp His outstretched hand. He works in subtleties in my life, but He is working and I need only to open my eyes to perceive His reach.

And that’s what He did with the surprise package.

Experiencing that sinking feeling again today, I turned to scripture (after popping all the pity-party balloons). God led me to Psalm 25 which contains a great deal of asking for God’s mercy, in addition to remembering how God blesses the humble and those who fear Him. But what struck me the most was the last portion, verses 16-22:

16Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
17 Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
18 Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
19 See how numerous are my enemies
and how fiercely they hate me!

20 Guard my life and rescue me;
do not let me be put to shame,
for I take refuge in you.
21 May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope, Lord, is in you.

22 Deliver Israel, O God,
    from all their troubles!

I read that portion out loud while sitting in my wooded backyard, eyes closed. I thought I heard a strange “chit chit chit” sound surrounding my head. As I opened my eyes, a colorful little hummingbird was looking straight at me! He darted back a forth a few times, making the same gentle, yet persistent, chirp. You can call this coincidence. I’d prefer to call it a “God-occurance” that was desperately needed and simply supplied by the Wonderful One who made me along with that vibrating and vibrant winged creature.

And just when I was pondering what is happening in my world, another surprising occurrence came to me. I’ve been praying for so many friends who are sick and the burden is feeling heavier than ever. It feels selfish to want some alone time, or away time. But when the pressure rises, I can only think of being by the beach, taking in the vast expanse of the ocean and reviving salt air in order to clear my mind. Jesus and I talk in that setting and He accompanies me on long, shoreline walks. I know I needed it, and quietly asked God, my Father, that if He saw fit that I get a chance to see my calming ocean, that someone will reach out to me about that. At the same time I forfeited the impulse to post the request on Facebook, choosing to wait and see what God would do.

And then I forgot about it…

Until 9:30 this evening when I got a message from a kind neighbor who just happened to think of me, knowing how much I love the beach, and told me his rental place suddenly opened up for the upcoming week. I. Kid. You. Not.

My Secret Pal from New Jersey is generous and thoughtful and I can’t wait to find out who she is. She is delightful!

And although God acts in secret much of the time, He is way beyond the limitations of a Secret Pal. His awesome creation resounds of His existence, His beauty, and His infinite attention to every detail. Yet, He meets me in the secret places that only my heart can perceive.  And when this world’s system seems to be spinning out of control, affecting the deep insecurities that rise to the surface, He invites me to open my spiritual eyes to the profound truth that He will never let go of those who put their trust in Him, even in the multitude of life’s disappointments.

I wonder what parcel He’ll be sending next. I can’t wait to open it!

There’s one coming for you, too.

Lori Travers

Lori finds the Joy of the Lord to be her strength. Born and raised an Italian Jersey girl, she has finally settled in the south as Reynolda Presbyterian church became her new home. Ministry to women, reading, writing, cooking, and anything having to do with animals are her sweet spots. Having a background in cardiac testing, she chose to stay home and raise three incredible children who are now married, and currently has 2 precious granddaughters and one faithful husband of 34 years.

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