My son stopped in his tracks. He looked stunned as he said, “Mommy, you look like a princess with your hair like that!” Well, then. Double French braids everyday from now on! I wasn’t getting ready to go to a fancy party, just a fun movie night at church. I wasn’t even trying to look like a princess, but I sure felt like one after his sweet comment. It will always be one of my most treasured compliments. It was both genuine and unexpected. And if I think about other times I felt deeply and honestly loved, they bear those two qualities – genuine and unexpected.
As I started making preparations for this blog, I knew I wanted a picture of braided hair for the logo. I desperately wished I had a picture of my ‘princess’ hair. But I didn’t, so I settled on a generic picture of someone else’s hair braided and wrapped in a circle. It wasn’t a big deal. I didn’t even mention it to anyone.
Then something unexpected happened. A family in our church went through a tragedy. My heart ached and I longed to help. Words failed me, but what I could give was my time. I was able to spend some time with the children in the family while mom and dad were recovering from the worst day of their lives. I was so happy to be in a house where the girls outnumbered the boys for once! We played and talked and I got a tour of the house. We ate muffins and played with my annoying dog (see earlier post about that little lesson from God). Then the girls and I started a hair braiding party. We looked like a little train at one point (me in the middle of two sweet elementary girls). It was heavenly. We took pictures to commemorate the occasion. I didn’t even look at them all until I got home hours later. One of the pictures turned out to be the perfect shot of my braided hair from the back. I immediately uploaded it as my site logo.
It was a terribly insignificant desire of mine to have a picture of my braided hair. But the beautiful thing about God is He loves to fulfill those secret little insignificant longings just as much as He tends to our deepest and grandest hurts. For those that love Him, follow Him, and trust Him – He loves to tie His children’s stories together. And He almost always uses pain and suffering to connect people. Embrace that for a minute. When we give, we also receive. And when we give unconditionally, He gives back to us unexpectedly.
A good friend of mine recently reminded me of the power of giving. Whatever she is feeling like she needs from others, that is the thing she chooses to do for others. Maybe you are thinking of something you need right now – a hug, a listening ear, a note of encouragement, a word of truth in Scripture. Instead of waiting for it to happen to you, go and do for others. Then expect the unexpected.
I hope it makes you stop in your tracks, and say “Wow, God, you make me feel like a princess when you treat me like that.”
“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38