Unexpected blessings catapult our faith into high gear and steady our walk of faith.
I didn’t realize how much so until last week when I attended the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference. As I’ve done over the past nine years, I showed up eager to fellowship with friends, meet new ones, and hone my craft.
But this year was different. And it had nothing to do with Covid.
At registration, I planned to attend everything the conference had to offer. But soon after arriving, I sensed God might be calling me to something unexpected. My southern-fried raising tried its best to guilt me into doing what I always did because, well, it was the expected, “right” thing to do.
I’m learning, however, the only thing right thing to do is to follow God’s plans.
So, instead of attending the a-mazing large group meetings and classes, I took a seat in the Clouds coffee shop and simply made myself available, with a lavender latte in hand.
During my time in the coffee shop, God:
- brought dozens of attendees by, making it possible for me to share wholehearted smiles and hellos. (We had a lot of new attendees!)
- allowed me to pray with others right there on the spot.
- let me be a listening ear to several who were carrying heavy burdens. More than once, someone said, “I’m so thankful you were here.” And in return, I echoed the same sentiment to God.
- enjoyed the laughter that surrounded the shellacked table.
- blessed me with friendships with the volunteers working behind the counter.
Looking back, I see how a few specific prayers prepared me to follow God’s leading, resulting in unexpected blessings:
Three Prayerful Ways to Prepare for Unexpected Blessings:
- Pray for God’s agenda, period. In the weeks prior to the conference, I prayed for various things like staying healthy, the removal of any pride or selfishness from this ol’ heart, and being available for however He might want to use me as a conduit of His love and kindness.
- Pray for bravery. Because we can all agree that following God’s agenda and not ours (or anyone else’s) isn’t for wimps.
- Expect the Unexpected. I admit that when I first sensed the Holy Spirit pointing me to the cafe, I bristled a bit, knowing it might disappoint some people I love and respect. (My name is Cathy Baker and I am a recovering people pleaser.)
On the final day of the conference, a friend put this “Office of Cathy Baker” sign on the cafe table. Here’s one of fourteen pictures taken in my “office” *smile*. It’s a favorite because it includes Pepper Basham, along with her latest release, Hope Within the Pages (Doors to the Past).
(I’m sharing my various visitors to the “office” on Facebook over the next week or two. I’d love for you to stop by and say hello!)
Do you sense God might be calling you to serve Him in an unexpected, possibly out-of-the-norm kind of way? We’d love to know!
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It was so nice to meet you in “The Clouds”! Thank you for sharing these thoughts. They are beautiful, like you!
You’re so kind, Maureen. Meeting you was such a blessing! Your love for Christ, family, and friends was obvious from the get-go. I look forward to getting to know you more on this journey. 🙂
Loved your post about how God led you at BRMCWC!
Thank you, Sandra! I hope we can meet there in person next year. 🙂
I admire your decision to do something different! I think the coffee shop was a great way for you to reach people that day.
Thanks, Robin! I appreciate it and just for the record, I always enjoyed your visits to the “office”. 🙂 Blessings, friend. (And congrats again on your award!!!)
It took courage to do what you did Cathy, and in doing so you were pleasing God. ” A God Pleaser” now that’s what we all should be.
That is definitely what we want to be — thanks for the encouragement, Elaine. Blessings! 🙂
This is a great post, Cathy! You challenged me to be attentive and sensitive to God’s agenda. Wish I could have been there and stopped by your “office.” Someday!
I wish the same, Crickett! Hopefully, 2022 will be the year. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by…
Thank you for listening to God’s prompting! Your ears are tuned up! It’s so hard, being a people pleaser. Love your “recovering people pleaser” term. I think I need to use it.
Membership is open. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to share!
Girrrrrl, I KNOW you were right where God intended. Attending BRMCWC was such a crucial point in my journey as a writer. It was a joy and a comfort to know where I would find you, and share the results of our prayers! From one recovering people pleaser to another, I am grateful you chose to please God, first!
Thank you, Charla! I can’t wait to see all God has in store for you (and for your readers) in the near future. This year was filled with special blessings with you being at the top of my list. 🙂 Thanks for going the extra mile.
Wow, Cathy, this was a brave and unexpected thing to do! And look how God used it in your live and the lives of others. I often pray for the Lord to help me lay down my agend and pick up His will. thanks for sharing this. You’re an amazing example of what this can look like!