Reflections ~ Unexpected Blessings ~

September 16, 2012

My friend Bruce Utterback and I were taking a hike one morning in early September when the sky grew dark with clouds and it started to rain. We kept walking through the desert as rain fell on us like a refreshing from heaven. We headed home as the rain intensified over the next two hours. Rain is a blessing in the desert. Sometimes it comes when you least expect it, just like the blessings of God.
Kristina and I had our granddaughter Ava with us recently while her mom, Kelly, was in Hawaii with Robert on their honeymoon. One afternoon, Kristina bought a pumpkin, and Ava designed the face. They carved it, and then baked the seeds. While Kristina was preparing Hatch chilies, Ava brought out her cards and proceeded to beat me in War. They then made granola, and afterwards curled up together on a recliner to watch a show about capturing alligators in Florida. Ava and her grandma both work hard, love deeply, and play to win.
Eight years ago our daughter Kelly, who was single, told us she was pregnant. We were deeply troubled. That was not the vision we had for our daughter’s life. A lady told me our coming grandchild would be a blessing from the Lord. At the time I wished that blessing would smite someone else. After Ava’s birth, we had two years of intense trials between Ava’s dad, Jason, and our family. Jason brought the police to our house a couple of times. We went to court over child custody issues, and we eventually got an injunction of harassment. We prayed a lot while the forces of hell buffeted our family.
In August we had a men’s retreat with over 400 men from around the Valley at Lost Canyon in Williams. The Spirit of God blessed us during the worship and teaching sessions. Around 10:30 on Saturday night, I was reading in my room when I heard a knock on the door. I opened the door and there was Jason. He was attending his first men’s retreat.
“I just want to say ‘thank you,’” he said with tears in his eyes.
“I’m really glad you had the faith to come,” I replied. “It seems like we have come full circle.”
Jason and I have become friends. He has come over for dinner and we have hiked and prayed together in the desert. He loves the Lord, leads an AA meeting, and is a great dad to Ava.
Last year, Kelly dropped Ava off at her kindergarten class on the first day of school. Afterwards she told us about Ava’s first school day. A little girl was standing alone crying after her mother left. Ava immediately went over to the girl and put her arm around her.
“I’ll be your friend. You can stay with me.” Ava told her.
Ava has a way of loving others that brings us joy. Some blessings fall from heaven. Others grow up right before your eyes. Sometimes God sends us gifts that are hard to appreciate when they first appear. I never want to give up on anything or anyone, because the Lord often puts unexpected blessings in challenging circumstances. Some of the darkest clouds hold a great amount of rain.

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