When Life Takes a Surprising Turn

This morning I read a devotional called, “Live where you Land,” from Moments of Peace in the Presence of God. The author recounts the story of a balloonist who carefully plotted his way, only to have wind blow him places he never expected to go. His response to each new destination?

“Had I known about this place I would have planned all along to land here.”

Most of us have plans for our lives – where we want to live, when we want to get married, how many children we want to have, what kind of work we want to do, goals we want to accomplish. However, life often takes surprising turns. Some surprises turn out to be very enjoyable. Others, not so much. However, many times we cannot control what happens.

In Philippians 4:11 Paul says, “I have learned how to be content (satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or disquieted) in whatever state I am.” (Amplified Version) I don’t know about you, but I’m still learning that lesson. I’m the type of person who likes to plan. I like to know what’s happening, and why. My husband and children have “encouraged” me to be more flexible than I used to be, but . . .

I often tell my children:

We cannot always control what happens to us, but we can always choose our attitude.

Paul also talks about attitude:

“Give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20 (NLT)

You mean God expects us to not only be content with what happens, but to also give thanks? Yikes! This one I’m definitely still learning. A while ago I was challenged by Ann Voskamp’s 1,000 GiftsShe recounts the story of what happened when she took her friend’s dare to find 1,000 things to give thanks for.

Today’s a new day. Goals are good. Thanksgiving in all things is best. Today, even though I wanted to stay in my warm bed longer, I’m thankful for the warm drink in my hands. Even though my husband left without giving me a hug this morning, I’m thankful that he is committed to our marriage. And though I don’t know what the rest of the day holds (it’s just about time for me to go wake the kids), I’m thankful the God who created the universe walks beside me (and sometimes carries me!).

What will you choose to be thankful for today?


  1. Avatar Sharon Espeseth says:

    I am thankful for good results on my husband’s colonoscopy. He still has health issues, but this test seems to rule out some of the biggies. That goes with the verse you quoted from Ephesians 5:3: “Give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 5:20 (NLT)

  2. Avatar Sharon Espeseth says:

    Moving forward a while, Ruth, I am still learning the lessons you mention in this piece. Thanks for this reminder. Let’s keep learning how to do things God’s way and being thankful that we can still learn. Thanks, Ruth.

  3. Sharon,
    I am still learning too. Yes, choosing to be thankful is very important and so easy to forget. Praying that God will strengthen you, encourage you, and give you peace. 🤗

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