Published April 21, 2015

Shelia Shares....
"Surprise Blessings"

God is always with us, but sometimes He shows Himself in a special way and just when we need it. That happened for me on Saturday.

There was a grand re-opening of a store in our town. The first 100 customers would receive a special (unspecified) gift. I left the house at 8 a.m., which put me at the store at 8:10 a.m. By that time, there was no line so I walked in getting a token numbered 22. This token gave me $1.00 off on anything I purchased, an entry blank for a chance to win a Nintendo Wii, a $200 store gift certificate, a big screen TV or another gift, as well as a prize bag.

I picked up a couple food items I needed, got my discount with the cashier, completed and deposited my entry blank and accepted my gift bag. The bag was heavy and I was excited to get home and see my prize. What a blessing to see big bags of Martins and Utz potato chips, a dozen eggs, a loaf of bread, a small bag of goldfish crackers and two small Turkey Hill ice teas.

I put away my groceries and headed off on some other errands. On my way back to the house, I saw a sign for a yard sale at a local church. I knew I had gotten some bargains there at other yard sales, so I decided to stop. It was the second day for the sale so I knew things would be well picked-over.

I browsed the goodies and was debating on whether I needed a $2.00 ceramic Nativity music box that played "Away In A Manger." It was a beauty, but did I really need it?

As I debated, the lady in charge of the sale made an announcement. They had large paper grocery bags at the check out stands for sale for $2.00 each. Once the bag was purchased, the buyer could put anything in the bag that fit. Well, that was a no-brainer for me.

I bought my bag and the first item in was that Nativity music box, followed by a crock-type cookie jar that had been priced $5.00. I filled that bag and bought my second bag, filling it with six mugs, two large casserole dishes that match a set of small casseroles I have, a ceramic "praying hands" and much, much more.

As I finished filling the second bag, a lady approached me and asked if I had checked out the other room. She explained that they had plants, clothing, books and music and purses. I told her I would check it out, which I did after I deposited my second stuffed bag in my car.

The plants had all been sold, but as I looked at the clothes I realized there were a lot of dressy jackets in my size. One was an exact match to a jacket I had worn to church and many concerts, except that this jacket had less wear. Another was a jacket I had seen during the Christmas season, but decided we couldn't afford. On another hanger was a pair of slacks that were a perfect match for the second jacket. The woman who donated them apparently was the same size and had the same taste in fashion that I have.

I filled my bag with seven jackets, three blouses and one pair of slacks. The lady in charge of that room told me they didn't want to pack up the leftovers and she convinced me there was more room in my bag. I topped it with four books, three scarves, a CD and a small purse. She also told me I had been lucky to get clothes in my small size. I told her I had been blessed!

God is always with us. He is the one that places us at the right place at the right time. He is the one who keeps us from the wrong place at the wrong time. He puts people in our lives to encourage us when we need encouragement. He also puts us into the lives of other people when we can be an encouragement and blessing to them. Even when "bad" things happen, He helps us to see that things aren't as bad a they could be and that He is in control. Many times when we don't even see His hand, it is holding and protecting us.

Sometimes, like this past Saturday, He allows Himself to be seen through such surprising and unexpected blessings. He is in the front of our mind as He blesses and blesses. Thank you, Lord, for your care for us at all times. Help us to remember that all things come from You.

- Shelia

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