Do You Have What It Takes To Embrace the Unexpected?

April 6, 2017

Are you living in the midst of the unexpected? If you are not in the middle of the unanticipated, I can guarantee you it is on its way. No matter how much we plan and prepare the truth is life is unpredictable. The bigger question is will you have what it takes to embrace the unexpected?

Maybe you are already in the middle of the unforeseen and feeling overwhelmed with life circumstances you never intended. So whether you are in it, just out of it, or headed towards the unpredictable, you need to develop and nurture a few things to carry you through.

How a simple gift reminded me of what I needed to embrace the unexpected.

I opened up my mail to find a special gift from someone that was dear to my heart. It was a simple gift that reminded me of my faith and my sweet friend Sara. At the time I had no idea the significance it would hold in the years to come.

Sara’s gift was a small silver cross to attach to my key ring. Little did I know that later in life this cross would represent so much more than a reminder of my faith.

You see my beautiful friend that gave this to me was in her last few months of living. It was the last gift she ever gave me.

Have you ever noticed when walking through difficult circumstances we can’t quite see the lesson we are to learn?

At the time I had no idea that her journey would begin to cultivate and teach me the most important things I would need to embrace in my life in the midst of the unexpected. This cross would later serve as a reminder of the things I needed to embrace in my own unanticipated life.

Today as I hold this cross in my hands it reminds me of what I need to live the life God intended in the midst of the unpredictable.

What we need to Embrace the Unexpected

1. Faith – Faith is so important, but we can’t just rely on what we have, we need to be developing it steadily. We need to fill our minds with Gods word and spend time with him.

Each time I look at the cross I am reminded of a faith that is strong and built on a good foundation.

2. God’s Peace – We need to tap into God’s peace. It is attainable in the midst of the worst circumstances. It really can transcend all understanding.

The cross reminds me of the times I saw Sara with that kind of peace and knew it came from God.

3. Hope in Jesus – We must anchor our hope to God. He is BIG and capable of anything. Our hope must center on Jesus no matter what the outcome.

With Sara we clung to the hope of Jesus and that if it were his plan, he would heal her.

4. Trust in God – We need to put our trust entirely in God and let go. Sometimes this means moving over so God can work. We need to believe he has us right where he wants us and that all things happen for a reason.

5. Courage – We need to be courageous in all circumstances. Jesus was courageous on the cross.

One of Sara’s last requests was to have me speak or read some scripture at her services. At the time I was not a public speaker nor did I have any desire to become one. It petrified me.

But how do you say no to someone that exhibited such courage in her fight against cancer? So I tightly grasped the cross in my hands and said yes.

After all, if Jesus could endure the cross and Sara could courageously fight cancer surely, I could stand up and say a few words.

Of course, my voice quivered, my knees knocked, and maybe no-one even heard what I said, but this was the beginning of learning to be courageous and speak out.

6.  Community – We all need a team to fight life with us. We were not meant to do life alone. God must be the center of this team.

In the times when I was physically alone in unwanted situations, I would squeeze the cross and remind myself I was not alone. God is always with me. I would then think of Sara and what a privilege it was to be on her team.

7.  An Attitude of Gratitude –  Be a seeker of the things you have to be thankful for.

Adopt an Attitude of Gratitude and count those blessings.

The cross reminds me it starts with being grateful for my relationship with Jesus.

8. Be in the Present Moment – Jesus is the best example of knowing how to live in the moment. When we train ourselves to live in the present, our suffering goes down. It is a heck of a lot easier to endure a moment of pain instead of all of the past and future misery.

Sara became excellent at displaying this quality. She would rise from feeling ill and embrace the moments she had, leaving behind any worries she had.

9. Acceptance – We must learn to accept people and our circumstances. Fighting reality is only going to add to your misery.

The cross reminds me of how Jesus accepts us right where we are.

10. Grieve Your Losses – All pain is significant and should not be compared. We must learn to recognize our losses and mourn them.

The cross reminds me of Jesus and how he wept even when he knew that Lazarus would be raised from the dead.

11. Self Care – We must take good care of ourselves. God loves us and wants that for each of us. We will not be good for anyone else if we let ourselves get depleted.

Jesus took time away.

12. Seek Joy – Allow yourself to be joyful. Joy can be found in the midst of horrible, terrible circumstances and we need to allow ourselves to find it.

My friend Sara found joy in the moments of life, and it was contagious.

Printable – Click the Picture

So when the unexpected life reached our family, I was ready with a faith that was strong. Little did I know I had been on holy training ground learning from a remarkable friend. I then knew what a privilege it had been to be allowed to walk alongside my sweet friend.

And when life gets hard because it does, believe me, I grab that cross and cling to it with all my might knowing it points me to exactly what I need to embrace the unexpected.

I would love to hear what you cling to when embracing the unexpected?



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  1. Reply

    Kalyani Nagarajan

    Hi Maree…

    I wanted to ask you about your sweet courageous friend Sara, if she had any children and was she married?
    How old was Sara when she passed away. I loved your article.


    Thank you so much

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Kayla, I am so sorry I don’t feel comfortable sharing too much about my friend online. Maybe her family will see your comment and answer. I hope you understand. Thank you for asking. Maree

  2. Reply


    This was so good I know I have a hard time embracing the unexpected, it isn’t till way later that I understand why I have had to go through it. Just want you to know how much I have enjoyed your post with some of the things we are going through right now I feel like you talking right to me.Thanks for linking up with Literacy Musing Mondays hop! Hope to see you next week. And have a great week,

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee


      Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such an encouraging message. I am glad my post spoke to you. It means the world to me when I reach somebody. Sorry, you are going through things right now. I pray you find God and hang tight to him now matter what. Blessings, Maree

  3. Reply


    What a remarkable story! May we all remember to grab the cross in difficult times!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Amen to grabbing the cross in difficult times.

  4. Reply


    This is a great reminder that God sees the bigger picture and we often cannot in the moment. Sometimes it just feels like pain. God is doing so much more through our trials than we can know in this lifetime. Thank you for putting this into perspective for me!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee


      I love your comment. It is so true looking back we can learn so much. If I can just remember while I am walking through the unexpected that God will bring good out of it, I can relax a little and experience his peace.


  5. Reply


    What a truly inspiring post! Thank you Maree.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee


      Thank you! Love the encouragement.



  6. Reply

    Debbie Kitterman

    Maree – I am so sorry, it has taken me almost a whole week to stop by and comment from #TuneInThursday linkup last week. I was away at a Conference since last week and the wifi was practically non-existent.

    I love that you have the special gift from Sara to remember her by and Yes, I too often learn lessons way after the fact as well. I wish I saw them soon, but sometimes I don’t. Thanks for sharing all your points to help us embrace the unexpected. Lately, my holding on point has been His peace.

    Again thank you for linking up last week, and I hope to see you tomorrow at #TuneInThursday

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee


      No worries on it taking a week, I am just glad you stopped by.

      I love holding on to God’s peace. I don’t know why but it always surprises me.

      Thank you for hosting the link up.


  7. Reply

    Unmasking the Mess

    Maree- what a special gift your friend gave you. It was more than the cross…. Isn’t God wise when what we see as a gift itself, God makes the gift bigger and more meaningful!

    Your list was great! Sharing this!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      You are so right it was more than the cross. I find the Easter story does the same thing. I am always learning something new about the cross, Jesus’s death, and resurrection.



  8. Reply

    Crystal Twaddell

    What a special gift you’ve been given. This is beautiful. Your list is spot on. I’m still learning to do so many of these things, like self care and taking time to grieve losses. Thank you for this encouragement and challenge to step into the unexpected with grace.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee


      Yes, it was a special gift in so many ways. I too am still learning. The exact two (self-care and grieving) you mentioned are the ones I struggle with. I am a master at being busy which masks the grief and allow for little self-care. I am a work in progress.


  9. Reply

    Karen Del Tatto

    Wonderful insights on what we need in order to be able to embrace the unexpected.

    Thanks for sharing this very edifying post.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee


      Thank you for your encouraging comment. I am so glad you stopped by.



  10. Reply

    Angela Howard

    Wonderful post! Such important perspective. Thank you for sharing your story. Visiting from #LMMLinkup

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee


      Thank you for stopping by from #LMMLinkup. I hope you will return again. Maree

  11. Reply

    Nicole Kauffman

    Love this! When we know what we need, we can prepare to stand firm amidst the unexpected (which can be so hard!) Thanks for sharing these powerful tools 🙂

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee


      I love what you said, “When we know what we need, we can prepare to stand firm.” I completely believe this. Hope you are having a wonderful week. Maree

  12. Reply

    Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    What a lovely post! Thank you for these wise words! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. I hope to see you again soon. Maree

  13. Reply

    Betsy Cruz

    This is a beautiful list, Maree. I especially like what you said about building up our own faith with the Word of God, and taking time for joy. 🙂

    I’m so sorry you lost your friend, Sarah. I know so many were impacted by her life.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee


      Thank you for your sweet comment. Yes, Sara impacted many people. A little part of her lives on in each of us.



  14. Reply


    Such a beautiful post about a beautiful friend. Thank you for sharing your holy training ground with us so we can all learn from Sara.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      You are so welcome. Glad we can all learn from Sara. Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. Maree

  15. Reply

    Laura Rath

    This is a beautiful post and reminder that God works in ways we cannot see. What a blessing it is that sometimes we can look back and see how He went before us and stood beside us! (Visiting from Grace & Truth)

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee


      I couldn’t agree with you more it is such a blessing to look back and see God was there all along. I try to remind myself of this when new, unexpected circumstances pop up. So good to remember. Thank you for stopping by. Maree


  16. Reply


    Sounds like a courageous friend you had in Sarah, Maree. I know it’s not recent, but I’m sorry for your loss. Beautiful list full of truths. I think the thing I cling to most is His faithfulness. He’s so good to us. — Thank you for sharing, Maree. 🙂 ((hug))

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      She was very courageous. Thank you for your condolences, it has been a long time; I still miss her. I learned so much from her. It was a unique friendship that grew through her illness.

      That is great that you cling to his faithfulness. God is good.



  17. Reply

    Erika B.

    I love this post so much! Thank you for sharing! Visiting from the Distracted Much linkup! <3

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Erika –
      You are so welcome! Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to leave a comment. I look forward to jumping on over to your blog. Maree

  18. Reply

    Michele Morin

    Maree, this list is positively inspired. Thank you for thinking through all the things that God has done to carry me in the past, because I know that He can do it again in the future.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee


      Thank you for letting me know my list was inspiring. Your words always encourage me to keep writing. Yes, God will keep doing it.

      Blessings, Maree

  19. Reply


    These words are comforting, my unexpected came in the form of my son’s schizoaffective disorder. And many prayers later the disorder of his brain still exists but I know my Lord so much deeper and I am thankful

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I am so glad you stopped by my site. It is so nice to connect with others that are going through similar things. I am going to head over to your site right now.

      I am so glad my words were comforting. It is quite the journey with twists and turns in the midst of mental illness. We still pray for a miracle.


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