What To Do When the Unexpected Happens

Do you often find yourself frustrated and worn out trying to solve every problem on your own? We think we’ve got all the bases covered and then, poof – something out of the blue tries to put a monkey wrench in the works. What then? Do we yell and scream? Cuss out the cat, the dog, the kids, or the spouse?

As a single parent and the child of an alcoholic father, I have felt the need to control situations probably more so than I need to. Perhaps, like me, you’ve felt you have to “do it all” and found yourself crumbling under the mountain of to-do lists. In the past, I chalked it all up to “being responsible” but I think there is more to it than that. No matter how much I may think I have things under control, inevitably something happens to let me know that I am not. What’s good about this is that no matter what happens, all I have to do is give it to God and He will step in and make things right. Somehow. God’s grace is an amazing thing and when we start to expect it and look for it in our lives, more of it seems to show up. To give you an example, allow me to share a situation that happened this week and see what you think.

About a month ago, I purchased airline tickets online for my mom, my son, and myself. My mom’s tickets were purchased on a different airlines since she would be flying from another city. I filled out the credit card information, selected seating, and even put in a request for elderly assistance. My mom was adamant that we get the flight paid for quickly since she was getting a good price. When I submitted the information, I am quite sure I received a confirmation message because I remember uttering a sigh of relief.

Fast forward to this week, my mom was asking questions about her ticket.

“Let me see if I ever got an email from the airlines confirming your flight,” I said as I perused my inbox.

“Nope, nothing. I don’t see anything from them. I don’t remember whether I put my email address on your ticket or not,” I said.

A few hours later, I’m taking a nap, and my cell phone starts going off. It was my mom.

“I just called the airlines and they said my ticket was cancelled. I called my bank and they have no record of the ticket being purchased either,” she said in a frenzied tone of voice.

“Ok, Ma, calm down. Let me call the airlines and see what happened.”

Sure enough, the agent tells me there was one ticket in the system but it was put on hold and then the system cancelled it out. This certainly seemed bizarre to me. There was no way I had put that ticket on hold, as adamant as my mom was to get the fare.

“Is there any way I can get repurchase the ticket?” I asked.

“Not at that price,” replied the agent. “That price is no longer in the system.”

Not knowing what else to do, I asked to speak to a supervisor.

“Hold please, while I get one for you,”.

It was quite a while before someone came back on the line but I did have time to send up a prayer.

“Lord, please show us your favor in this situation. Thank you so much.”

When the supervisor finally came on the line she said her name was Miss Sophie. Funny, that is my mom’s name too.

To make a long story short, the supervisor agreed to repurchase the ticket for us at the exact same fare, with better seats and with no additional fees for phone service.

I hung up the phone.

“Hallelujah! Thank you, Lord!” I exclaimed.

I have to admit. This is quite a change of behavior from years past. I would let someone else’s upset become my upset. Now I have learned I don’t have to take on emotionally or energetically someone else’s problem. I don’t have to fix everything by myself. Here are some simple steps I use to help keep from losing my cool when something unexpected happens.

1. Take a deep breath and pause before responding.

2. Maintain my composure by keeping my voice low and slow.

3. Reassure the other person everything is going to be fine.

4. Pray! Ask God for wisdom and direction.

5. Take time to step back and think logically about a solution.

6. Take the necessary action steps without apprehension about what could happen.

7. Relax and give the outcome to God. Trust Him to handle it after I’ve done my part.

We all have unexpected events show up in our lives. The key is to not let them throw us of kilter for very long. If we get really good at it, perhaps there will come a day when they won’t throw us off kilter at all!

Love to hear your feedback on this post so please leave a comment or click the +1 icon. Until next time, keep looking up!

Ariel

Groupon, Coupons and Grace

Everybody likes the word “free”, don’t we? Especially during these tough economic times, a penny saved is a penny earned. Groupon is doing a booming business and coupon clipping is being taken on with renewed fervor. My family used to make fun of me for clipping coupons, but no more. The reality of saving and getting something for free has taken on a new importance here in America.

Speaking of saving and getting something for free, has it dawned on you that’s what God’s saving grace is – free? Grace is defined as ‘unmerited favor’ and that is exactly how the Lord treats us – with unmerited favor. The reality of this is fact is enormous.

When I stop to think about everything the Lord has brought me through in my life, I am utterly amazed. As a child of an alcoholic father, a single-parent, and a working woman, I have had my share of trials to overcome.

Just recently, I completed a huge project that took over four years to complete: the publishing of my first book. My two sons have both graduated from college and are working and independent. I have a great group of friends and have been healed of so many emotional and physical ailments, it’s almost unbelievable.

One of my favorite songs by Keith Urban is entitled “But For the Grace of God”. Talk about someone who has been through a lot. Keith sings his testimony, “Lord, I’d be lost, but for the grace of God.” Isn’t that where we’d all be? Lost?

So, dear friends, if you are struggling with the challenges of life, I encourage you to accept God’s free gift of grace and cast your eyes on Jesus. When we focus on the goodness and grace of God our problems have a way of getting smaller. When you think you can’t do it anymore, speak this verse out loud and I guarantee you will be strengthened and refreshed. “God’s grace is sufficient for me” (2 Cor 12:9). Until next time, keep looking up!

By the Grace of God

So how are you holding up this season? I’m having a rough time this year for lots of reasons, but when I talk to my friends and relatives, they have their own problems as well. So I know I am not alone.

Health issues, job stress, relationship problems, the list goes on and on. Sometimes I ask “Lord, how much more can I take?” The answer is the same “My grace is sufficient for you.”

I have been pondering that concept lately. Grace is God’s unmerited favor towards us and it is truly by the grace of God that I am still on this earth after some of the lovely things I have gone through in my life. Not that I am looking for pity, mind you. I am sharing this to remind myself as well as you of the great grace of God.

At my recent birthday, I got out my old violin and we all sang a few choruses of “Amazing Grace”. From reminding me to check the air in my tire, to getting a discount on my drycleaning, to having time and health to work out at the gym,I see so many examples of God’s grace to me today.

Have you recognized God’s grace in your life lately, dear one? If not, I encourage you to take a few moments at the end of each day, and think of the good things that happened to you that perhaps you didn’t expect or deserve. That is God’s grace in action. Until next time, keep looking up!