Hoped For Surprises

I wasn’t prepared for what I saw.

Isn’t that what a surprise is all about?

Having been out of the country for close to two weeks, I returned home late last night to find my husband had fulfilled a dream I’ve had for quite some time.

We’ve owned our home for close to twenty years. Twenty years of six kids, two dogs, countless guests and gatherings, and the wear and tear these people and activities bring with them.


And it was lovingly, grandly, intentionally and thoroughly lived in.unnamed-2

A mess.

We’d talked about doing the floors for years. Carpets had been peed on, pooped on, puked on. Stains would disappear for a brief time after cleaning only to reappear with a sneer, daring me to to obliterate it.

That’s a no-win argument.

But greater life priorities have cropped up that needed our attention. And our wallets. Three weddings in sixteen months. Another coming. College.


So we lived with crummy carpets. And I argued with my stains. And I was fine.

But I dreamed of their demise.

So, when I returned home, hauling a suitcase full of dirty clothes, longing for a hot shower and my own bed, John ushered me through the front door to a mess.

But it was a mess in process.

unnamedNew floors smiled up at me. Walls giggled with new paint. A new countertop winked at me.

The mocking of the stained carpets, fingerprinted walls and scratched and dented countertops had been silenced.

And I loved the quiet.

But I wasn’t prepared for such a lavish surprise. A dream realized.

Life hits me that way a lot. Where I get used to living with old habits that aren’t necessarily useful or helpful but have become comfortable with constancy. My normal. I’m not happy with the way I act, but it’s what I do. I talk about making changes–like exercising more or eating better. Or being kinder to others. Habits that mock me out loud for being unable to make changes to them.

But I get comfortable with what I’ve always done. With the way I am.

Jesus gets that about me. I’ve no capacity to make those changes apart from His help. He wants to make those lavish changes in my life to become more of the person He created me to be. A new foundation. Freshly painted attitude. New heart.

The dream.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”                                              2 Corinthians 5:17

I have limited ability to improve myself. I make changes that might last a little while, but permanent change is tough.

And that’s the surprise. Jesus wants to enable me to become more of who He has always intended me to be. Whole. Clean. Fresh.

An extreme make-over. One that will truly last.

And isn’t that the kind of change I really want? Even if it’s a surprise?

9 responses to “Hoped For Surprises”

  1. What a wonderful surprise! And it’s great that most of it happened when you were out of the country!


    1. It was wonderful! And I felt so overwhelmed by his lavish love. He knows me well–if I’d been involved, I’d never have pulled the trigger or made a quarter of the decisions he had to. I’m blessed.


  2. Oh Dayle, this is soo cool! I can’t wait to see it! And I can’t wait to break some old habits of my own and make new memories in O-town with you very soon!

    *Julie Sanders*

    julie.sanders@cru.org http://www.thesandersplanet.com


  3. Lee Anne Sorgius Avatar
    Lee Anne Sorgius

    John was so happy to do this for you. I loved seeing his anticipation of pleasing you. Missed you at the retreat!


    1. I missed you guys, too. Time in Africa, though, was amazing. I feel so blessed by John. Overwhelmed by such lavish love. Grateful. Miss you, friend.


  4. what a loving hubby. you scored big time friend!
    cant wait to see the finished product!


    1. You’ll never recognize the place. I sure don’t. I am truly blessed. As are you, my friend. We both are fortunate to have loving husbands.


  5. Such a wonderful and fun surprise. Loved your blog too!


    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Joy! I so appreciate it!


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