Cards by Candlelight: Blessings in Disguise

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It was a rainy spring evening as we awaited our friends’ arrival for dinner. We planned to play cards and board games and just relax — a rare treat for all of us. Thunder shook the house as we set the food on the table and finished filling the tea glasses. With seven people squeezed around the six-person table, we held hands and prayed for God’s blessings upon the food, our evening together, and for God’s grace and provision for our friends as they faced moving across the state soon.

It had been a long time since my husband and I had been able to develop a close friendship with another couple, and now they were moving away. We cherished this “last supper” with Brian and Shannon, dear ones who had become true prayer partners, not just casual friends.

I don’t recall what I cooked for dinner that evening, but I do recall fearing that it wouldn’t serve all the mouths that showed up for dinner. However, Brian, being a Louisiana boy and gifted chef, had brought shrimp etouffee and rice. I’d never had such a dish (a buttery garlic sauce over sauteed shrimp), but oh, it was divine! 

Our friends brought shrimp etouffee to our unexepected "candlelight dinner".

Our friends brought shrimp etouffee to our unexpected “candlelight dinner”.

Right after my first bite, a crack of thunder shook the house, and all went dark. Our old nearly-deaf dog even began barking, having heard the commotion and feeling the house tremble. My husband and I scurried to locate candles for light. Our guests kindly and patiently waited as they attempted to calm our children.

Our Cocker Spaniel was so agitated by the thunderous shaking that he began circling our dinner table, then promptly pooped a circle around our guests!! I was mortified with embarrassment!  My teenage son was yelling at the dog, our 9-year-old daughter was screaming and scared from the darkness, and our gracious friends were laughing by that time. (Thank God!)

Our old Cocker Spaniel pooped in the floor from the thunderstorm, encircling our guests.

Our old Cocker Spaniel pooped in the floor from the thunderstorm, encircling our guests at the table.

After cleaning up the poop, my husband and I hardly felt like eating. But our unexpected
“candlelight dinner” continued, and everyone had enough to eat.  We carefully cleared the dishes without knocking over candles, and figured our evening would end promptly. Shannon, however, always the encouraging glass-half-full person, suggested we go ahead and try to play cards — by candlelight. So we did.

Shannon chattered cheerfully as she explained the rules of the game, not to be dissuaded by the lack of electricity. We had such fun, with great conversation over our kind-of-romantic-but-a-bit-spooky card game by candlelight.

We laughed way more than we could have anticipated (thanks to the dog and the power outage), and our little bit of food was multiplied. In the middle of round three of the card game, the power and lights came back on. We were a little sad as we blew the candles out.

This evening didn’t turn out like we planned– thankfully. God certainly has a sense of humor and is always creative in the ways He blesses us.

 

God has a sense of humor & is so creative in how He blesses us. #inspiringhopeblog #unexpectedblessings Click To Tweet

There are innumerable times that God has blessed me in strange, unexpected ways. Like the four times our house has flooded for various reasons (busted water heater, washing machine, leaking toilet, etc.). The most recent incident still stands out to me.

August 2012 brought an unusually extensive, torrential rain storm to Oklahoma. We actually accumulated six inches of rain overnight. My husband and I were right in the middle of building onto our house (to accommodate our newly adopted children). The addition was framed in and roof partly constructed. The slab foundation, even though slightly graded to reduce the risk of flooding (half an inch over eighteen feet) could not keep up with the amount of sudden rainfall.

The next morning, there was water in our living room, which had apparently seeped in underneath the entire exterior wall that met with the new addition. Once again, my heart sank. We’d witnessed bubbles in our laminate flooring after every other “flood”, and we knew immediately what had transpired.

The insurance company sent out a water litigation company to inspect and begin to remedy the damage. They had been to our house so many times that we were all on a first-name basis by this visit. They began pulling up flooring to reveal wet concrete below, not stopping until they saw dry slab. It went all the way through our living and dining room, under the tiled foyer and into our master bedroom. Except for the tile in the kitchen, the entire downstairs flooring was ruined.

The August rainstorm flooded our entire downstairs... a blessing in disguise.

The August rainstorm flooded our entire downstairs… a blessing in disguise.

We had selected a gorgeous and hearty engineered hardwood flooring for the new addition, resolving ourselves with it not matching the laminate flooring in the existing part. It would also have a “lip” to cover where the two floors met. Since the laminate was ruined, our insurance company not only covered the cost to replace it, but there was money left over to cover about one-third of the flooring for the addition! So, God blessed us by providing brand new hardwood flooring for our entire downstairs, most of it paid for! [See the hardwood in the dog photo above.]

As a child of God, I have seen this truth demonstrated over and over in my life: “…we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NASB)

QUESTION & CHALLENGE to my readers: Can you think of a time when you received a blessing from something unexpected, strange, or that seemed (initially) a difficulty? Please SHARE in the comments below. I read EVERY comment, and your story will likely encourage someone else.

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3 thoughts on “Cards by Candlelight: Blessings in Disguise

  1. Jonathan Glass

    I laughed so hard at the thought of Buddy doing that. I didn’t realize how long he has been around. It certainly doesn’t feel like it.

    2016 has been a rough year. I was fired for the first time in my life in January. I will admit that part of it was my own doing while the rest was due to management at the time. I won’t go into management but my part was lack of motivation. I struggled for so long to find my corner of the world and I worked in so many positions trying to find it only to lose my drive more and more when I couldn’t find what I was looking for. After I was fired, I could not find another job despite numerous attempts as far away as Tulsa. None of the interviews could give these potential employers what they were looking for. My unemployment eventually dried up and I was left struggling and managing what I had left. My car was repossessed and collectors were on my back.

    There was a light at the end of this long and painfully dark tunnel. I happened to make a friend in Career Services during my time in Registration at the Complex. She provide all of the assistance and guidance I needed in order to start getting back on my feet. Before I knew it, I was enrolled in the IT program at ICTC and I actually have money coming in again. The Cherokee Nation was generous enough to pay for tuition and books as well. I’m thankful to have this amazing and once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m thankful I had the smarts to take it because things have become so much better already and they’re going to continue to improve. I’ve never felt so genuinely happy in my life and I’m grateful.

    Reply
  2. Donna Huddleston

    I’ve never considered myself to be a clothes hound, however, God seems to bless me with clothes. I would never have bought for myself. I gave extra to Heart and Hand Ministries because of our dire need and knowing the company I worked for would match my donation up to $1,000. I gave and then some more. A friend called said she had a donation for our thrift store. She had lost weight, well I hadn’t!! She said, go through the clothes see if there are any you like. Oh my, that was several years ago. I’m still wearing them. It has happened twice recently. Haven’t had to buy clothes in forever. Thank you Jesus for things I would never have bought!!!!

    Reply

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