Blessings In the Pool
by Mary Southerland
The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed (Proverbs 11:25, The Message).
It all started with a swimsuit. I had to buy one. Dan and I were joining our kids and grandkids for a week of family vacation in Charleston, South Carolina. The beach, a swimming pool, and water parks were on the agenda, and I wanted to do them all!
Ladies, I know you can understand my feelings of terror at the thought of having to find a swimsuit that actually fits and looks good on me. I had two days before we left, and both of those days were crammed full – appointments, meetings, and writing deadlines stared me in the face.
I prayed. Yes. I. Did. I asked God to help me find the right swimsuit. It had to be modest, it had to look good on me, and it had to be cheap!
On my way home from a doctor’s appointment, I passed one of my favorite stores. I only go in this store when they are having a huge sale and when I have a coupon. I saw the bright red “Clearance” signs in the store window and knew I had a great coupon in my purse. Yes!
I had exactly 25 minutes to get in the store … find a swimsuit … and get out in order to make it to my next meeting on time.
When I walked in…
I saw a very small rack of swimsuits in the back corner of the store. I asked the sales lady if those were the only swimsuits they had. “I’m afraid it is,” she said. “Our big sale was last week, but take a look. You never know what you might find.”
With the faith of a mustard seed, I headed for that rack. And then I saw it – a gorgeous black swimsuit. It was modest, beautifully made, and it was my size. I held my breath and looked at the price tag. Oh. My. Word. It had been marked down 60% and I had a coupon for another 20% off. When I tried it on, I did a happy dance in the dressing room, thanking God for leading me straight to that suit.
But that is not the whole story.
When we got to Charleston, the grandkids wanted to swim. I put on my new suit and humbly accepted the compliments of my husband, children, and grandkids as we headed to the pool.
Two older women were in the pool, lazily exercising and talking. When they saw us, they smiled and waved. Then one of the women said, “I love your suit! You look so cute in it!” Made. My. Day.
Our grandkids demonstrated all of their aquatic accomplishments as Dan and I applauded and praised them. One of the ladies said, “Your grandchildren are beautiful! I know you must be so proud of them.” At that moment, the invisible “Dump Here” sign that seems to be on my forehead started flashing, and I sensed God’s hand at work. My husband and daughter did too as they slowly moved the kids to the opposite end of the pool.
For an hour, Julia and Shirley shared their hearts and their lives with me – the loss of a husband – the long-term effects of a nearly fatal car wreck – how they found God. I shared my journey as well. When I told them I was going to be speaking in Birch Run, Michigan, Julia gasped. “I live close to Birch Run. I’m coming to that conference. I’m just here visiting Shirley.” When it was time for me to go, the three of us joined hands in that pool and prayed for each other. Oh, how I love the way God orders my steps.
When I walked in the door of the condo and shared what had happened, our daughter Danna said, “And just think, Mom. What if you had not bought that suit? You would have missed those two women.”
Yes. I would have missed the blessings in the pool.
Don’t underestimate God.
There is nothing ordinary about your day.
There are people God places in your path for an eternal reason. The sales clerk where you shop needs to see God’s love in your smile. The unplanned stop where you run into a friend who needs encouragement is really an opportunity sent by God. You get your mail and see your neighbor in her front yard. Does she need to know that you care … so she can know God cares?
Wake each day with a “yes” in your heart. Then start looking.
Look for God in your circumstances … in the people you meet … in the unwelcome intrusion of a neighbor …in the infuriating behavior of a co-worker or the exasperating antics of your teenager. Look for the opportunity to show them God, and don’t miss the blessings.
Mary Southerland is an author, international speaker, Founder of Journey Ministry, and Co-founder of Girlfriends in God. Her books include Hope in the Midst of Depression, Sandpaper People, Escaping the Stress Trap, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry, Trusting God and Knowing God by Name.
Mary’s heart passion is to help women discover and live out their God-shaped identity and purpose in life. Connect with her on her website, Facebook, and Twitter!