Surprise Parties and Humble Pie | UMC YoungPeople
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September 2010

Surprise Parties and Humble Pie

By: Mandy Burbank

I was twenty and my husband Scott was nineteen when we got engaged. Our trip to the Alabama Shakespeare Festival, where we saw The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde, was my birthday present from him. When it was time to be seated we were ushered down a long and quiet hallway I’d never seen at the familiar festival and into the box seats. Much to my surprise, waiting for me were two vases bursting full of overwhelmingly fragrant and very red roses.

Scott quickly informed me that there were twenty five roses, because Josh had only given Jennifer two dozen. Jennifer, my best-friend, had a boyfriend who was well known to bring roses for no reason at all. I didn’t realize that I was so competitive, but I guess Scott knew me better than I knew myself.

In a similar way that kept me away from surprises, I had been watching every financial decision Scott made for months, and was whining that if he went on another scuba diving trip, he would never save enough money to buy me an engagement ring. Regardless of the fact he was living at home and working two jobs to go to school on a scholarship!

Little did I know that he already had the ring during the time I spent complaining and was already planning the perfect moment to propose. I am amazed and grateful that because of my inability to be surprised that he didn’t decide it would be awful to live with a nagging wife and take the solitaire back.

So, mixed with all the joy and the sweet scent of roses, will always be a hint of humble pie. Sadly it wasn’t the last time that my strong urge to control made it difficult for Scott to plan a surprise for me. And when it’s all said and done, who doesn’t love that someone went to so much trouble to keep something a surprise?

The prior question is usually meant to be rhetorical, but my mother is an important exception. Scott told everyone else what he was up to, but he was afraid that she wouldn’t be able to keep herself from ruining the surprise. My mother was very hurt that she wasn’t considered trustworthy and sulked for quite a while. Like my mother I seem to be controlled more than I recognize by deep-seated fears and insecurities. I am grateful that God has given me a husband who is quick to forgive, even when he is misunderstood.

I am earnest when I say that I hope I’ve learned my lesson by now, ten years later; I do not always understand his methods, but I know his heart. He loves me like his princess. When I give him the benefit of the doubt and let go of control, there is joy and peace. The very best surprise is finding out that when I thought I should be upset or offended, I was wrong!

This is a glimpse along the winding path I’ve taken on the road to trust and learning to be surprised. I am still learning. In many ways it has been through my husband’s patience and consistency that I have discovered how to believe that God loves me, even when I cannot comprehend what He is doing. In some ways it is harder to trust God because we think we cannot see him. But it is also easier, because unlike Scott, God is not a man. He will not change; He will not fail; He will not make a mistake. He is completely trustworthy! He is always motivated by love, because He is the definition, the source of love. I thank God every day for His Love and for all of the earthly love He has given me.

Discussion Question: What is a humbling experience God has used in your life?

See more devotions from Mandy and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.