A Very Good Surprise

Gratitude Day 2834

Tues., June 11, 2019

Psalm 139:15 – Nothing about me is hidden from you! I was secretly woven together deep in the earth below,

Every once in a while, it’s fun to pull off a secret adventure.

Last week, with the help of several friends, we surprised our friend Pam Karg.

Pam is a woman who likes to think she’s always in the “know.” She knows this person and she knows that person. Often, she connects various people when she thinks there would be a mutual benefit in two people knowing each other. She knows what’s going on whether she’s living in America or Armenia. She honors herself in being connected, informed and knowledgeable a little about a whole lot of things.

Because Pam likes to be the one in the “know,” this is why it was even more significant that the surprise was on her. She didn’t know what was happening until the very last minute.

Pam flew back to American to participate in the Cooperative Communications Association (CCA) Annual Institute. This is an organization which she has been involved for decades. CCA’s membership is comprised of various folks who work in communications for American co-ops. Some are writers, others are photographers and there are those who simply love working with other communicators. Pam was a speaker at the institute. What she didn’t know is that she was also receiving the organization’s highest honor, the H.E Klinefelter award.

A group of CCA members nominated Pam for the award. Interestingly, Pam was the 60th recipient of this award and in just a few weeks, she will turn 60.  Pam’s Mom, Mary, wanted to attend the banquet where Pam would receive the award. My role was to assist Mary in getting to Savannah, Georgia and to the banquet.

Was Pam surprised? More like shocked. Overwhelmed. Caught completely off-guard. When Mary and I arrived at the social hour preceding the banquet, Pam literally had to leave the room for a hot minute to compose herself. Did I mention this is a woman who is never at a loss for words?

It was a fun evening honoring and recognizing Pam’s lifetime of work and achievement. She’s not only worked for co-op’s in the United States; she has taught about co-op’s and communication in Armenia, Georgia and multiple African countries. For the last 15 years, Pam has been globetrotting to various countries and locations, sharing her heart and passion for agriculture, women and her faith. Whether it was teaching African woman how to preserve food or assisting Armenia college students who were applying for colleges in the United States, Pam has selflessly given of herself and her time.

Yes, Pam can be loud and boisterous. Yes, she likes to be the life of the party. And yes, there have been times when, as her pastor, I’ve had to encourage her to tone it down or see it from someone else’s perspective. Yet under all of that brazen exterior, there’s a heart of gold that only wants others to find joy and peace in their lives.

When I think of the various people with whom I’ve been acquainted with during the five plus decades of my life, I see all different kinds of individuals and personalities. It amazes me how God has specifically granted us unique and special gifts to use for the glory and honor of God’s kingdom. Pam’s gifts are so specific for her and her heart. What she does is so unlike any other of my friends. This is what makes her special and unique.

When God calls us into a new or different way of ministry, sometimes, we can be caught completely off-guard. Pam could have decided that God’s call in her life was too radical or unexpected. Instead, she accepted the surprise that she would live most of the last 15 years overseas. She has chosen to live and work with folks who do not have the amenities that most of us in first-world countries do.

Few people are called to serve the way Pam has been called. When initially Pam felt a stirring in her heart to spend six weeks in Armenia serving, she never expected this to turn into 15 years and multiple countries. Yet, it has.

Often, we’d like to think we have good senses of humor. But the One who REALLY has a great sense of humor? It’s God. Countless times, I’ve seen God show up in a completely unexpected way and surprise so many people. As much as I’d like to take a little credit for Pam’s big surprise last week, I know the real orchestrator of this whole deal wasn’t a small group of people. Nope. It was God who worked in and through a whole bunch of people for this surprise to come to fruition.

Yes, God needs lots of people to be God’s hands and feet and voices and ears. Too often, we like to take credit for something that could only have been orchestrated by someone bigger than you and I. For some reason, we sinful human beings are so much quicker to blame God when something awful happens but then pat ourselves on the back when something special comes through. How easy it is to overlook the real possibly that someone bigger than you and me planted and watered seeds for this awesome thing to happen.

While you may or may not have been called to serve and travel to different parts of the world, God has a special call for you to fulfill in your life. Today. Tomorrow. Next week. Do you know what it is? Are you listening … or simply making excuses because God’s call seems a bit too audacious to your liking?

What I admire about Pam is that she heard this call … and accepted it. As the call and opportunities have opened to additional countries and for longer periods of time, Pam has continued to listen to God and God’s messengers in her life. She makes no secret about wanting to do this in her life.

I pray that we see God’s call in our lives right now. I pray that we understand the calling and implementation of the call is far more important than any accolade or recognition we might receive. I pray we are inspired by people like Pam who maybe a little crazy but are just crazy enough to listen closely to God and follow God’s lead in his/her life. Most importantly, I pray that you won’t keep God’s calling in your life a secret but rather feel compelled to share it with others.

For God’s special call in your and my lives, I am grateful.

Almighty God – it is amazing how you gift and call us to serve Your kingdom. Help us not be afraid to do something that seems big and audacious and challenging. May we accept Your special call in our lives for today. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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