A Glorious Unfolding
Dena Johnson MartinDena Johnson is a former single mom to three amazing kids: Blake, Cole, and Cassie and wife to her high school friend, Roy. She strives to follow Christ each day and to lead her children to do the same. She delights in taking the every day experiences of life and turning them into biblical lessons for her children. Dena's daily prayer is simple: Lord, my life is yours. Live through me. Love through me. Parent through me. Let me decrease that you might increase. Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find beauty through the brokenness of this life. Her heart's desire is to use her own pain to point others to the power of God who redeems every hurt, every pain. You can contact Dena at Dena@denajohnson.com. You can also find her blog at Dena Johnson Ministries.
- 2015 Oct 21
~~A few years ago, I planned a huge Christmas surprise for my kids.
I had been planning for months. I wanted to make sure that it was a fun, exciting surprise, not just a simple unwrap the gift and the excitement is over kind of gift. So, I prepared a Christmas scavenger hunt that would lead them to the best Christmas gift they had ever received!
On Christmas day, I picked my kids up from their dad around 10:00 am. We got home, opened gifts, and the kids ran over to their grandparents—oblivious that there was still a big surprise waiting for them. I chased them down and explained that the fun was just beginning.
And with that, I handed them an envelope with a clue.
I’m not sure how the kids felt at that moment, but I know that I was just about to burst. I had been waiting for this moment for months. The excitement was about to kill me as I waited to see the joy on my kids’ faces when they found the actual gift!
The kids opened their first clue and quickly figured out their next destination. Off they went to the barn where they found another clue. They worked together, going from one clue to the next. Traversing the neighborhood in search of the next elusive clue. Appearing at their teacher’s house to read the Christmas story, only to be rewarded with a clue. Christmas caroling to a neighbor to find yet another clue.
Finally, they came to a gift-wrapped box. As they ripped the paper off the box, anticipation growing and wondering if their mom had lost her mind, they found a jigsaw puzzle. A Mickey Mouse jigsaw puzzle. I instructed them to put the puzzle together. Around the edges of the puzzle was written, “We are going to Disney World!”
Yes, I had planned a trip to Disney World, a reward for having walked through the darkest days of our lives. A celebration of how far we had come. An exclamation point to say, “We have made it…together!” I had given a gift of a lifetime. I had been able to bless my kids with an incredible gift, and it brought me great joy to see my kids’ excitement.
I had more fun planning for this gift, this scavenger hunt. I spent weeks researching airline prices, finding the best tickets to the theme parks, deciding where we would stay. I had talked to others, made plans with neighbors and family, to make the scavenger hunt as much fun as possible. I don’t know how much fun the kids had, but I had so much fun! My anticipation of the big reveal was almost more than I could handle!
Giving a good gift to my children was the joy of a lifetime!
Today, I was on a long drive alone with plenty of time to think. I began to think back on a recent conversation I had with God. (It was really a pity party, but I will characterize it as a conversation.)
It went something like this:
Me: “God, I am really tired of this season,” I began. “You have promised me that it’s almost over, that you have great plans. I really need to see some movement. I need to see you reveal yourself.”
God: “Write your book,” came the quiet, gentle voice.
Me: “Ok. I hear you God. I am working on it. But you know how tired I am. How am I supposed to write a book when I have three kids, a full-time job, and all kinds of other responsibilities? And, I am sick. You have to do something. Haven’t I been faithful enough? Can’t you see that it’s time?”
God: “Write your book,” was his gentle reply.
On and on we went. I had my pity party, and God quietly reminded me to write my book. Be faithful. Do what he’s called me to. Focus on the task at hand, the command he has given me.
As time has passed, I have kept that conversation with God in my head. Every time I find myself frustrated, I remember that I am supposed to write my book. I have a very real sense that there are big changes coming… after I write my book.
I have only three chapters left in my book as I write this blog post. I have been plugging away, slowly but surely. In the midst of my crazy life, I have been putting words on paper, pouring out my heart in words that I pray will touch many.
And today, as I drove alone to meet up with my kids, I meditated on that conversation—along with the song Glorious Unfolding by Steven Curtis Chapman. I began to sense that on the other side of this book, on the other side of this manuscript, there’s an amazing gift. I am soon to see the glorious unfolding of God’s great plan.
And, I had a vision. A vision of God sitting in heaven, encouraging me to write…just as I encouraged my kids to follow the clues for the scavenger hunt. He knows the plan, the surpise…just as I knew the great prize waiting for my kids. He has spent years working out all of the details, working everything together for my good…just as I spent months planning all the details for my kids’ trip to Disney World. He knows that my heart’s desires will soon be fulfilled…just as I knew how excited my kids would be.
And he can’t wait to see the look on my face, to see the joy that this glorious unfolding will bring to my life.
He is the good Father who loves to lavish good gifts on his children. He is overflowing with excitement as he waits to reveal all the details. He is about to burst in anticipation of what is coming.
I must simply be faithful, obedient. I must focus on his current command. I must continue on the path he has laid out for me.
And, one day soon, I will see his great plan unfold as he takes great joy in pouring out his blessings on me.
And you? He has great plans for you, plans far greater than you could ever ask or imagine. Plans for an abundant life, filled with all the best he has to offer. He only asks that you listen to his commands, walk in obedience, and wait patiently for him to act. He can’t wait to lavish you with his great gifts!
What a great Father we serve!