On rainbows and matching changing mats

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Recently on a visit a friend gave me an unexpected gift. Not only was the gift itself a surprise, but its content was too. It was a changing bag. Although I’ve been a parent for three years now I have never, believe it or not, owned a changing bag.

As two people in ministry, we live on a tight budget. I don’t feel that we’ve ever been short of anything, it’s just that we don’t spend more on any one thing than we really need to. And when, early on, I discovered that calling it a changing bag meant a markup of at least £20, I decided that a big slouchy bag would do just fine. Nevertheless it surprised me how tickled I was to find myself the proud owner of a brand new, honest-to-goodness changing bag- complete with insulated bottle pocket and matching mat. And for no particular reason; my friend just wanted to do something nice. I was truly touched.

A few weeks ago on a different visit we said our farewell to Scotland- a place we’ve spent many happy times. On the drive home we were treated to a stunning display of nature; there were literally rainbows everywhere we looked. One of them, a perfect arc, had two layers of the most clear, defined colors we’d ever seen. It was breathtaking. It stayed with us for miles.

I think that Christians feel a certain affinity for rainbows. Of course we know that they are just refracted light, caused by particular weather conditions. But go on admit it- they bring a tantalizing air of mystery all their own. We remember the story of Noah and we start to wonder… What was it like? Did God really send the rainbow as a promise for all, or was that just a one off? Then we might start to speculate: is it possible that God might have a message just for me?

It struck me as I was mulling over the usual questions that I never just assume that the good things apply to me personally. When it comes to rainbows, I remind myself of the science and move on. But on that particular day, the rainbows felt personal. And a new question came to mind: is it possible that God has something good ahead for us, just because He likes to give gifts?

I have no science to back that one up- and not a lot of theology either. Just a hunch. Of course, it doesn’t take long to look around and see the good things He’s already given. Two beautiful daughters when once we thought we might never have any… a husband and friends who love me despite the stupid things I say and do… a place to call home… peace in the simple knowledge that I’m valued and loved by God… do you see the rainbows? They’re everywhere.

Has God ever given you a gift that surprised you? Do tell!

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2 thoughts on “On rainbows and matching changing mats

  1. Last night I was babysitting a little girl I’ve come to adore named Hazel. She’s 3. As I was tucking her in and wishing her sweet dreams I asked what she wanted to dream and she said “You.” Such a sweet answer completely unaffected by the fact that it would make me happy. It was just get truth cause we’re buds. That was an awesome rainbow, you know, metaphorically. :-)

  2. My children give me rainbows everyday. Sometimes they’re very LOUD, sometimes it’s little hands offering to tie my laces, and sometimes it’s watching them punch the air because they did something all by themselves. xx

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