Kristine Gifford

I’ll bet you’re familiar with the story of Joseph from the Old Testament. He is the youngest of Jacob’s twelve sons and his dad’s favorite. His brothers are jealous of Joseph and come up with a great idea: kill him. But instead, they end up selling him into slavery. Joseph’s life is then pretty much one big adventure, taking him from slavery to prison to the high courts of the Egyptian Pharaoh and to the precipice of power. He saves his family from starvation (along with the entire kingdom of Egypt) and ultimately reunites with–and forgives–his brothers. (Hmmm, I think this would make a great movie . . .) Joseph lived what might be termed the “unexpected life.” And that might be a huge understatement.

How many of us are living “unexpected lives?” I have a friend that lost her husband to cancer when her youngest child was three. She raised five kids without a husband. I know quite a lot of families who had a child born with autism, a heart condition, or other disability, who had to vastly change their expectations of what their life would be like. Who expected a pandemic? Many people expect they will marry and have a family, but they don’t. How many people ended up in Sidney, Montana (a place they had never heard of) for jobs in the oil field during the last oil boom? I’m fairly certain that we all experience unexpected events that turn our lives upside down and force us to go in totally different directions from our original plans.

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