An Unlikely Gift

“God is the ultimate recycler. There’s nothing he can’t use for a better purpose.” – Anthony DeStephano

Yes, I know. If you’re in the middle of craziness, that quote probably makes you want to gag. I get it. Really.

And so does today’s guest, Julie Sunne. As a woman who fought to become a mom, and whose life as mom looks a lot different than she imagined, Julie shares what helped her get from “This can’t be happening!” to “I’m so thankful it did.”

Who doesn’t need a little of that encouragement today??!


Surprised By The Unlikely

by Julie Sunne

I grew up expecting, and living, a “normal” life. I’d go to school, get a job, get married, have children, take vacations, grow old and die. Nothing spectacular. Nothing out of the ordinary.

That’s just how life is supposed to proceed, right?

And it did go like that . . .for a while.

Then it didn’t. When I lost five babies through early miscarriage, then birthed a daughter with significant disabilities, my reality became something totally unexpected.

I reeled in denial. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be!

I’d bought into the lie that life happens a certain way, and when it didn’t, I was thrown off guard, bewildered and angry.

But the beauty of a life orchestrated by a sovereign, loving God is that He uses our new normal for 0ur good. He surprises us by using the unlikely.

As my daughter, Rachel, grew up agonizingly slow in ability, I struggled with questions:

What could she could contribute?

Where would she fit in?

I tried to force my understanding of what her reality should look like. I knew God didn’t make her this way by accident, but for years I couldn’t get beyond her disabilities to see His possibilities.

Ever so slowly, I began to realize that her purpose lay in the fact that she had a different reality.

Rachel’s “disabilities” give her a wonderful ability to minister where others cannot. She can reach into the depths of one’s heart where others don’t notice or can’t reach. She isn’t hindered by subtleties and fears of acceptance or acceptability. She just reacts—to whatever is needed at the moment. She loves unconditionally and draws out the best in people.

She’s not the only one. Using the unlikely is God’s normal.

According to Scripture, He chose crooked tax collectors, lowly fisherman, shepherd boys, teenagers, children, even a persecutor of His people to play prominent roles in His plan.

Today, He surprises us by using contemporary “unlikelies” to fulfill His plan:

  • A young writer, ill-prepared to speak, touched the lives of many young ladies as she hesitantly, yet repeatedly, shared her broken past on a recent mission trip.
  • A sexual abuse victim is finding freedom, and encouraging healing in other victims, by telling her story through the written and spoken word.
  • A man with no arms and no legs is becoming a national motivator.
  • A husband and father who lost his entire family in a tragic accident is proclaiming the hope that is found in Christ.
  • A teenager born with significant mental and physical delays, who will likely never live on her own, is pointing the way to a life of joy and purpose.

Rachel and others who “different,” and those who have lived broken and battered pasts surprise us with unlikely answers for a joy-filled, purpose-driven life.

They teach the rest of us how to love sacrificially. They challenge us to live like our Lord.

These “unlikely” lead us to live selflessly, to serve, to crucify our desires for a higher cause, to put our own bodies on the cross—expecting nothing in return—just as Jesus Christ did for you and me. They teach us to embrace our new normal.

Because in God’s economy, the most important tasks are often given to the least likely.

If we’re honest, you and I look an awful lot like those least likely at times. We all have our moments like Gideon:

“‘Pardon me, my lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.’ The Lord answered, ‘I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites, leaving none alive’” (Judges 6:15–16).

Question for you: Are you in an “unlikely” circumstance right now? How has God surprised you with the unlikely?


“Hello, I’m Julie, an imperfect wife and mother of four. Life in this broken world is not always easy. Yet, joy can be found in each day through the grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ. May the posts on my site offer you a measure of peace and encouragement.”

Connect with Julie on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest, too!

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  1. says

    Another great post Julie. Great observation about the real people used by God in the Bible. Not exactly a team of “beautiful people” on the surface but they changed the world! So can we! Keep striving to make an eternal difference because you are!

  2. says

    Thanks for the honor of guest posting on your encouraging site, Laurie. May others develop the confidence to live with joy through your ministry.

    • says

      I’m so glad you shared here. Your story really gets me thinking about my thinking. What wonderful things are hiding in the inconveniences and frustrations today? Some powerful perspective there!