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Dianne Barker here, doing my favorite thing—spreading encouragement.

I’ve chosen my verse for 2017. “…Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it” (Malachi 3:10b).

What would “so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it” look like? I couldn’t fathom what God has designed, but I feel confident—since he led me to that verse—it will be amazing.

But I’ve learned to be attentive because his amazing packages don’t always come in shimmering paper with billowing bows. Some come in rough wrappings—brown paper and twine.

We’ve had plenty of those surprise gifts, haven’t we? Hidden blessings. Treasures in unexpected places. Disappointments the Lord used in amazing ways.

He has a way of turning baffling bits of life into something beautiful, adding value and worth to our story.

I choose to remember this—when a package comes wrapped in brown paper and twine. The gift doesn’t seem pleasing…but later, after I looked closely, deep in the crinkled wrapping I find a blessing.

The year is young. While I pray and plan, I won’t attempt to guess what’s coming. I’m satisfied knowing this:

  • The Lord is good. My circumstances don’t alter that fact.
  • He goes before me.
  • He designs my steps.
  • He has a purpose in everything that touches my life.
  • He will provide sufficient grace.

There. I’ve encouraged myself. I hope you feel encouraged, too.

“Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant” (Psalm 135:3).

Dianne Barker is a speaker, radio host, and author of 11 books, including the best-selling Twice Pardoned and award-winning I Don’t Chase the Garbage Truck Down the Street in My Bathrobe Anymore! Organizing for the Maximum Life. She’s a member of Christian Authors Network, Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, and Christian Women in Media Association. Visit www.diannebarker.com.

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