For months, I had the niggling thought that either I’d misunderstood God’s leading or, worse yet, that he’d forgotten about me. Circumstances made me question God’s providence. I felt all alone and forgotten, as though I’d been dumped into the wilderness and left there to fend for myself. 

Then I got a call from an old friend. “I have a present for you,” my sweet eighty-seven-year-old friend Almida told me.

Almida resides in an assisted-living facility. The pain in her hip is her constant companion, making an outing to any store a major ordeal. She’s frugal by necessity and has never been a believer in “good behavior” gifts. It wasn’t my birthday, and Christmas was long gone, so I couldn’t imagine what gift she might have for me.

“I’m going to give you my mink coat,” she continued in her heavy Russian accent, with a tone that suggested there would be no arguing. “Willy bought it for me, but I have no place to wear it. You should have it now.”

Her husband, Willy, had passed away nearly forty years before.

I did some quick math and calculated that this coat must be fifty years old. Oh dear, I thought. What in the world am I going to do with an ancient mink coat? This coat is probably wildly out of style. It might be missing tufts of fur. And, Where do I wear a fur coat? 

I tried to reason with her. “Almida, I’m a foot taller than you and outweigh you by … a lot! I doubt your coat will fit me.”

“Of course it will.” There was that tone again.

Not what you asked for.

Clearly, there was no delicate way around this, so I decided that I would love that coat even if I couldn’t get into it, even if it was out of style, even if it has signs of wear. Better on me than in a landfill somewhere. 

A couple months later, my speaking schedule landed me within an hour of Almida’s apartment.

She welcomed me in. Her face was full of what was either mischief or delight. After a bit of chit chat, she went to the cloak closet and pulled out what looked like an oriental bathrobe. Fur peeked out of the collar. I held my breath.

“I don’t know if you will like it, but I want you to have it,” Almida said as she unwrapped it. 

As she unpeeled the protective cloth covering, an immaculate dark brown mink coat with a black fox trim appeared. It looked brand new and was such a classic style no one would ever guess its age.

I slipped into it and twirled in front of the mirror. It was gorgeous! I was gorgeous! It fit like it was meant for me. 

More than you could have hoped for

What a gift and at the perfect time. This mink coat was more than a kindness from Almida. It was a divine reminder of God’s love. 

God used Almida and this extravagant present to reassure me that I had not been forgotten at all. It was as though God said, I see you and I’ve got you covered, Robyn. In every way, I’m watching over you and I have you covered.

Sigh.

Not what I expected. Not what I would have ever thought to ask for. So much better!

And he’s showed up this way over and over. This time it was a mink coat. Other times it has been an encouraging card in the mail or a good report from the doctor or a booking for a speaking engagement. 

God’s gifts may not look like we expect.

Are you in a season of wondering if God cares about you or even sees you? Does it seem like he led you into a wilderness and forgot where he left you? He hasn’t. He may not show up at your door with a mink coat, but his presents are always way beyond what we could ever imagine or hope for. They are all around us. We need only cast our concerns on him. He is listening and he cares deeply.

Verse for today: According to your love remember me, for you, Lord, are good. —Psalm 25:7

Prayer Father in heaven, thank you for the perfect reassurance and for your perfect timing. Even when I feel lost, you see me and have me covered with your love. I love you and trust you to fill in all the gaps and reassure me of your presence. In Jesus’ name, amen.

12 Comments

  1. Paula K Lude on September 19, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    I don’t know how I am feeling??? Just lost right now!!!
    I don’t go to Church, I struggle to pray, I don’t read my Bible.
    I lost my brother a year and a half ago and my dad this past May, the only two men to truly love me for me. I have had three failed marriages and I just struggle to do anything anymore. Housework, my job, paying bills, I can’t concentrate on anything!!!

    • Robyn Dykstra on September 20, 2021 at 1:30 am

      Well, no wonder Paula. Grief like you’re experiencing can be debilitating. Give yourself some grace, do the best you can, heal.
      I would encourage you to reengage with things or people you enjoy. Book club? Bowling league? Visit relatives? Attend a concert? Listen to music? After your big losses, ease back into real life.

      If you are chronically blue, consider seeing a grief counselor who can help you sort out your feelings and make recommendations for quicker healing.

  2. Alison Mangione on September 19, 2021 at 11:15 pm

    Thank you Robin for this encouraging words. God is so good isn’t he! God bless you

    • Robyn Dykstra on September 20, 2021 at 1:27 am

      He certainly is, Alison.

  3. Jennifer on September 19, 2021 at 11:49 pm

    Reading this I kept thinking about our house situation. It is not what we wanted just what worked for now and we have dreams of what we want, but I don’t feel a clear leading as to what we are supposed to do next. I know God is always there for me I just wonder if I am the reason I can’t hear His next step on this.

    • Robyn Dykstra on September 20, 2021 at 1:27 am

      Hey Jennifer – What I know is that God rarely runs on my timeline. In the absence of a new plan, stick with the last thing God told you. 🙂
      And make space for God to lead. Ask Him if it’s time to move then sit and wait for some kind of answer. If you get nothing after 10 minutes or so, ask again the next day.

  4. Susan Colflesh on September 20, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    Thank you for this word and this verse today. On a day where I am kinda gray and shook, I now remember so many “mink coats” that the Lord has wrapped me in, according to His great love. <3

    • Robyn Dykstra on September 20, 2021 at 6:05 pm

      That’s terrific, Susan. Thanks for posting and for remembering. 🙂

  5. Sue Prybylla on September 21, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    Good Morning Robyn,
    Have your ears been burning this morning? I shared your background with my brother, with whom we are co-authoring a book about our “childhood” if you can even call it that. That was when I felt forgotten or maybe abandoned, but GOD SHOWED UP in an EXTRAVAGANT way kind of like your ‘mint condition mink’. We are getting older, my brother and I, and our story has to be told. It isn’t pretty, but it is true. For the ones to follow us.
    Love you sis,
    Sue

    • Robyn Dykstra on September 27, 2021 at 12:47 am

      It’s important to share our stories so others can see the hand of God.

  6. Letha on October 14, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Bless you Robyn My daughter signed herself into a Psych hospital this week..Thank you for all your prayers. I’m doing so much better now,

    • Robyn Dykstra on October 14, 2021 at 7:20 pm

      That’s just wonderful news, Letha.

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