Unexpected Ribbons

by Adria Wilkins

When I was twelve years old, I started learning to sew with a fun project in home economics: a denim bag with drawstrings. Then our class moved onto something more challenging. We made a travel bag with multiple pockets for toiletries and other items. I made my travel bag out of yellow washcloths, and I worked on it for weeks.  Little did I know there were more lessons, other than sewing, to learn in the weeks ahead.

All of this was building up to a 4-H competition, where both of my bags would be entered in the sewing contests. Many of my friends would be going, and I couldn’t wait for the event to arrive.

That is, until I figured out it was planned for a Wednesday night. My father was a minister and our church's weekly prayer meetings were held on Wednesdays. It was essentially a mini-version of Sunday mornings, with worship songs and a sermon. Our family never missed it.

Sure enough, my parents told me I couldn’t go to the 4-H competition. They said if it were God's plan for me to win, it didn’t matter if I was there or not. I cried, but I decided to stop thinking about it and go to church. In Ephesians 6:1-3 (NIV), it says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother–which is the first commandment with a promise–so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth.”

Later that night, after church was over, there was a knock at our door. My parents answered and called me to the doorway. A woman I didn’t recognize introduced herself as one of the 4H leaders. In her hands were 1st and 3rd place ribbons for me. As I clasped them in my hands, I was smiling from ear to ear. My whole evening turned from sadness to gladness.

“See? We said you could still win whether you were there or not,” my mother said. “God blessed you for being obedient,” my dad added.

There are many times when our families, or God, want us to go in a different direction, and we may struggle to accept those plans. It’s normal to feel that way, and it’s also okay to vent or be upset.

God’s plan for us is good. We only need to trust Him and wait and let His plans unfold. Proverbs 19:21 (NIV) says “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” God has our best interest in mind. Just like parents want the best for their children, our Heavenly Father only wants the best for His children.


  • What area in your life are you excited about, but God seems to be wanting you to wait?
  • Ask God to give you peace about the situation and be open to His will.


© Copyright 2017 by Adria Wilkins

Adria Wilkins writes and speaks about how what's in our “box" called life is often is unexpected. After suffering the unthinkable—death of three-year-old Blake—Adria found that Jesus sustains and even surprises His followers with joy. She is writing a collection of short pieces called Joy Box Stories pointing to that conclusion. Adria lives in Virginia with her husband, Erik, children Katie and Anthony, and dog, Heidi.

Connect with her at her Facebook page, Jox Box, and at her website, joyboxstories.com.



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This post is a part of our Delighting in God’s Goodness series. Check out our other posts to focus on more aspects of God's goodness and provision:

  1. Delighting in God’s Goodness: A New Series
  2. Delighting in God’s Constant Presence
  3. Delighting in God’s Unsurpassable Gift by Del Bates
  4. Delighting in God’s Training by Lauren Craft
  5. Delighting in God’s “Eye”
  6. When Your Birthday Wish Comes True
  7. Is God Still Good When Life Hurts? by Denise Roberts
  8. The Almighty: A Poem Based on Psalm 18


God’s timing, obedience, Delighting in God’s Goodness series, Unexpected Ribbons, Adria Wilkins, Lighthouse Bible Studies

Comments (4)

  • anon

    Thank you for sharing! Blessings do  come with obedience!

    Jul 13, 2017
  • anon

    Thank you Denise. Have a joy-filled day!

    Jul 13, 2017
  • anon

    Adria, what a wonderful example of waiting for God's best! So glad you were faithful to obey your parents AND get the reward for your hard sewing work. 

    Jul 13, 2017
  • anon

    Adria, I can just imagine how excited you were to receive your ribbons! Your post is a good reminder about the importance of obedience. 

    Jul 13, 2017

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