Morning sunshine danced off the dew on the deck railing as I glanced out the window. “This is not where I want to be, God,” I whined.

Serious health challenges had caused my once active in-laws to be in need of some temporary care. Care that I was happy to let someone else provide, thank you very much! And yet, I had volunteered to come. I had even prayed that God would change my less-than-stellar attitude. But the truth is I wanted to whine. I really didn’t want to be here even if was only for a week. I didn’t mind visiting the out-in-the-boonies, no-Internet house on my terms, but right now was not a good time for this visit. I had other plans for my time, other plans for what it might look like for me to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Other plans. So I stood at the window, grumbling.

Then I saw them. Ears raised in cautious unison, they stared silently at me through the railing. Four sets of big brown eyes locked on my pouting face. The deer didn’t move, didn’t flinch. I stared back. Their lingering gaze gently began melting the hardened places of my heart. In 30 seconds of staring stillness, the ordinary became sacred.

I know it was just a little encounter with four deer. People see deer all the time. But in this hold-my-breath moment, God’s quiet voice whispered to my heart. “Are you going to let me decide your mission? In the smallest, most mundane ways, will you let me work? Even in places you don’t want to go?”

“Yes,” I said out loud. “YES!”

As suddenly as it began, it was over, this extraordinary slice of ordinary. Nothing changed but everything changed. I wanted to be where two minutes earlier I dreaded to be. The deer turned and lowered their heads to search for more to eat. I lowered my head in humble submission, and then I lifted my head with a smile. “Thanks, Jesus!”

And you? Not quite where you planned to be right now? I don’t know what God will do, but how about a couple minutes of being still? If God can use a stare down with four silent creatures to speak to my selfish, pouting heart, I’m sure he can do something extraordinary for you!

by DeeAnn Bragaw


“Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10

God, please stop me in my tracks if you need to, even for a minute, so I can sense you in the stillness. Be in charge of this day so my ordinary is extraordinary.

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