Joy Unexpected …

Have you ever been asked to do something you really didn’t want to do but found yourself saying yes? Only to find out that you would have missed something amazing if you had opted out?

That’s what recently happened to me.

I’ve been asked to participate on a committee for our church’s women’s retreat. My first inclination was to say no. Give the excuse that I am operating at capacity and didn’t have room for one more responsibility.

But I said yes.

Then I received the request to travel to the retreat location. The first couple of times there were valid reasons; scheduling conflicts and I couldn’t make the trip. On the third attempt to plan the road trip I couldn’t find a way out.

My excuse I wanted to give? It just happened that I’d had a hectic week and wanted my weekend to myself so that I could rest and rejuvenate. I didn’t want to make small talk or be out in the cold.

And frankly the words “campground” and “cabin” created mental images of outhouses or toilet paper rolls in the woods. I wasn’t always a luxury loving lady but I doubted that I’d made the right decision about facilitating a retreat in the woods.

But I said yes.

I am so thankful I did. If I hadn’t I would have missed out on a beautiful autumn day with two fabulous ladies whom I admire.

And, it turns out “campground” and “cabin” in this location is equivalent to condos near the lake with Wi-Fi and other modern conveniences like indoor plumbing, wood floors, and gas fireplaces. Each condo is appropriately named to entice folks to come for a retreat:

  • Peace
  • Joy
  • Happiness
  • Hope
  • Faith
  • Rest

I need to enter through one (if not more) of these doors. We’ve rented out the first three.

If I hadn’t said yes, I would have missed out watching my friends’ children and grandchildren playing together. Laughing and enjoying the crisp and clear fall day. Seeing the next generation forming relationships did my heart good.

If I hadn’t said yes, I would have missed the spectacular view of Lake Michigan from the gazebo where people may choose to say “I do”. A tribute to ceremony and commitment. I love it.

If I hadn’t said yes, I would have missed these scenic views of the lake. I needed the beauty and serenity of this place. It revitalized me more than sleeping in could have done.

If I hadn’t said yes, I would have missed this quaint little building:  The Prayer Chapel. It’s only tall enough for you to enter and kneel. How amazing and humbling!

And best of all it allowed me to come back and share these wonders. It will allow me to promote the retreat with an enthusiasm and excitement. I am so thankful for the unexpected joy I experienced by saying YES when I wanted to say no.

What are you’re unexpected joy moments? I’d love to hear them.

Photo credits:  Gail A. Hanson


  1. What a beautiful story. I’m so glad you said ‘yes’ as well because I got to see all these beautiful pictures and that perfect little chapel! I think the last time I was grateful for saying ‘yes’ was when I got married 😀

  2. Yay, Gail! Love this story.

    I’ve been working on saying “yes” to more opportunities as well…like recently when I decided to perform at that fashion show even though I had sworn off performing forever. It was an incredible experience. I am so glad I said yes.

  3. Unexpected Joy was discovered one day listening to Pandora with the kids, listening to the horrid, ear piercing Chipmunks. But then a song came on and we were all singing at the top of our lungs and it was then that I realized that I love this life that I am living. It was pure joy (and off-tune fun!)

  4. How fabulous is this! It looks so relaxing I want to go. What a great little chapel and what a great post to give perspective regarding saying no when God is trying to show you something. Reminds us to consult God on all decisions.

  5. Phil Hanson says:

    Love those unexpected, pleasant surprises!

  6. Thanks for the link back Stephanie.


  1. […] Joy Unexpected Sometimes, we get what we need even when we don’t want to be there. […]

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