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  • Writer's pictureJen Stone-Sexton

Discovering Treasures in Unexpected Places

Updated: Jan 17

Are you in a difficult season? Read the blog to find hope your heart needs for the holidays as you discover treasures in unexpected places.

Golden rays of sunlight cast soft pink across the winter sky as daylight gives way to night. I reflect on how God gives us our greatest treasures in unexpected places. A rose quartz sky in winter. Stars set like diamonds, brightest when the night is blackest. The Son of God born in a stable and laid in a manger – not a palace. An angel who visited shepherds out in the field to announce the birth of the Savior of the World – not the priests and learned in the temple. Entrusted to human parents who were the simple and ordinary among us – not the powerful or elite. (Luke 1-3)


Central to the stories in the Bible woven through history is the overarching theme of how God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise, the ordinary to do the extraordinary, and revealing that our greatest treasures are most often discovered in unexpected places.


What are the gifts in your life that you value most?


We may find ourselves on mountaintops in some seasons and wandering through valleys in others. Having more than enough in some seasons and barely getting by in others. Gracefully content in some seasons and aching with longing in others. Life ebbs and flows like that, doesn’t it?


When we are in a season of hard – hard pressed on every side – circumstances or people which are hard to deal with – hard decisions to make – hard losses we’re not sure we’ll ever recover from – hard realities we’d rather not face - our tendency is to resist or to try to control. To focus so much on what is hard, what we want to change, what we wish were different, that we can miss the gifts being presented to us in unlikely packages.


In the midst of difficult and challenging circumstances, gratitude has shifted not only my perspective, but my priorities.

In the process, self-sufficiency, pride and pretense have been stripped away to reveal God’s sufficiency, grace, and provision. My life was never meant to be about me. It is meant to be about Him.

{my graphics are inspirational gifts for you}


I recently worked through a Bible study by Aimee Walker, The Good Shepherd – Reflections on Psalm 23. 1 In doing so, I reflected on ten different translations of Psalm 23 as well as the significance of each verse through the eyes of a middle-eastern shepherd. Over and over again, as I read Psalm 23, I realized that none of this was about my striving efforts. Or about getting what I want. Or about avoiding hard places.


Psalm 23 is all about the Shepherd. What the Shepherd has done and continues to do for His sheep.

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, is the one engaged in the actions of Psalm 23, so I can trust Him. I can rest in Him. This realization has helped me let go of the striving, the fear of not enough, and the tendency to resist the hard places. It has helped me to look at my life with new eyes and see all the treasures to give thanks for.

He tends His flock like a shepherd;

He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart;

He gently leads those that have young.

Isaiah 40:11 (NIV)


God not only leads me. He also carries me and holds me close to His heart. He is tender and compassionate. Is that the way you see God? As one in whose arms you can rest and be carried? If not, what might need to change about your perception of God to align with what Scripture says about His nature? Is there a place that you need God to carry you in this season?

A pearl is formed when an irritant enters the oyster, turning something unwanted into something valuable.


For me, in this season, the pearl in the oyster of difficulties is one of deeper trust and recognizing with poignant clarity that the greatest gifs in life are not those that can be purchased or wrapped.



What gifts are you most grateful for? Where have you found treasure in unexpected places, turning something unwanted or irritating into something valuable? How will you allow that to shift your perspective?


{my graphics are inspirational gifts for you}


When we surrender our own self-sufficiency we open the door to experience the supernatural sufficiency of God. Trust the Lord with whatever you are facing in your life right now. He promises He will work it all out.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart;

do not depend on your own understanding.

Seek His will in all you do,

and He will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NLT)


A Prayer:

“Father, I praise You today for the treasures of darkness – for the many ways in which you sustain me and reveal Yourself to me. Thank you that every obstacle that I face today is an opportunity to encounter You in all Your goodness and glory. Thank You for offering me life in all its fullness. In Jesus name, amen.” 2


I wish for you a holiday season filled with hope and treasures in unexpected places!


The Good Shepherd, Reflections on Psalm 23 – A Joyful Life Study by Aimee Walker


Editor's Note:

This blog is by Jen Stone-Sexton, Founder and Certified Christian Life Coach. Jen is currently accepting new clients. You can learn more here.


If this devotional blog encouraged you, would you share it with a friend?


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Jennifer C. Stone-Sexton © 2023 Freedom to Flourish, LLC

All graphics created by Jennifer C. Stone-Sexton © 2023 Freedom to Flourish, LLC

All Rights Reserved.

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Credits:

Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Holy Bible, New Living Translation (NLT), Copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

1 The Good Shepherd, Reflections on Psalm 23 – A Joyful Life Study by Aimee Walker © 2019. All Rights Reserved. Used by permission. 2 ibid.

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