How did you do that?

How did you do that?
How did you do that?

How did you do that? This is the sort of question that, dependent on the emphasis, can mean many different things.

Surprised in a good way!

This year my husband has had his birthday during lockdown. That meant that the usual options for birthday treats, like going out for a meal, were not an option. Instead I offered to cook his favourite foods at home – and he asked could I make a Black Forest Gateaux? Well the answer was, a not very confident, possibly. I set to work to make a fat free chocolate cake, which you then fill with cherries and cream. Definitely not a healthy option, but I hoped that it tasted as nice as it looked. His reaction when he saw the cake was: ‘How did you do that?’ I knew he didn’t want me to explain the details of the recipe, and go through the step by step process of making, assembling and decorating the cake. It was something of a backhanded compliment, more like, ‘How did YOU do that?’

Surprised, in not such a good way…

A few years ago, when my sons were in their teens they often used to have friends round to the house. One day, when they were all in the lounge watching TV, from the kitchen, I heard the sound of breaking glass. When I went to investigate, I was greeted by a set of worried looking faces, and a broken glass light shade shattered all over the floor. Of course I said: ‘HOW did you do that?’ With the meaning of HOW, when you were all supposed to be watching TV, has someone broken the light fitting! Of course then there was a lengthy involved explanation of who was doing what and, why someone had thrown a cushion! Of course they hadn’t meant for it to happen, it was one of those ‘accidents.’ I’m sure there are many similar stories, in other family households….


Both stories are about expectations. Sometimes you can surprise someone in a good way, when you do something which is above or beyond what they expected. Then conversely there are those times when you are disappointed, when something happens as a consequence of behaviour which you certainly hadn’t expected.

In the same way, I have expectations of God, but frequently his timing in sending blessing and encouragement often surprises me. How he has worked things together at just the right time, to strengthen, and to provide. How did He do that? Amazing God.

And I thank God, that He doesn’t have the same expectations of me, when I mess up and I make mistakes. When I confess, there is no condemnation, no question of how did you do that? Just forgiveness and full restoration. Amazing God.

This post is part of the Five Minute Friday link-up – to write for five minutes on one word, today’s prompt was ‘How’.

Some of the other link ups I join can be found here.

12 thoughts on “How did you do that?

  1. Refreshing blog- very good. My expectations of myself and others are often too high and then I find myself disappointed. Sometimes my expectations of God are too high (translation getting the answer to my prayer in the way that I want it, when I want it) and then when God says no, I am disappointed. Later, I always find out that God’s way is so much better than my way. Anyway, thank you for this great little gem.

    Terri D
    #7 FMF

    1. Thanks for the encouragement – dealing with expectations, mainly my own unspoken ones, was something I was challenged with earlier this year!

  2. The cake looks great!

    Your essay brought to mind a memory of when I was riding a bit too hard on a BMX trail, and the bike wound up in a tree, ten feet off the ground. I kind of miscalculated a jump.

    Anyway, next guy rides up, roostertails his stop, looks up in awe, and says, “Dude, you have GOT to show me how you did that!”

  3. Ha ha…. yes. I love your perspective. When my kids were little I find them some up to some innocent mischief and it was “Now how did you do THAT?” I thank God that He is a gentle and loving Father that knows how and why we did it.

  4. Your cake looks amazing hope it tastes as good as it looks. I am also pleased God doesn’t have the same exoectations of me 😊 FMF #4

  5. Love this Sharon! Isn’t it funny that with both reactions we are surprised by God? When He provides us with something amazing we act as if His doing great things is unexpected and when He forgives us we can’t believe He would do that either. Thank you for your encouraging words!

  6. Thank you for sharing! Expectations can be tricky and yes, so thankful for God’s mercies with me! Visiting from FMF #43 this week. Pam D.

  7. That cake looks fabulous! I love when I get a How did YOU do that? in a surprised sort of way as it does feel like a rather nice compliment.

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