I’ve always loved giving gifts … and I’ve always loved receiving them too! I hesitate slightly in telling you this because, well, it sounds so worldly doesn’t it? But somehow, a well thought out gift whispers “I love you” to my soul.
And so I give to others to whisper my love into their hearts too – to show them, “I thought of you. I’ve taken the time to know you. You’re important enough to me I’m willing to invest in you.”
While I’ve recognized, for quite some time now, giving and receiving gifts expresses other’s love to me and mine to them, there’s another’s love that can be expressed in this too. One whose I hadn’t fully considered until recently – God’s.
As Leann Rice writes in her devotion, Meaningful Gifts, in the Real Life Devotional Bible for Women:
“Thoughtful gifts communicate a message to the special people in our lives: God sees you, loves you and knows what you delight in.”
I came to experience this quote in action last weekend through a gift from our neighbor.
A year ago my husband and I purchased a house. One that came with a looong project list! And last weekend I was feeling rather defeated by this list. Not only have we managed NOT to shorten it, but it’s actually grown … like a lot … which causes this action and results kind of gal to respond with an exasperated, “Ugh!”
Perhaps you too?
Well, I decided to do what all “good” little result driven gals do in times like these – I went outside to rake up the maple leaves in our front yard.
Yep, ACTION BABY!
But unfortunately, I also decided to use this time to have a little chat with God. A chat which started a little something like this:
“Is it too much to ask for some sort of progress forward to be felt Lord?! …”
Oh how I wish I could say my poor choice ended there! But it didn’t. I then proceeded to rehearse to Him ALL the items on our list that were still unfinished. Every. Single. One.
Hmmm, I wonder why I felt so defeated?
If this had been a conversation my daughter had with her daddy, I would’ve wanted to throw the gauntlet down – tell her she was being disrespectful to her father and challenge her to have a grateful heart and positive focus … or something like that.
But what did GOD do in response to ME? Well THAT was something entirely different!
THE HEART LESSON:
While raking and wallowing in my woes to God, my husband came out and said, “By the way, our neighbor wants to give us her patio table and chairs.”
Do you know what one of the “woes” on my list happened to be? Yep. A patio set project. And now we were being given an already complete one for FREE? Seriously God?! You’re going to reward me despite my ungrateful, grumbling behavior towards Your already amazing gift of a home? So unworthy!
But then, as I sat having breakfast with my girl on that patio set the next morning, a hush of God’s love fell over my unworthy heart.
God wasn’t REWARDING me despite my behavior. He was LOVING me despite my behavior.
By God moving in the heart of our neighbor to give us her patio table and chairs, He was confirming I am His beloved. He was whispering to my heart:
“I SEE YOU, Katrina, feeling defeated and discouraged by an ever growing project list.
I LOVE YOU, Katrina, so much I’m willing to overlook your grumbling response and give to your defeated heart so that you can more fully see and know the depth of the love I have for you.
And I KNOW YOU, Katrina, how you would delight in having a table to sit at to do your Bible study on the porch – a place outside to connect and gather round with family and friends to eat.”
So, while the patio set wasn’t one I would’ve chosen for myself or anything like what was on our project list to make, I love it, because in it I see a hand-chosen gift from my father – His love expressed through a hand-me-down table.
And the further realization of the depth of God’s love for me? Well, THAT my friends is REAL progress forward. Not just an item checked off a project list, but a lesson checked off the project I AM, because I got it – message received, felt, learned and shared.
CALL TO ACTION:
*How is God working to expand your view of His love for you?
*How is He calling you to help demonstrate His love to others?
May all our hearts be open and respond to the love God is wanting to pour into us and through us today.