What Do You Think About Gifts?

IMG_3674I LOVE giving gifts.  Like really love it.

This year I’ve been careful though.  I’ve set a certain amount of gifts each child will receive and an amount I’m willing to spend.  So far, I’m doing pretty well with it.  Although I’ve been known to blow the whole budget in a minute so the jury is out whether I will make it to Christmas without splurging.  I’m determined not to.

There are a lot of articles and blogs out there talking about not being so focused on giving.  And I do understand that, but I think sometimes we can get so caught up in not being caught up we are kinda caught up in that….does that make sense?

I’m all for moderation, but I can’t deny loving giving gifts.  And after all,

Christmas is about a Gift.

A tremendous Gift of love.  A thought-about, thought-through, sacrificial, expensive Gift.

There is a place for giving gifts, maybe not gifts simply for the sake of giving and getting.

Gifts for the sake of blessing.

Right now, the gift that God is most blessedly giving me…repeatedly…is the reminder of the Gospel and all it means to my every day.  My every day needs for forgiveness, peace, and hope.

Oh how I need forgiveness.

How I long for peace.

How thankful I am for hope.

And even while God is presenting me again and again with the gift of His love in myriad ways, I am finding myself being unwrapped more and more for Him.

These past several months (and maybe even years) have been many moments filled with realization, some comforting and some quite appalling.  Moments that open my eyes to my great need for a Savior.  Moments that open my eyes to my value simply as His child.  Moments that give me a deeper affection for my Savior and the glorious grace that He continues to offer me… and even some that give me some fear of the beautiful justice of my God.

And, I find myself now…feeling as if I’m one of those little boxes wrapped in a bigger box and then in a bigger box and then in an even bigger box…and so on and so on… and I see that God is slowly and patiently unwrapping each layer of me.


Each layer reveals another thing that God is going to refine…redeem…restore.   And I have to be honest, all this unwrapping hasn’t been the easiest for me.  I’d much prefer to be wrapped up in love and grace and peace and joy then unwrapped at all.  It has been quite difficult, even disheartening at times.  I have despaired of being the woman I want to be.

But this Christmas, I know with each unwrapping, God is revealing the woman He has made me to be.

It is kind of weird to think of myself as a gift…I know.  Especially considering so much of the time I feel like a complete and utter failure….who wants that under the tree?

Apparently God does.  God wants me just like I am.

Just as I am.

Maybe what I need to remember this Christmas is the gift of God loving me just as I am.

I don’t have to be anything better than I am…just be me.

God loving me with the gift of Jesus….so that my life could be a gift back to Him.

My life is a gift.

A gift to me.

And a gift to Him.

And Jesus….

There have been times lately when I have been so caught up in the challenges and the temptations of this life that I have lost sight of Him…I’ve missed Him.

I’ve missed the daily gift of Him.

I’ve missed enjoying His presence through prayer and His wisdom through the Word.

And in doing so, I’ve missed the sweet opportunity to make my life a gift back to Him.

I want my life to daily be a gift back to God…something beautiful wrapped in love just for Him.

I do so love to give gifts…I believe I’m going to try to give myself to Him every single day.

Accepting Good Gifts

Why is it that sometimes when God answers a prayer, it is so difficult to accept it without questions or doubts?  To believe that God loves you enough to bless you so much?

For the past several years I have prayed many prayers…placed many requests at the foot of the throne of grace.  I have asked for more things than I can possibly share in a few short words.

Recently God has answered one of my prayers in a very real and in my face kind of way…and yet, I still doubt if the gift is indeed for me.  I still question whether this is something that God would want to do for me.

But God does love to give His children good gifts…”if you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”  Matthew 7:11

I love that God gives good gifts, but I have to be honest and tell you that I really wanted to leave out the “who are evil” part of that verse and replace it with “…”  That is just like me to avoid the part that is uncomfortable.  I do understand what Jesus is saying though.  He is comparing us with God – and really there is no comparison.  We are terribly flawed and God is awesomely perfect.

For example, our gifts are most often given because it’s expected, or we feel obligated, or we are hoping to be rewarded in some way.  Not that there aren’t times when we just really want to bless someone and our motives are pure.  But if we honestly looked at ourselves we could most definitely NOT say our motives are basically always pure, because they very rarely are.

BUT God…now that’s another story.  He is all good and all love.  There is not a selfish motive in Him.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”  James 1:17

God’s character does not change.  His word is faithful and true.  So if God says He loves to give me good gifts who am I to question Him?  If it is His good and perfect will that I be blessed with answered prayers, why do I not revel in the joy of it?  Instead I choose to doubt…to doubt His everlasting love for me…to doubt He would plan good things for me…to doubt that He can indeed turn my mourning to dancing.

God has more than revealed that He is faithful and good to me.

I am choosing to trust that my God loves me.  I am choosing to be thankful for answered prayer and good gifts.  I am choosing to be excited as I watch His plan for my life unfold.

I am choosing Him.