Tag Archive | birthdays

Unwrapped Gifts

It’s been a whirlwind of a year and though I received so many presents during my last birthday I wasn’t able to enjoy them all.  It wasn’t until I found a few in a drawer that I even knew some had been forgotten.  I texted a friend asking if she was the one who had given me the beautiful necklace made in Africa, thinking that only she would.  She confirmed in response that, yes she did.  I have been intentional about wearing it this week.  Along with the necklace I found a couple of empty journals, a super cute luggage tag and a traveler’s guide for black women.

My friends are great.

I wrote in the journal and made a mental note to use the tag on my next trip.  I have so many gifts and yet haven’t taken time to enjoy them all.  And that led me to thinking about the spiritual applications of this natural occurrence.

What gifts am I not enjoying now?

In this season?

In these circumstances?

I started a practice of gratitude a week ago.  I decided to be intentional about being thankful for just one thing a day for 30 days.  Clearly there is more than just one thing to be thankful for daily but I felt overwhelmed and pressured with that truth.  Just choosing one thing felt doable.  I have been doing good so far, and participating in this practice has helped me to focus on the good (Phil 4:6).

I recently read, It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way, by Lysa Turkerst and in it she talks about her decision to look for something good in her season of suffering.  She physically looked around her environment until her eyes landed on something tangible.  Something that reminded her of the strength and courage she would need to face her current circumstances.

It can be challenging to look at the good when your heart is aching from various heartbreaks.  When grief and sorrow seem to follow you wherever you go, and it surprises you because it never did before.  But even when telling my story to a friend just yesterday, she reminded me of the testimony that came out of this season.  The testimony of the restoration of a mother and daughter.

Our testimony.

I was putting a gift together for a friend, and I was so excited.  I was so proud of the creativity and thoughtfulness that went into the gift.  I knew it was the Lord for me to pull it all together.  I was searching for a box to mail it in when I came across a box full of stuff my mom had.  Some things she kept.  Some keepsakes.  There were gifts I had given her for Mother’s Day and it touched me so much that she had kept them.  And that I had honored her and showed love while she was still with me physically.  I then came across a dear picture of my grandmother.  She was a teenager and oh so lovely.  I had always loved that picture and remember seeing it hanging on my nana’s (great grandmother’s) wall as a kid.  Now it’s mine💕.

In truth it had been mine for the last year, but it was hidden in a box somewhere in the basement.  Unopened.

I know I can get into this habit of asking God for more.  More of what I feel was lost or taken or withheld.  But how much would it pain me if my friend, (who I just mailed their gift to), stashed it away and left it unopened? And then asked me for another gift? When I had went through such great lengths to show her my love by giving things that would be dear to her heart?  It would be disappointing to say the least. I would definitely be hurt.

So I want to be more intentional to look around in this season and see the unopened, unwrapped presents.  I already know about the gifts I didn’t get that I wish I had.  I have expressed my sentiments on that enough.  But what about the ones I have been given that I’ve neglected?  Like my grandmother’s picture?  Why should I be given more when I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed all that I already have?

Father help me to thoroughly enjoy the gifts You have chosen to give in this season.

Amen.

 

SHALOM

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Honoring Those Who Have Gone Before

This weekend one of my besties asked me along for a road trip.  I of course said, “yes!” And off we went to Indiana to visit her fam.  It has been go go go non stop full of extroverts and activities.  Definitely an energy remover for this introvert but still enjoyable 😉.


Seeing her with her fam made me acutely aware of my own desire for family.  That area of life has been a source of pain.  At one point one very important woman made up the wholeness of family for me but then that season ended–10 years ago to be exact.  She went to “be with the Lord” and though the teaching I’m under has helped me understand she still surrounds me along with the cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 11) most times that understanding isn’t enough.

Today is her birthday.  If she were here we would rejoice about all the blessings I have as a result of her sacrifices.  We would talk about the spiritual revelations we were having.  How God was moving and all that He had done.  This time I’d take her out for dinner because now I’m the adult and can do such things.  We would talk about my love life and the waiting in it.  She would tell me she was praying for the right person to come along and to trust God.  She would look at me lovingly, beaming with pride.

Even though I don’t have her here in the natural to do those things, I have her daughter.  Her daughter is just as proud if not more.  She made just as many sacrifices so that I could have better opportunities.  She loves me just as much.


These women have been the reason I am where I am today.  And what they could not do in and of themselves God did through them.  And when there was no man to help He became that man.  He became all that I needed.  He stepped in and filled the lack.

Now I am lacking nothing. Sometimes its easier to say those words than others but all the time they are still true.

Happy birthday to my dear grandmother who is cheering me on as I run this race of eternity. As I fight the good fight, carry my cross and head towards the finish line. She left such an example of how to win this race.

How could I possibly not win it?



SHALOM