Sometimes I am still that seven-year-old with long pig-tails and big brown eyes fiercely clutching on to that which I do not wish to share. I can still see my dad’s ice blue stare and I can hear, “You must share…. with your sisters.” I’ve never forgotten the feeling deep within that caused me to dig my heels in and stare back… regardless of the spanking that would most surely follow.
I’ve not forgotten her,
in fact, year after year,
she has grown older but not wiser.
She spent too many years desiring
to hold tightly to that which she perceived was her own.
” ’tis more blessed to give than to receive!” she heard others say.
“They must not get very good stuff,” she thought to herself. “I like receiving because I get GOOD stuff! My good stuff is MY stuff and it’s better to hold on to it tightly than to have to share it with someone who might not appreciate it!”
When, then, does that seven-year-old now turned middle-aged mom
loosen her grip?
When does she open the eyes of her heart to see that
her stuff is just that… stuff?
When does she look back into the eyes of her Father
and say, “Yes, Father, I will share”?
When does she open her hands
and spread her fingers wide so that all
that her Father places there
Thirty-six years later, I want to sit that wide-eyed seven year old down and say, “He won’t demand that you share. He’ll ask and when you don’t, He often lets you keep that thing or things that you think are good. However, I have a secret. The good stuff comes when you give up that which you think is good. Honest. It happens every single time, because your Heavenly Father wants to give you the best things and you are stuck holding on to something that you think is good. Let it go and see what blessings He has for you. I promise it’s all good!”
Two and a half years ago, I began the journey of counting gifts… those daily blessings from Above that I had spent most of my life over looking. I began to see the good things in each day and my list grew exponentially. What started as a weekly thing on my blog became a daily exercise in thanking God for the good that He bestows upon me every.single.day.
An amazing thing happened when I started noticing things like my warm house, more furniture than fits comfortably in a room, a crammed closet, the food in the freezer that needed to be used up, bottles and bottles of lotions galore, the extra towels saved for a future rag… all the stuff I accumulated because I might need it someday. When I looked at it all.. the bulging excess… I noticed my white knuckles. These hands that couldn’t possibly hold on tightly and reach out to accept the gifts He waited to bestow.
In that moment, the seven-year-old,
now a mom herself, had to make a choice…
cling desperately to these thing she had or let go to open her hands to her Father.
Sharing took on a new meaning when my hands were free. I saw the gross excess within the four walls of my house and as He showed me gifts, He brought people to us who truly needed our excess. He gave us glimpse upon glimpse of the joy of giving… often to the point we felt our hearts would burst.
And when I “needed” something that had been given?
He graciously showed me the joy of being a different kind of receiver.
There is a sweet humility in receiving… something that pig-tailed child never understood. You see, she received to accumulate her things… her stuff. She didn’t know that you can receive out of necessity and when you receive a gift given at a sacrifice to someone else, the gift itself becomes sweeter . The offering they give you has a fragrance that cannot be explained. It can only be felt in the heart because it’s aroma is reminiscent that all of us are receivers of the greatest gift… the gift of grace and eternal life through the greatest Sacrifice ever offered… Jesus Christ.
Gifts received lately?…
…snow flakes flying as I shop with 2 sisters and a cousin
…days spent with my sisters
…sitting with my parents
…trying out new Bibles
…and finding one that I love
… with a concordance that I love
…given by a friend that I love
…a bucket-list fulfilled with 7 points
…a God who knows our needs
…and fills our freezer
… life lessons for the mancub
… and the privilege to walk alongside him
…friends who share expertise
…seeing a big and a little gazing at the BIG tree in the airport
…squeezing a few more minutes in on the trip to the airport
…vehicles that get us where we want to go
…and the seat warmers that go too
…the joy of sharing a Chick-fil-a peppermint choco chip milkshake
…with the whipped cream and cherry, of course
… for glasses that I thought I’d never wear
… and seven days between migraines
… for friends who pray
… and friends who care
… and for feeling good on a Sunday morning
…for learning that it is truly more blessed to give than to receive
… and learning that there is more grace in receiving than I will ever know