Thursday, January 16, 2014

Every Good and Every Perfect Gift

I saw it in his eyes. The flash of confusion followed hard by disappointment.

His five-year-old heart sank as he examined the new Lego Fire Truck complete with firemen, hoses, and a house with the roof ablaze.

He looked at me and my heart melted when he said, so low I could barely hear him, “But . . . It isn’t the one I wanted.”

He wasn’t ungrateful for what he had, but I knew he was trying to process why I would have bought him the wrong one. In that moment, it didn’t matter to him that the Lego set he held in his hands was more expensive and had more parts, more people, and more accessories, because it wasn’t what he’d been expecting. And he’d told me which fire truck he wanted. Repeatedly.

It took every ounce of parental strength I had not to promise him on the spot that we would hunt down that set he’d requested and have it on our doorstep the next day, because his disappointment hurt me in places I didn’t even know I had.

Now, as my husband was quick to point out, it’s hard for a five-year-old to mask disappointment, and I’m not sure I would have wanted him to. It gave us a great opportunity to talk about being thankful for the twenty other gifts he received over the holiday, and how if he still wants the one he didn’t receive, he can save his money and buy it himself.

What was most interesting to me was not how my son reacted, but how I reacted. I had to fight to keep my sadness at his disappointment from shadowing the day. I had to preach a lot of truth to myself about how blessed we are and about how this was a teachable moment, etc.

But watching his face, knowing how confused he was by this unexpected turn of events, it ripped me up inside because I love that child, and his unhappiness is hard for me to watch. I may know it’s necessary, but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it.

Of course, it didn’t take long for God to turn this into His own teachable moment, because this mama, she’s got a lot to learn. It was just a soft whisper…“Doesn’t feel good, does it?”


Because how often do I look at the gifts in my life and say, “But, it isn’t the one I wanted.”

God, the ultimate giver of good gifts, listens as we gripe to Him (and anyone who will listen) about the job that doesn’t pay enough, the house that isn’t nice enough, the spouse who doesn’t help enough.

He hears us complain, knowing we don’t understand His decision or grasp the extent of His plan, but knowing He’s given us what is best for us. He loves us so much that His response is not anger toward us, but more love, more grace, more opportunities to trust Him.

I’ve been mulling this idea over since Christmas Day. Had a good three weeks of this verse continually jumping into my brain—

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.”

I’ve been thinking about how everything we have is a gift from God. How even the parts of my life that are less than perfect are still part of His plan for me. I’ve been hanging out with this idea for three weeks.

But let me tell you, it all flew out of my brain when I opened my door and discovered that it was raining in my kitchen.

A pipe had burst. Two, actually.
“But God, You have authority over water. You could have…”

I had been gone for two hours.
“God, You are all powerful. Couldn’t You have kept me home?”

The damage is extensive.
“God, seriously? Is this how You want to spend Your money?”

He gave me twenty-four hours before He gently reminded me of that heart-wrenching I received on Christmas morning. The one where the gift wasn’t quite what was expected and the immature child didn’t know how to hide the disappointment. He didn’t condemn my reaction, just reminded me of His truth, His Sovereignty, His never-ending, never giving up, love for me.

It’s been a week. My home is a hot mess. It’s full of fans and dehumidifiers, walls are ripped off studs, there’s sheetrock dust flying everywhere, and the insanity hasn’t even approached the full-on crazy that’s coming when we have to move our entire downstairs into a pod and take the kitchen cabinets out and . . . well, you get the idea.

Sometimes I start crying in mid-conversation. Sometimes I feel like someone is squeezing me around the chest and I can’t quite breathe. Sometimes I wander around the house, so overwhelmed by everything I need to do that I can’t do anything.

But most of the time, I hear Him whispering truth into my clouded brain, reminding me that He knows I’m prone to wander and He’s got me and He will not let go. I feel His arms holding me up. Feel Him speaking peace to my mind and heart.

It's a very, very good gift.

James 1:17 ~ 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. (ESV)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

No One To Trust by Lynette Eason

There are only a handful of authors whose books shoot to the top of my to-be-read pile as soon as they become available.

Lynette Eason is one of those authors.

No One To Trust is the first novel in her new Hidden Identity series. I was a little sad to say goodbye to the characters in the Deadly Reunions Series, and I wondered how she would top the twisty plotline that wound through those books.

But she did.

No One To Trust opens with a murder. It’s followed by a blood pumping chase that ends in …well…I won’t say, but by this time, I want to know who David Hackett is, and why Kyle Abernathy is being chased by a hit man.

If you think you’ll be able to catch your breath, you’re wrong, because the next scene comes straight from most women’s nightmares. Summer Abernathy wakes up to find a man pointing a gun at her. He’s not there to kill her, but what he tells her sends her world into a tailspin, and takes the reader along for the ride.

For the next 300 pages, the story unfolds, one tantalizing detail at a time. We meet siblings, clients, former military unit members, U.S. Marshalls, and let’s not forget the mob boss with a snake fetish and his seriously dysfunctional family.

Lynette does a masterful job of introducing new characters and keeping the entire cast distinct. I never struggled to follow along, even toward the end when plot lines and characters were converging and then taking off in unexpected directions.

No One To Trust also gives us a nice spin on the typical romance, because the main characters are already married. The question is, will their marriage survive? Can Summer forgive Kyle for lying to her? Can Kyle keep them alive long enough to convince Summer that the one thing he hadn’t lied about was his love for her?

Underpinning the entire novel are beautiful themes of redemption, forgiveness, and, ultimately trust, making No One To Trust both a thrilling and uplifting experience.

No One To Trust is available from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in January 2014 from your favorite bookseller.

The super fine print: I received this book in exchange for my opinion. I was not required to provide a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Let Him Decide Where to Put You

Several years ago, my dad made a beautiful mirrored coat rack. I had the perfect wall for it and it hung in a place of prominence in my home where it received oohs and ahhs from friends, family, and guests.

Then we moved.

Our new home has an open floor plan with short walls. Most of the long walls are full of windows. There isn't a single spot in the house that made sense for the coat rack. I guess I could have hung it in the dining room. It would've made a great conversation starter, but it also would've made it functionally useless. 

So with nowhere to put it, I placed it in a hall closet where it sat unused for six months before I realized I was being an idiot.

Because there was one other spot.

But it was so wrong.

I'm blogging today over at The Write click on over to read the rest of this post!

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