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)


Ellen Andersen said...

Wow. What a comparison between your son and his Xmas gift and how we see our circumstances in life that God gives us.

I can't imagine the frustration (to put it mildly) you must experience these days with your house. Hope it gets better soon!