Being given the gift of another year of life has been the greatest gift for my birthday this year.
It wasn’t long ago when I looked forward to my birthday for the gifts I would be given. As I look back over the past 30 years I can recall most of the big gifts I yearned for leading up to my birthday. Something was different this year for me. Coming out of a few years of various losses back to back, I can honestly say the most precious gift we are given everyday is: life. We get to taste of the land of milk+honey every day, with every single breath we take & it is so very sweet.
Now lets be real, if I was given a nice camera or weimaraner pup or dreamy dress from Anthropologie or something extravagant like that I would be beyond grateful. That third thing happened a few weeks ago & I am still blown away by my friend’s generosity. But here is the real deal of my heart lately… all this stuff we long + yearn for … it doesn’t last. It will rust & decay. Our treasures are indeed in heaven. Yet at the same time, I fully believe our Creator longs for us to have the desires of our heart. He simply knows whats best for us & when. As I type that I am reminding myself to let that truly sink in. He knows whats best for us & when. He has our best interest in mind. So many times I have my own timeline, my own idea of what I think I need to satisfy the yearnings of my soul. For the most part I am just plain wrong. I have seen this in my life over&over & I bet you have as well.
So what do we do with this idea of gifts? Or even self-care? I wrestle almost daily with this seemingly stark contrast to my previous post about orphans longing for basic needs & me talking about enjoying extravagant gifts above&beyond my needs. How do we justify spending money on things we don’t really need? Or carving out time do something we love when there is so much need around us? Does accepting a gift make us selfish?
Then I pause & remember how He meets us right where we are, just as we are! He made us all unique with differing genetic makeups, talents, passions, hopes and dreams. The idea of a camera might seem pointless to you, when it makes my heart skip a beat. You may desire a trendy pair of shoes that I wouldn’t wear if you paid me, but they might make you feel on top of the world. Is there anything wrong with either desire or gift? No. I believe that ever since the Garden when brokenness entered this world we have been crippled with this aimless longing. We are simply aching for things this world cannot satisfy. The camera, the shoes, they will bring JOY for the moment, but it will fade. We are ultimately longing for heaven that will fulfill every yearning our heart has had, currently has, and will have in the future. It is the end all, be all. But here on earth we get to taste of it & enjoy the gifts we are given, both tangible + intangible! What a gift.
When our yearnings turn from desire to entitlement, we lost sight of heaven. I have been there & done that. Actually, I am there & do that, daily. Last year we had to short sell our house (actually a gift of grace versus a foreclosure) & then a few weeks later we had our 3rd baby & a few months later had to unexpectedly move out of our rental house we loved in a neighborhood we thought we would live in longterm. My heart grew bitter with entitlement very quickly. I was angry. Why did this house sell so fast when our house took 3+ years to sell? Why do we have to deal with the financial impact on our at the time perfect credit? Why did my little nest have to be uprooted with a newborn? Why did I have to giveaway my precious dog? The list of whys goes on & on. Why me?
Then, after some wrestling with the One who really knows what I need, I realized what I really needed wasn’t what I had before… but the process of losing the house I had before (& another one in addition!) to make me thankful for what I already have, which is so much more than I need. Whew. What a mess I can be!
So tonight, as I am very thankful for the love + gifts I have been given for my birthday… I am most thankful for life (+ the most amazing carrot cake I have ever tasted)!