This is the final installment of what I'm calling The Gift Series of posts. You can find the first three here.
I noticed several things about this new season of my life.
1. I was holding on to the truths that God loves me personally and intimately. I chose to believe the truth of the Bible. That in itself was a gift, given how easy it is to believe the naturally ingrained messages of our unloveableness. I think it's because, well, we actually are guilty. We actually do fall short. (Ha! That's an understatement!) But, because of Christ's dying on the cross to take on our sins (mine and yours), our belief in that wipes our slate clean. Though we continue to fail and be guilty, God looks at us through Christ's sinless innocence...and there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1 again.) As Christians, we can choose to live according to the lies that because of our yuck God doesn't look on us favorably - or - we can choose to believe that because of Christ and despite our yuck God does look on us favorably. Beyond favorable to delight, actually. That's hard to accept. I know me. I'm not all that delightful. But that's what the Bible says. That's what we are called to believe. "I choose to believe that I am who You say I am," to quote a song written by my friend Angie W.
2. God has good gifts for me every single day, and my eyes can either be dulled and blind to them or expectant and open to them. Rather obvious, yes, but don't we all need reminding of this? I needed to develop the practice of seeing His gifts to me.
3. The thing that was new and made it effective was that I believed it for me. Not just for the collective us, the theoretical us, but for me. Today. This day. Right now. Because of that one lonely birthday, I shook off the lies, stood up and grabbed hold of this truth. I acknowledged and clung to the fact that God loves to give, "even" to me.
4. Another huge thing was standing up to lay hold of the truth that God knows and loves me intimately and specifically. Individually and separately from the collective family that includes all my brothers and sisters in Christ. Do you ever have a hard time buying a gift for someone? Sometimes it’s hard to think of something that particular person would really like, something that would really make them smile, give them pleasure, and be meaningful to them. God knows us so intricately and specifically, He knows what will be a gift to you, and when. What is a gift to me may not be a gift to you. What makes your heart smile and soar with delight may not do anything for your spouse or friend. God knows you. Not only does God know your heart and soul, He knows your days and hours...He knows WHEN to give specifically WHAT He gives to specifically you.
This asking God for gifts began a very special season in my life. Whether or not I am in a season of daily and intentionally asking Him for gifts, the effect of that time in my life remains: my eyes are more open to seeing His gifts even when I don’t ask for them. When I recognize one of God’s gifts to me, I am drawn into sweet fellowship with Him. I am reminded of His specific love for specifically me. I love Him more. "We love Him because He first loved us" (1 John 4:19, KJV). When I recognize His special gifts of love to me, my love for Him grows.
So...I've shared my season of gifts with you to encourage you to desire to better see His love gifts each day. Perhaps you'll even want to begin asking Him for a special gift as I did, for eyes to see it, and a heart to draw near to Him in intimate thanksgiving.
These posts have been in my drafts for weeks and I've just now gotten them edited down (believe it or not!) and reworked into several posts. Typing that last word "thanksgiving" I suddenly noticed how fitting it is that that they were not ready until right now as we are approaching the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Guess God knew what good timing it would be if this piece languished for awhile in my draft files.
Gifts and thanks-giving. Good stuff.