Resisting the Gift

Imagine this:

I sat and admired it. The gift. The paper was patterned with stripes, elegant but not frilly; neat as a pin, not a crinkle or pucker to be found. For what the paper lacked in pomp, the bow was over the top, blue and gold and glittery. Nothing about it was modest. The voluminous loops were just begging to be untied, for if the outside was this extraordinary, surely the contents were more.

But I just stared at it with a combination of timidity and fear. My resistance was not calculated. I just felt unworthy, fearful that the present was SO lavish, I did not deserve something like it or perhaps once opened, it would change my life in ways I could not fathom.

Maybe this is you. This was me (and still is at moments).

We may have accepted and embraced the gift of gifts, salvation, but we have a hard time receiving the others, particularly the gift of GRACE- which 2 Corinthians 9:15 says is THE INDESCRIBABLE GIFT! Grace is so amazing that it is hard to find the adjectives for it!

Staring at the gift instead of opening it is the perfect set-up for legalism. Yep. That was me too. I like to follow rules {most of the time}. It makes me feel all comfy, cozy inside. It is easy on the brain, but hard on the heart because in the end, it breeds resentment. When you look around to see everyone else who tore into their package subsequently basking in the delight of its contents, you feel short changed, gipped or unloved. At some point, the resistance became a self-imposed spurning of the gift of grace.

Conversely, some of us just sit there and say, “Oh, no, I couldn’t open that. I am so undeserving and unworthy of it.” Maybe we feel like we have not earned it and frankly, we haven’t. Quite the opposite- it by grace we are saved (and kept), not something we do ourselves- it is a GIFT from God- and He keeps on giving it over and over and over again.

Imagine your child on his birthday, just looking longingly at the package in front of him. We  wait with joyful anticipation, knowing how the wonderful present will delight him. It is just what he wanted and has been dreaming about. Suddenly, he slides it away and declares himself unfit for such a thing. In the history of children and birthdays, I doubt this has happened even once! Matthew 7 tells us that even we who are sinful know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more lavish, decadent and over-the-top will our gifts be from our FATHER WHO IS IN HEAVEN!

For far too many years I spent waiting to unwrap the gift of grace. Maybe this is you, unwilling or unable to bask in the goodness of the Father who knows and loves you. Whatever the reason for resisting, we are missing out. For as beautiful as the packaging is, the gift within is more grandiose, awe-inspiring and life changing than imaginable.

Opening it was for me the pivotal point of my spiritual journey. It set me on the path of freedom. It changed my view of God Himself. It has continued to work thankfulness and repentance in my heart. It gives me hope to carry on through the valleys of life. It allows me to lavish others with it.

So what are you waiting on? Go ahead and tear into the gift! It is more amazing than anything else you’ve ever received and it comes from the perfect extravagant Giver.

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My Bloody Day

Blood. It’s one of those unpleasantries in life.

As a mom or dad you probably see more than your fair share. As a woman, you see more than most doctors in your earthly existence.

Some people want to toss their cookies when they see it. Others may pass out cold. To odd balls (like me), it is kind of fascinating. Like you don’t really want to see it but you do at the same time.

Today I had a bloody day. No, I am not getting too personal with you. Geez. Who do you take me for? And no, I am not trying to sound like a Briton or Aussie either. 🙂

I began my day with a not-so-lovely reading from the book of Leviticus (part of my through the bible in a year thing). So NOT what to read before breakfast. Blood, blood, and more blood. Words like: slaughter, sacrifice, scapegoat. Then there are the “to do/don’t dos”: sprinkle it, wipe it, burn it, (don’t) drink it.

The highlight of my day was giving blood. No, really- I LOVE giving. It makes me happy to know that my bag o’ red stuff cold save someone’s life. It did mine, once, after a surgery required two units for me to survive the night. I marvel watching the pencil lead sized needle go into my arm and take just a tiny piece of me. Call me crazy.

As I sat there, I thought about blood, what I had read that morning in all its grotesqueness. The Israelites were instructed not to drink the blood of any animal ever because it is the life of the creature. Without it, we cannot live. People all over the world die for lack of what we are so blessed to have readily available here in the U.S.

I thought about the blood of Jesus that makes us clean. The sticky, thick, smelly substance coming from me into that plastic bag, might give someone else life. God gave us life through the murder of His Son. His red human blood came out of his side and ran down His forehead from where they beat the thorns down into his skin.It came out the piercings of both His hands and feet after they drove spikes through. He died, so I could live: the perfect sacrificial, life giver.

So, keeping true to the theme of my day, I ended it with… you guessed it-  more BLOOD.

My youngest lost a molar tonight and the blood flowed freely into the bathroom sink.  Poor boy is “a lot” a bit squeamish (like his dad). I rubbed his back and told him to breathe (like a good mom).

I end today thankful for my bloody day, reminded that without it, I’d be LOST; not just physically, but spiritually as well.