Small Gifts, Great Joy

“What is that?” asked my friend, a little annoyed as I lifted a basket of brightly wrapped gifts out of the back of the van.

“It’s just a little something for each of the women tonight,” I said.

Really? You had to bring gifts? You know everyone wants to do something for you, something to make life a little easier, and here you are doing something else for them.”

“It’s just something small,” I added a little defensively, part of me wishing I’d left the basket on the bench at home and the other part wondering why this was even an issue.

My friend sighed, looked me straight in the eye and said, “You know you’re going to have to explain.”

“We’ll see,” I shrugged and smiled.

She grinned, “Underneath that quiet facade, you’re just a rebel like all the rest of us!”

My friend was a little more right than she knew, and I was suddenly acutely aware of God in the moment tugging on my heart, longing to set me free, but it was going to cost – humility, honesty and words – words I didn’t have because they were just too deep to speak.

As the eight women I’ve laughed and cried and studied Scripture with for almost two years sat together around the table, I reached down and picked up the basket, praying for God to calm my heart and help me find the words.

“I brought something for each of you tonight,” I began, “just something small, and before you get upset, I want to try to explain.”

I took a long, slow steadying breath and continued, “First, I didn’t bring these gifts to frustrate you, but to bless you, to celebrate our friendship and thank you for challenging me every week to dig a little deeper, lean a little harder, trust a little more. You know that I struggle to share my heart, not because I don’t trust you, but because sometimes putting what I really feel into words makes it all seem too big, too hard. Sometimes I’m afraid of being swallowed completely by this life God’s allowed, and all I know to do when life gets hard is to step outside my own myopic little world and focus on somebody else. Doing something for others, for even just a few minutes feels good. It’s a break from all the overwhelming medical stuff – five minutes with no meds, no food labels, no symptoms swirling in my mind like puzzles with too many missing pieces, no diseases with impossible names, no doctors’ appointments or tests, no icky preps – just a chance to breathe and think and be, which really means,” I quietly admitted, “that I did this less for you than I did for me.”

Oh, Lord, wow. Hard words, hard lesson, but necessary. Thank you for drawing me deeper, revealing a glimpse of holy reciprocity, giving the way it was meant to be experienced. What joy to witness the beautiful, mysterious symbiosis of Your children, the sacred harmony of giving where each shares what he has and no-one has need. Such truly, totally, infinitely amazing grace!

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10 Comments

Filed under Devotionals

10 responses to “Small Gifts, Great Joy

  1. Your post really spoke to me. I to have such a hard time sharing whats on my heart so much of the time. Thank you for sharing.
    Cassie

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  2. Karene Marchan

    How power. I’m so glad you shared that story. What a great way to get out of our own “halo of hurt” and help others all at the same time.

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  3. Valerie

    …you know, you always make my eyes well up…it’s a good thing. Thank you. You are gift!

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  4. What a beautiful example of transparency in our relationships with our sisters in Christ! Thank you for this post.

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  5. Cindee,
    Reading this brought to mind one word… authenticity! I believe that is what makes a great blog, that people will keep coming back to, one where we’re sharing about our journey. In doing that here I’m sure you’ve touched and inspired many. Thank you!!

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  6. Those were deep words. And a beautiful gift of you.

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  7. It is amazing how we feel better after reaching out to others when we hurt….
    Cindee I’d also like to award you with the Versitle Blogger award. Just stop by my blog, copy the picture and follow the other instructions. Blessings to you and your writing!

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  8. Cindee, your gift to them, and to all of us, is a piece of your heart. I know intimately how hard that is to do sometimes. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make it all disappear for you so I’ll use my *wand* of prayer and ask the Lord to make it all disappear. And if not, to give you all you need to live this life in the midst of contrary circumstances. Blessings to you, sweetie!

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  9. Thank you Cindee for this post and your friendship… It makes me think almost immediately of the gift that we all are given for which we cannot repay and that is the gift of salvation. There is a beautiful message there. Giving from the heart is one of the truest forms of Christ-likeness we can emulate. May God continue to bless you my friend. -Scott

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  10. Cindee…I like the way you practice giving (words, baskets…and whatever we need to give). I strongly believe if done correctly giving helps the giver more than the taker. Giving multiplies what we need (love, blessings, joy…) and reduces what we don’t need (pain, suffering…).

    I am freely translating a Marathi poem I had memorized when I was a child….

    The Giver should keep giving…
    The Taker should keep accepting…
    The Taker should then take the hands of a Giver…as a final gift

    Stay well

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