They sit under the tree - perfectly wrapped, waiting patiently to have impatient fingers open them, to experience the joy of the beholder, and to be used. These gifts that were thoughtfully chosen, wrapped in love, and perfectly placed... all for the joy of giving.
For this joy of giving.
I have realized there comes a moment in your life when you have to reach for the gift, unwrap it, and behold what was given to you. Sometimes what lies behind the wrapping paper may frighten us, but it is still a gift. Given out of love, waiting for the joy to wipe across you face. Hopefully. Then other times in our life the gift needs to be unwrapped by the giver...
Four months before Adam asked me to be his forever, we separated. It wasn't a fast break, it was a slow one. I pushed him away, fearful of what my emotions were doing to me. A recluse, I stopped answering phone calls, ignored him, I couldn't look at him anymore. These feelings of trust, hope, and most of all love - they scared the daylights out of me! The days that followed were some of my darkest ones, I didn't cry, didn't think, just filled myself with hate... convincing myself I was not worthy of love, I was a mess, and love always failed. Depression sank in, anxiety ate at my soul, and hopelessness and fear destroyed the rest. Yet, God had other plans. In my darkest he wanted me to know him fully.
So one cold December day, I stormed into my aunt's home and up to my room searching frantically for my bible. Great, you might be thinking, she wanted to see what God had to tell her - to search for biblical answers. No friend, I searched for the bible to curse God all the more fully. I hated him, hated. I was so angry and spiteful. Then I found it... the bible.
I found it, screamed, and threw it as hard as I could into the closet. When I went to toss myself on the bed I noticed a small folded paper had fallen out as the book soared through the air. I knelt down and picked it up, careful not to tear the worn paper - I unfolded it. The worn pencil markings on it read:
"Child of weakness
Watch and pray
Find in me
Thine all in all."
I crawled into the closet and began to weep. A flood of emotions, so walled in broke free and poured out - heavy, flowing, no dam could shut off these waterworks. My pride and hate were shattered. Realization poured in as the God of all the universe wrapped this messy, pig-pen child in his arms and whispered...
You are weak. Child... you are weak. Look at me. Look, I am here. I am your all in all. I must be your all in all before any man can be your anything. Look at me, find that I am here.
Watch how I love, it is unfailing. (Psalm 13:5)
Watch how I lived, it was righteous. (1 Peter 1:19)
Watch how I died, it was redemptive. (1 Corinthians 1:30)
Child... you are made in my image. You have access to all of that. To unfailing love, to a righteous life, to a redeemed spirit.
I am love. If you live in love, you live in me. (1 John 4:7-19)
Watch and pray.
Dear reader, please... please take note of this gift. This gift that I was afraid to unwrap because it was so wrapped in love. This gift that no fingers eagerly opened but instead like a new born child the gift was unwrapped before me, shown to me... by the one who adopted me as his own. This messy child, this human child. In my darkest most hateful moment - he said no more, listen I am here.
So I did and I realized I was scared to death of two truths:
1. God had to wreck me, take me, and make me new to make me fully his own.
2. To truly love (God or man), I had to lay down my wants and needs and in place of that seek to understand the one my soul longed for more. To watch and learn my love's ways... in order to be fully filled with better understanding.
I know. I know... but friend I also know this. I know that God made people for one purpose, to glorify himself. The people were too human and so they easily gave way to sin. The Creator of all could have been finished with us right then and there but he wasn't! No! Instead he loved us so much he put us... US... before his own, yes. He put his son's life before our deserving death sentence, one who knew no sin became sin so that we might be reconciled with the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). Why? Because he loved us (John 3:16). So why wouldn't I want to put down my wants and needs and receive this gift that I crave to not only hold but give back.
Stepping into God's way means leaving our ways behind. Marriage is that way. Following God is that way. All weakness are shown so that you must watch and pray, find your all in the one who made it all.