My birthday was last week. I am driving the kids somewhere when they ask me a question: “Mom what do you want for your birthday? What kind of cake do you want?”
Nice questions, no?
I could have said, “It doesn’t matter. Anything is fine. Give me a hug, make me a card”, and that would have been truthful.
But, instead, I answered something else that was truthful: that I am just about out of lipstick, I like bracelets, and a pair of earrings (inexpensive) would be nice… and instead of cake, I was really craving a French silk pie.
I wasn’t sure if they were listening and I wasn’t expecting to receive these things; they are just children with limited resources. But I could see their minds turning as to how to fulfill this birthday wish.
On my birthday, I received: a pair of earrings (which was a prize from their piano teacher’s prize basket. When a child memorizes the notes of the staff, he/she can choose a prize from a special basket, and my son had just accomplished this after many weeks. Instead of a gift for himself, he chose earrings for me– because he knew he’d have no other way to get me a pair of earrings– and he did this all by himself, and even kept it a secret. I was floored!)
My other son gave me a very pretty bracelet (a very nice choice by my kids– their dad took them to Kohls to pick one). My daughter gave me pink lipstick (a pretty color, chosen by her). And, to top it off– we enjoyed French silk pie. 🙂 Isn’t that the sweetest? So precious. I felt so blessed.
Nothing was expensive– it had nothing to do with the price tags. I know I am lucky to receive these gifts… exactly what I’d asked for, and I don’t take that for granted, no matter what.
The sweet thing is that I was heard. They listened. They cared. Their hearts were desiring to bless someone else– me, their mom. Because they heard and cared, and did something about it, they gave me the joy of receiving something I asked for– which is itself a gift. (We don’t always get what we want, do we? Not too often for many of us. So even these little things are all the more special.)
I have a child whose love language is “receiving gifts”. This child takes it seriously, asking for specific things, but I’ve also noticed this child wants to make sure the gifts he/she gives are special. And after today, I understood this love language a bit better.
As moms, we don’t often ask for what we want. Do you do this? I do. I acquiesce. I give in. We may say- it doesn’t matter– at least, I have done this on many occasions. I weigh options. I ask myself: “Would the whole family enjoy this? What is best right now? I don’t need anything for myself.” As moms, we know that these extra special, superfluous things really aren’t defining us, and our loved ones offer them out of love, and these aren’t necessary.
But sometimes, they want to know, and need a specific answer. When they ask us what we want, and if we answer, “it doesn’t matter” , we take away their opportunity to bless someone– to bless us. Just as it gives us joy to give them a gift, it gives them the same joy to offer us a gift.
Truth-telling starts at home. They need to hear the message at home that they have a God-ordained purpose for their lives (Jeremiah 29:11). The world needs them, and their gifts (whether they be material, spiritual, academic, etc.). What they have to offer is important.
Gift-giving is from the Father’s heart. He started it.
(Now please don’t understand– I am not at all suggesting that we as parents should be offering our children gifts for birthdays, etc., and etc., not at all…. Please do not misunderstand what I am saying here. I am simply using a real example from my life to share something that I think might benefit other moms, and also to point out that God gives us gifts abundantly– see more below– and we should ask ourselves, are we fully receiving and embracing these gifts.)
Gifts are what God pours out to us, in abundance: the gift of eternal life, joy, peace, freedom from sin, hope in this calloused world, and a thousand things that go unnoticed each day.
Gifts are what they are: gifts. Undeserved. Given out of love. Offered with grace. Given with the expectation of nothing in return.
When I know what I want, and I ask, and I receive it, there is joy.
But if I do not ask, I do not receive.
So, ask. Ask of God. I’m not saying you’ll get earrings or lipstick. God has eternal treasures and gifts he wants to share, such as wisdom, joy, eternal life, peace, hope, freedom from sin, and freedom from our selfish selves. Are we fully embracing and receiving what He is offering us?
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
He is the giver of ALL good gifts.
Sharing with these lovely people and places:
The Wellspring, Imperfect Prose, Finding Heaven, A Pause on the Path, Getting Down with Jesus, Seedlings in Stone
Counting to 1000, daily gifts, #736-780, with Ann:
736. piano recital… so much fun… another year over, the kids did it, sounded wonderful and looked nice too, all dressed up!
737. my 3 kids. so thankful for each one of them!
738. driving by the lake
739. learning new information on health this week: about a vitamin and about herbal tinctures– from two different sources. Divine appointments!
740. Making nearly $150 selling homeschool materials and curriculum that we’ve outgrown… such a blessing! I’ve got a few things left but so thankful for what has already sold.
741. Being busy… one of the ways I am reminded how much I need God– and in this jam-packed month, I feel it keenly.
742. a lovely birthday with the family– so sweet.
743. breakfast in bed on Mothers day– made by my daughter (homemade strawberry crepes, sausage, kiwi, tea, a flower… ) precious!
744. the boys’ baseball game– the first of the season. They lost, but their team for the past two years has been very good. This year the team lost a lot of older players (they moved up to another age bracket) and so the team picked up a whole new set of younger players. My youngest son is finally old enough to join his big brother’s team (and it makes one less trip for us, having the boys on the same team!)
745. writing about two dozen poems last week
746. having one of my twitter poems shared on a poetry blog the other day
747. some lovely birthday messages
748. learning about something new — art journaling!
749. listening to my daughter’s speech
750. French silk pie
751. brushing up on Spanish
752. lilacs are blooming
753. birds singing every morning
754. lightning igniting the sky
755. a duck sitting in the (old) sandbox (now filled with rainwater); it is the backyard birdbath!
756. smiles from strangers. it gives hope.
757. my head is spinning this month from all the activities, I’m worried I’m going to forget some appointment or something else I’m supposed to do, and I’m thankful when I can have a few minutes alone to sort it all out, think things through
758. a surprise $10 gift from a store
759. coupons for free pizza
760. medication that can take care of Elijah
761. finding new allergy free/whole grain bread at Trader Joes
762. jokes by the boys
763. hand-me-down clothes for Josh, who’s growing like a weed
764. discussing the future plans for homeschooling next year… curriculum, etc.
765. dreaming of Florida… one of these days
766. compiling about 40-50 of my poems in a single volume
767. almonds- my favorite snack
768. a mama goose with her many ducklings, at the park… they grew a lot in just one week….
769. talking with a neighbor at walgreens (we ran into each other there). So nice to say hi to a neighbor, isn’t it? We had a long conversation there in the store that day….
770. yogurt cheese
771. the results of my blood test turned out better than I expected… thank you, God… and the Vit D is extremely, very, low… and was given an Rx for a very high does of this Vitamin… (why am I so bad at remembering to take these things?)
772. a “scholarship” to a class this past year
773. lots of retweets on twitter this week…oh, the small things! But it was encouraging to me, esp. on some hard days.
774. virtual community
775. youngest memorizing Psalm 139 (20 verses of it); he and a few other kids from his class at church won a pizza party as a prize for doing this! yay! So proud of him for doing that… now he’ll always have those verses hidden in his heart, even as an adult.
776. guacamole on my sandwiches
777. shopping on Sat with my child
778. the ticking of the clock on the wall keeping me company on late sleepless nights
779. a snickers ice cream bar
780. two walks around the block
781. one short bike ride
I loved your story of your birthday gifts from those who truely listened. Also the joy they received in your response, and they all enjoyed the pie.
So much good stuff here, and I don’t even know where to begin. I just love the thing about the love language. I remember when I first read that book, it gave me such a better understanding of people around me and how to speak their language. The giving and receiving of gifts is so beautiful when children learn to do this. Your story is so precious. I loved y our list today. Especially the pie!
A belated happy birthday to you! Thank you for sharing your celebration here. I’m so glad you felt heard and treasured. Like you, sometimes when Allen asks where I want to eat or what to watch, I say, “It doesn’t matter.” Sometimes I really don’t have a preference that day, but sometimes I’m not saying what I’d really like because I don’t think he would enjoy it. Your words speak to my heart that I could be robbing him of an opportunity to bless. May the Lord remind me of that next time that conversation arises. Brava on the two dozen poems! Amazing! May the Lord give good sleep this week and heal the weariness of those sleepless nights. So much good here. Grace to you in Jesus, friend.
i am glad you got what you asked for…and that they listened…tht made me smile and is def agift….and truth telling does begin at home…that jumped out at me….
I love this post on so many levels. It makes me think of a story I heard, once, about a child who dropped and broke an ashtray he’d made for his dad. He was devastated, and the dad hugged him and said: “It’s nothing, Son, don’t think anything of it.” The child could not be comforted until the mom walked in and mourned w/ him over the precious thing that was broken. Gifts are not my love language, but they’re important; they really are. I’m glad you were blessed on your birthday.
The thought of your son choosing a gift for you, rather than himself, warmed my heart.
This really stopped me in my tracks because I always say it doesn’t matter. But, you’re right. I’m taking away a chance for them to give. So sweet about your son picking those earrings out, made my eyes water 🙂