We stood in the living room and watched our pre-K daughter stomp down the hallway in her Christmas jammies shouting, I didn’t want stupid baby dolls. I told Santa I wanted a bike!
Nat King Cole was crooning in the background about roasted chestnuts on an open fire. The smell of monkey bread with a waft of evergreen was in the air but the excitement had sizzled somehow.
Well alrighty then. That was a special kind of something. The little brat. Did she not realize the sacrifice we made to buy Christmas at all? Does she not understand that her Dad and I love her even when we didn’t give her everything she asked for or wanted?
Ever been there?
While this memory is one we can look back on and laugh, it is a reminder that I have been that little girl in her Christmas jammies, stomping down the hallway and shouting that I didn’t get what I wanted. Only I wasn’t a little girl. I was an adult woman who had prayed and prayed, asking her Father for one thing and getting something else. Something very different than what was on my list.
Ever been THERE?
I realize we are several months post-Christmas, a time when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, who is described as the indescribable gift from God. (2Corinthians 9:15NIV) Opening this Gift, discovering all the parts and pieces it involves, reading the directions and learning how best to put this Gift in action has been (and will continue to be) a lifelong process.
The instruction manual that comes with this Gift is both fascinating and frustrating. It soothes the soul one minute and makes me want to toss it across the room the next. It challenges me like no other book I’ve ever read.
So what does one do when you receive this Gift and it’s not what you thought?
Maybe it’s harder than you imagined and there actually isn’t a BMW in your driveway and you still have more month than money. That tel-evangelist was smokin’ something when he painted a picture of roses!
Or maybe you’ve been praying hard…for healing, for your prodigal child, for your marriage that’s falling apart, for a different job or any job for that matter…whatever it may be, you’ve been faithful but the only sound on the other end is crickets.
Maybe you prayed for one thing and got something that was just the opposite or totally different.
Do we stomp down the hallway screaming that we didn’t want stupid baby dolls? Possibly. On occasion this still may be my reaction but I am maturing (?). I may only stomp my feet but not scream. (Imperfect progress is still progress.)
There are a couple things I’ve learned through the years:
The goodness of God does not change even when he doesn’t give me what I asked for. In fact, my Father is the giver of good gifts (Matthew 7:11) and he knows just what I need. His goodness is so great that he gave the best gift of all…His one and only Son. (John 3:16) If he never granted me another request that should be enough. My Father knows the sacrifice Christmas holds because Easter is right around the corner. Yet he gave.
I have a Father that knows the only way for me to grow is to NOT give me everything my heart desires. The heart is deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9) and can trick me into throwing an all-out fit if its demands aren’t met. God knows this and gives according to my best interest, not because of some tantrum thrown in the middle of my family room floor.
I have a Father who is trustworthy. There have been many times when an answer to prayer was “delayed” (from my perspective) or seemingly not being answered at all. I’ve learned to ask what it was he was trying to teach me in the delayed response. And you know what? There was something. Every. Single. Time. So now I pick up a conductor’s wand and teach those crickets to play a song of praise in the wait….Tune My Heart to Sing His Grace.
When we begin to understand the sacrifice of the Gift, we tend to be grateful for what is given…whether or not it’s what we asked for, whether or not it comes in our timing, whether or not it was harder than we thought. It’s an attitude of gratitude that will forever need to be kept in check. Be thankful for the baby doll!
We don’t always get what we want but we will always get what we need. Our Father will make sure of that. Lean in, stay in his word and know that he loves you beyond your comprehension!
Fiercely for YOU!