The Eve of Christmas Eve, and even though I feel like this every year since I have become an adult (when did THAT happened?)~ I can’t believe it’s almost Christmas! It has been especially sneaky this year since we don’t have any snow in Michigan. A white Christmas would be nice.
However, my husband doesn’t have to put in unpaid overtime to clear snow at work, so that is a blessing (imperfect gift #1).
Maybe Santa Lost Your Letter
My kids aren’t getting anything they asked for this year, at least not from us, and although I haven’t confirmed with Santa, I don’t think he’s delivering the Lego sets they wrote to him about. Who needs another 200+ pieces of tiny, razor-sharp foot cripplers anyway? If they can’t keep the ones they already have picked up, then…
Now, you may think this is mean, but I assure it isn’t. We got them some pretty awesome things. Things they didn’t even think to ask for. Besides, they can buy their own Legos with Christmas money they got from distant relatives. There was a time when I used this money for food.
Being the only grandchildren and niece and nephew on both sides has its advantages (imperfect gift #2).
Aren’t the gifts we least expect sometimes the best ones? Sure, we have all gotten the ugly sweater that we have to pretend to love and remember to wear on the right occasion.
But what about the puppy that took months to house break, failed obedience class twice, slept with you every night and snored, lived to be 15 years old, licked you uncontrollably when you came home from college, and broke you heart when he passed on? Betcha didn’t see that one coming on your 6th Christmas!
All the years and joys we have with a pet are worth the sorrow we have when they pass on (imperfect gift #3).
Sometimes the struggle IS the gift
The past few years our family has faced some tough financial situations. Through hard work, generous friends and family, and the grace of God, we always seem to have enough for the bills (even if they are late) and food, but very little left over. It’s getting better, and things have started to turn around, but not until I realized a very important, life-changing lesson.
If you can appreciate life’s struggles for the lessons they teach and the opportunity they provide for you to practice faith and prayer, then every struggle becomes an imperfect gift.
What took me so long?
I started drawing nearer to God and having some REAL conversations with him. I really didn’t know what else to do to fix my daily anxiety and panic attacks. I tried on my own, for too long, to try not to worry about the future and where the money was going to come from to fix the car, or pay the medical bill, or buy the present for the birthday party my son was invited to. Not to mention having to plan for college for my two kids and retirement.
I KNEW I needed to be more thankful for what I had, and it wasn’t like I wasn’t. I just couldn’t stop worrying about money. It was literally stealing the joy out of every day moments. I wasn’t present a lot of the time because my anxiety was bigger than reality.
Through prayer and scripture He took my anxiety away and it didn’t take that long. Of course, I apologized immediately for me taking so long and not coming to Him fist, but he understood like all wise parents do.
I really want to hear God and follow his promptings. Who doesn’t want a wise Counselor guiding us and helping us? As kids we got so tired of people telling us what to do and as adults we wonder why no one told us how hard life can be without guidance.
I want to be led by Him and do what He desires of me in order to help others and live a joyful life. But I had no idea how to hear him. He tells us to be still in me and to listen to Me, but if I am being completely honest (He knows anyway) my mind wanders and I try to inject my own will into the matter. I can’t help it! I’m human (He knows this too).
I started focusing on a daily devotion and writing in my journal to God and his voice started to come through. Every few days I go back and read what I have written and I can see where He is guiding me. Sometimes the words on the page don’t seem like mine, and that is when my big yellow highlighter comes out.
This is how I am starting to hear Him. I am paying more attention to the details of my day and being more present. I am thankful for everything in my life. I know that there will come a day when something occurs that I am NOT thankful for, but this foundation and relationship that I am building now will carrying me through. I am learning to trust in the character of God and live more by faith and prayer. I can’t quote scripture well and I am by no means a theologian. I believe in God and in prayer and miracles simply because my life is better with Him than without Him. That is all I really need to know.
AHA! I get it now!
One early morning something clicked in place and I got it. I heard Him! It wasn’t a booming voice from above like I always imagine, but a soft whisper backed up by intentionally placed scripture.
Romans 5:3-5 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
The financial struggles are teaching us to be wise with our money. It is teaching us to be generous with our time, because sometimes that is all we had to give. It is teaching our kids not to take things for granted. For the record, they asked Santa for Legos, but they didn’t ask us for anything. They almost never do. But this year is different.
My husband’s career is taking off, we sold some things we didn’t need, I have been extremely blessed by some key life mentors (you know who you are!), we paid off some debts, and my marketing business is picking up and doing well.
I was lost to all the wonderful little moments in life spent with my family and friends until I turned to God. Until I learned to live life by faith, pray, and be continuously thankful. If we can’t appreciate what we already have then…
Aren’t we all just imperfect gifts saved from ourselves by the one True Perfect Gift?
I’d love to hear about one of your imperfect gifts! Please leave a comment below.