I imagine sitting at a table together and listening to her talk about the time she embarrassed herself in high school, or that time she blew up the lava volcano with her son, or maybe she’d tell me a story when she couldn’t stop crying.
Whatever she has to say, I would be listening, intently, nodding my head in agreement.
Michelle has this uncanny ability to weave story-telling and metaphor meaning with her words. She’s the kind of writer that sets the stage for her readers and slowly unravels the truth for them, so they come away feeling enlightened or maybe moved to take action in their own lives. And she does this in a way that is soft and inviting. She’s the kind of person I would love to sit and chat with and just listen to. Listen to how God is moving in her life and see that with her story, comes an invitation to grow in my own.
Michelle brings a wrap up to our guest posts for this season, and I couldn’t have picked a better way to end it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about gifts lately. ‘Tis the season after all. The constant barrage of advertisements for Black Friday and Cyber Monday and countless incentives make shopping for gifts seem highly important. As much as I actually love to shop and save money, those aren’t the types of gifts I’ve been pondering though. I’m looking at this a bit differently.
I like to think that giving a well-thought-out gift is a skill I have. I agonize and delight over trying to get just the right thing. Gosh, there is such joy in giving like that. If you’ve ever given someone you love the perfect gift and seen the pure joy on their face upon receiving it, then you know what I mean. These moments bring truth to the statement it’s better to give than to receive.
It often isn’t the cost or size of a gift like this that makes it significant. It is the thought and effort put into it. It can be a desire mentioned that you’re certain went unheard or forgotten, then you open the gift and see just the thing you admired and while it is lovely to have the possession it is even grander to know you had the attention of your love. You were heard and they made an effort to remember and bring your wish to reality. Aah yes, that is a good gift. The kind that makes you feel loved.
Keep that warm, satisfied feeling in mind and remember you have a heavenly Father who carefully selected gifts just for you. No one else could give the gifts He does. No one in the entire world knows you the way He does. He has given you gifts that are ideal for you and you alone.
Are you opening yours?
How would you feel if you put all of your efforts into choosing just the right gift for your child, you knew they were going to love it, and they left the package unopened under the tree? You would likely encourage them to open it and give hints about the amazing contents. Their lack of interest would be crushing.
I’m certain that God has given us each special gifts. He hints at what’s inside and urges us to open them. Sometimes we resist, other times we simply can’t see there is a gift amongst all the clutter. What a shame it is to leave these perfect gifts unopened.
I think without these being opened and put to use, we aren’t living the life we are intended to.
It seems to me that so many people feel unfulfilled with the lives they are living. They are going through the motions doing what needs to get done, but constantly fighting the feeling there must be something more.
There is more of course. Opening those gifts opens up a whole new world of possibility.
The richness of life lives in your special gifts.
So open up the gifts you’ve been given with the enthusiasm of a young child on Christmas morning. Allow yourself to be surprised at what you’ve received. Enjoy the way it fits you perfectly. Marvel at the gratitude of receiving something so miraculously perfect. Soak in the love it was given with.
It is silly to be apprehensive of such an offering, and yet it seems to be our nature. Perhaps we feel unworthy or feel pressured to use the gift correctly. However, just as a parent delights in the joy of a child playing with a much hoped for new toy, our Father wants to see us enjoy what has been given.
Sometimes, it is easier to recognize the gifts others have been given. What if we made it our mission to nurture those gifts in our loved ones? This Christmas give voice lessons to your sister who secretly loves to sing. Give a journal to the friend who loves to write. Give tools to the husband who can fix anything. Rent a community garden plot for the aunt with the green thumb. Give your children experiences that develop the gifts you clearly see in them. Do this and watch them flourish as their souls come to life. Watch them use their gifts to bring joy, fill needs, and help others.
How empowering it would be if we emboldened those we love to take time away to volunteer at a cause where their gifts would be invaluable? They would likely find the abundance we all sense life should hold.
I could easily make a wishlist of presents I’d like to receive; I’ve got my eye on some cute gray booties and a plaid scarf, for instance, but what if I asked for something that encouraged me to hone my own gifts instead. Surely, that would bring more lasting joy.
This season, know in your heart that you already possess the most precious gifts you’ll ever receive.
Make sure to open them and give thanks.
Michelle truly believes that our lives are meant to be amazing adventures and that those adventures can keep us close to home or take us around the world. She dreams of living in the country, but within close proximity to a Target. She is married to a guy she has loved for more than 25 years and doesn’t feel old enough for that to be possible. Her son has her wrapped around his dirty little fingers. Michelle writes about seeking grace, celebrating beauty, and living with gratitude at One Grateful Girl. You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.