She comes close to me, her little six-year old eyes dancing in the delight she finds in mine. Yes. Her delight reflects mine still. She is not listening to others’ opinions of her. I am the loudest voice in her head still. She knows full well I delight in her. She is confident in my love. And so she asks me without even a little hesitation.
“Mama, you know that dresser drawer where you store all the presents for people before you give them? You know when you buy something just in case you need a present soon?”
“Yes, baby, I know what you mean.” She was right. I had an entire drawer filled with presents that I find ahead of time for people. All manner of things were in there… jewelry, gum, glow sticks, fabric tote bags, chocolate, books, pencils, stationary, empty journals, handwoven crafts, and handmade soaps. All presents, intended to give away; and their presence was on her mind.
“Well,” she said, batting her eyelashes at me, “I was thinkiiiiiing. And I was wonderiiiiiiing…could I pick out a present from your present dresser today? I know it’s not a special day, but I would really like a present.” I paused, we had been working on the concept of contentment for some time. And then I decided it was actually the perfect day to teach her about the lavishness of my love.
“Yes,” I said smiling, “you may choose a present.”
Gasp. She ran quickly upstairs and I followed. She tried to pull out the drawer alone and couldn’t. It was too heavy. I told her only I could open ‘the present drawer.’ So I opened it for her and opened up a world of possibilities. Her eyes widened.
“Can I pick ANYTHING?” she asked.
“Why don’t you tell me what you want and I will tell you if you can have it.”
So she pulled out a few things to chose between. A glowstick, a few tiny individually wrapped action figures, a bulk wrapper containing 4 packs of Fruit Stripe gum, a family favorite. I had bought the bulk pack for all my children to each have one smaller pack. She stood looking at all her choices. I saw her wrestling with how to ask for more. I saw her limiting herself as she didn’t want to ‘be greedy,” ‘come across as discontent’ or ‘take advantage of my generosity’…as if she ever could! How ridiculous, I chuckled to myself. She’s so nervous she will do the wrong thing, that she will ask for it wrongly, that she won’t ask at all!
I watched as she hoped silently, wanted to invite her to more. Waiting for her to find out just how much I was willing to give to her. Not for the sake of her well-being or prosperity, but for the sake of her knowing and drinking deeply of my love for her. And she asked so many questions, quickly ruling out the glow sticks because they only last few hours. She looked up at me very pensively and asked which one I thought she should choose, an action figure or the big pack of gum.
“Who told you you only could pick one thing?” I asked, eyes gleaming. She looked at me in disbelief. Boldness awakened. Ah. There it was. The birth of the realization that I intended to lavishly bless her with good gifts, not just crumbs from the table. Come on, baby. Just ask. Ask and you will receive according to my good will and pleasure for you.
“You mean I can have more than one thing?!” she asked incredulously.
“Yes, you can have more than one thing. I love to give good gifts to my children.”
“How many can I have?” You could hear the disbelief and the desire to not be seen as greedy. She didn’t realize I could re-fill the present drawer. I am not low on resources.
“Why don’t you just tell me what you like and I will tell you if you can have it?”
Then the fun began. Her eyes widened as everything she brought to me was a “yes.” First, one action figure, then two, then all eight. Then one book, then another and another, then a bracelet, then the big old pack of gum.
All “yes.” All glory.
Then she brought me a make-up kit. I told her she wasn’t old enough for that one yet; that I had gotten that one for her sister. I could see the jealousy and comparison well up in her and I watched her fight down the tears the best she could in her six-year-old maturity. She turned to hope and asked if she could maybe get one when she was older. I told her I would give her one when she was ready. And that appeased her for now. She looks around a little more, adding to her pile one by one, each “yes” moving us to radical joy together.
Soon, giddy with delight, she gathered up all her little arms could carry.
“Ok,” she said, very pleased, she declared, “I think that is enough!” When I asked if she was satisfied, she looked up at me with love-dripping eyes and swooned “Oh yes, Mama.”
“Good,” I replied,” that makes me happy. I love it when you’re happy. “Now, I want to tell you a secret. I actually bought that big pack of gum for all your brothers and sisters. Do you think you could share and give each of them one of the smaller packs inside?”
Pause. She’s going into her own head again. Will I be able to coach her into faith? Will she say yes and enter into the eternal overflow of this impossible economy of love or say no and have only this moment as a one-time experience to remember? Come on, baby, trust me.
“But Mama, I don’t want to share. These are MY presents you gave me and I want them all.” Tears of shame filled her eyes. “Does that make me a mean person?”
I pulled her close to me and whispered, “What if you knew that I was able to get more for you? If you give, you’ll receive even more, a lot more. If you give generously, you will also receive generously from me, even more than you can imagine.”
Suspicious eyes. “What exactly does that mean?”
“Well,” I laughed, “Do you trust me? If I tell you I will replace what you give and give you enough for you and even MORE as you give to others, do you believe I will do what I say?”
Sigh. Furrowed brow. This is what it looks like to work out faith. It all hangs in the balance here. Do you trust me?
“Ok, I’ll do it. But you will make sure I have what I need right? When will you give it to me?” I believe, help my unbelief. This is what love-driven obedience feels like at first. It’s enough that she is doing it, even if she’s scared.
“How many sticks of gum are in your small pack? Five? You’re allowed to have one piece of gum a day. By the time you finish what you have, you will have more, and even what you need to give generously again. Do you believe me?”
“Ok, then, go give your extra gum away and tell me how it feels and how they respond.” She walked out of the room and came back in immediately.
“Mama, you made me really happy.”
“I love to make my children happy and give them what they need and even more…what do you say when you have received something you like?”
“Thank you, Mama. I’ll be right back after I give the gum away.”
My little evangelist. I heard her screaming the good news outside the window and I heard how her delight spilled over into the lives of her brother and sisters as they became a recipient of my generosity through her. She came in beaming.
“How did it feel to give as generously as you were given to, baby?”
“It felt GREAT! When I get my next pack of gum, I’ll share that with them too!”
One day, maybe she will understand. I deeply desire to give her good gifts that I have stored up for her. I am not with-holding these things out of cruelty, but for the sake of timing. Sometimes I give them on special days, but I love to give when she asks too. It please me to give to her, to enjoy the abundance of our house. And to let good things flow from me to her and out to others. As I go to close the drawer I wonder…how long until her brother and sisters hear about this offer? And will they be bold enough to come and ask for gifts of their own?
I hope they do. I am not offended by my children asking for what they need and even what they want.
What gifts do you desire from your Father? How do you feel your childlike trust has been broken? He wants to heal that place. He loves to give gifts to His kids.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts (the Holy Spirit) to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7: 7-12, Luke 11:13
While this is written from the perspective of God, this was not a “word from the Lord,” but more of a creative role play as I meditated on His love for me and how it connects to my love for my children. However, I did receive a word from the Lord in March 2020 about standing in a treasure room Jesus was showing that was filled with gifts. I have been interceding for 2 years for the church to awaken and to desire to have what has been saved for them, until the time that they crave holiness and purity, until a time when their love for Jesus outmeasures their love for the world. You can read about that vision here.