On receiving gifts.

I spent a better part of my 33 years wanting.

I am an only child, so growing up I was doted on–both emotionally and with material items.

I did not grow up spoiled by no means, at least in terms of how I acted.  My parents would not have had that.  But I was used to getting the best of everything.  Receiving came naturally.

And don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it.  But you know how sometimes God begins working in you long before he saves you?  Somewhere around age 7, I became keenly aware of how much I had and how little some children did.  I can remember one Christmas in tears that I had a bag full of gifts to open and there were people in the world who would have nothing.

I am glad for that heart of compassion that has grown and is being molded since the Lord chose to save me.  It hasn’t always been there even though I had that pivotal moment in 1987.  The teenage years grabbed the worst parts of me and brought them to life.  I had my moments of kindness and putting others before myself, but they were fleeting.  I wanted what I wanted when I wanted it.  When I was on my own and no longer had parents who purchased it all for me, I purchased those things for myself even when I did not have the means at all to do so.  I’m not the kind of girl who gets her hair done or likes name-band handbags (well, actually I like them I just wouldn’t spend crazy money for them!), but I love gadgets and drool over every Apple product that comes on the market and sometimes it’s just wanting to buy a new bedspread for our room or even the desire to want more money to be able to bless others more!  It’s not that these things are bad in and of themselves.  It’s when those desires consume you or when you become bitter about not having those things that it becomes a problem.  It’s sin.  So I’ve had to come a long way to not feel the need to always be in a constant state of want.

But I have come to a place in my life where I never want it to be about me.  I dread receiving gifts because I already have so.much.stuff.  I can feel very guilty to the point of being overwhelmed that I have so many things and there are those who can only dream of having even a roof over their heads.

I try hard to dissuade people from giving me gifts and try to divert the blessing to a more worthwhile cause.  Still, people will often want to bless you personally.  This past birthday I celebrated was no different.

But I realized something this past week that really put a new spin onto receiving a gift and how even something that is just for me can be turned into something even greater.

Every time I use something that someone gave me as a gift, it reminds me of that person.  I’m sure this happens to you.  You may smile and move on.  But to me it’s a reminder to pray for that person.  Seriously, my prayer life has been revolutionized because of this!

DSC05314That beautiful notebook that “D” gave me where I writing the current spiritual journey I am on?  It reminds me to pray for health and for marriage to remain strong and for children who are serving in our military to remain safe from harm.

The adorable mug (and Trader Joe’s Spicy Chai Tea Latte!) “H” gifted me?  It reminds me to pray for a young mother dealing with not ideal circumstances.  It brings me to my knees to pray for healing and help and for husbands who are in leadership and carry a great deal of weight on their shoulders.

The long-admired duvet cover I was able to purchase?  I think of four sweet girls who chipped in to bless me with a gift card where I was able to treat myself to shopping at a store and buy some things for my home I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.

And the list goes on.

I do not want to feel guilt when I receive gifts–whether it’s a present, a meal, or a helping hand.  I know the Lord allows us to receive blessings and that’s okay.

I am so glad He brought it to my mind to use these items as a means to remember friends and family that are dearly loved.  This practice has become so routine already that I can look at many things at my home and know instantly who to pray for in that moment.  I no longer have to wander aimlessly in my home seeking things or people to pray about.  It’s all there, right in front of me.

Try this practice and I guarantee you will be blessed.

If you’d like to share in the comments, name a gift you received and how you can pray for the person who gave it to you.

Love and blessings,

Lis.

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