It was Christmas time and my daughter was about three years old. We had made the trip to Grandma’s house to celebrate the holidays.
We arrived and were greeted by the loving arms of devoted grandparents. After we said our hello’s and got settled, we went into the living room. In the far corner stood a Christmas tree that filled half the room. Under the tree were piles of beautiful, colorfully wrapped gifts in every shape and size you could imagine. Grandma had spent weeks preparing for the day her only granddaughter, whom she adored, would come to celebrate Christmas and she could lavish her with gifts.
The anticipated gift opening time finally arrived, and the chaos began! My sweet little 3-year-old daughter quickly got completely caught up in the event. She would pick up a gift, tear the paper off as fast as she could to see what was inside, study it for a couple of seconds, and then she would throw it aside and begin to look around to for the next gift she could open. My husband and I sat back and quietly wished that our little girl could take the time to enjoy each gift and show gratefulness before she was handed something else to unwrap.
God brought this memory to mind the other day. He used it to open my eyes to the bigger picture of what is in all of our hearts. We are all very much like my precious child was on that Christmas day.
As we grow up and begin peering into the future, we learn to anticipate all the gifts that God may give us, like going to college, having that great job, meeting that special person, becoming engaged, planning our wedding, having a baby, raising a family. As these gifts are handed to us, there is a temptation to receive the gift, and rather than taking the time to enjoy it, be grateful for it, and be content, we quickly look up and begin to anticipate what gift might be next. We often forget to take the time to be grateful and enjoy what has been given to us in the moment.
These life gifts, which we call seasons of life, are once in a life time gifts. With each gift of a season of life, we are entrusted with specific callings. We only get one shot at being faithful to enjoy these gifts, and fulfill our callings.
The gift of motherhood is one of the most precious gifts and callings. It is one that most of us have anticipated for as long as we can remember. Sadly, after we are given this gift, we can easily become discontent and want more. We quickly lose sight of what a treasure we’ve been given, because of the challenges that come along with the gift. We rush ahead to open other gifts and get caught up in them, while some of the most precious gifts we will ever be handed, our children, can move lower and lower on the priority list.
Am I saying that if you are a mom, there will be no other gifts to enjoy? That we can’t anticipate more for ourselves during the years that our children are in our home? No. Not at all. But ultimately I believe that if we are not carefully, prayerfully and regularly evaluating our callings, making sure that we are not becoming distracted by other potential gifts, we might lose sight of one of the most important callings that we have. The gift of motherhood.
How can we evaluate our lives, making sure that we are being a good steward of the gifts and callings we have been given?
1. Look at your life. What have you been given? What are your callings?
2. List your callings in order of priority. (Example: God follower, wife, mother, member of the body of Christ, gospel proclaimer. )
3. Evaluate each gift you have listed, and ask God to show you how He wants you to enjoy and be faithful with each one.
4. If you find that you have been neglecting one of these gifts, pick them up and ask God to show you what He wants you to do, in the season of life you are in, to fulfill your calling.
5. After you have evaluated each gift, ask God if you have the time to do anything extra. With each season of life there is change. What you are able to accomplish looks different from one season to the next.
Evaluating my life in this way, on a regular basis, helps me to focus on the gifts I have been given, and helps me to avoid becoming like my precious, distracted 3-year-old who had beautiful unwrapped gifts on the floor at her feet while she was looking around for what was next.
I don’t want to miss out on what God intended for me to experience because I become distracted by the gifts that are not quite in my reach. Or because I desire more than what I have been given.
Oh, how much we miss if we get into the habit of receiving good gifts, and not taking the time to enjoy them the way the Giver intended us to. And how our children will suffer if we lose sight of them during those few short years they have been place in our care.