I’ve been on the hunt for IT. You know what IT is, THE gift. The one that absolutely thrills and delights the recipient. The one that brings tears to their eyes, lights up their face or makes them jump right up and do the happy dance. Not just any old gift…I want to give THE gift. To everyone on my list.
Looking back on my own gifts, from others, I can easily name the IT’s. The black bean-bag baby when I was 4, my first attempt at mothering. The Easy Bake Oven when I was 7, my first attempts at cake making. The cassette player/recorder when I was 10, my first attempts to make my own music. The camera when I was 13, my wee steps into capturing life on film. The 1950 era bicycle when I was 15, springing me into a love for vintage styled things. The birthday cake in the shape of a Nancy Drew book when I was 12, celebrating my love for books. The letter my mom wrote me when I turned 18, affirming me, telling me she treasured me, opening my eyes to the power of written affirmation. All cherished IT’s.
Looking back I see that those IT’s were special because they touched off something in me. They were seeds that grew into something I love still. Being a mother, making beautiful cakes, writing music, capturing images, old things, reading and writing. Important things in my life. Started by a gift.
But when I search deeper, to the BEST gift, the biggest IT's origins rest in my grandmother. From this simple woman grew the vine that entwines my heart still. From that vine blooms a flower that brings beauty to my life, a fragrance that wafts over me still and fruit that nourishes my soul. My grandmother gave IT first to my mother, who passed IT down to me. The gift…. of a Godly example.
She had a difficult husband. Which is like saying that Niagara falls is a drip of water. She lived in poverty. I still remember the outhouse, the baths in a metal tub. She worked in the cotton fields from the time she was 4. She experienced heartbreak, losing her beloved twin to sinful choices, until just a few years before he died. She suffered the agony of seeing some of her children choose to walk away from God. And suffered right along with them when those choices brought them pain. But she choose to keep a clean soul, a good attitude and a song in her heart.
She loved God, His house, His people, His ways. She was simple in her standard of living, but rich beyond compare in Heavenly treasures. She decorated with Heaven in mind. On the wall beside her bed was the Missions Poster with all the missionaries. She put it there so she could read aloud their names and pray for them as she went to bed. I wonder how many miracles grew from the seeds she planted overseas, with those daily prayers?
She believed that what God trusts you with, is enough. She made do with second hand clothing and hand made gifts long before it was in vogue to do so. She didn't just WISH she could give to worthy causes, but to FOUND a way to give, by making fried pies at her kitchen table to sell for missions. She traveled the world through the gateway of books, and honored God's book first by reading it through every year. She believed that beauty isn't something you can buy in a jar. It is something you have to cultivate in your spirit. Daily prayer kept her beautiful in her words and deeds.
She planted a seed with her every deed. And those seeds, are still IT. THE gift. The one I treasure most. The one I saw first in her, then in her daughter, my mother. The one I want to pass on.
IT doesn't come cheap either. It means dedicating daily time in Gods word. It means making Godly choices. Ones that are hard. Ones that are going to cost . Cost money, cost time, cost convenience. It is an expensive gift no doubt. And it is the only gift that will outlast us. After our lips are silenced in death IT will speak on. After our hands are stilled by time, IT will reach out and bless others. The best gift ever... a Godly example.
I want to live IT, I want to give IT.
Labels: example, gifts, mothering