Yes, Two Rings, Not One

Yes, Two Rings, Not One

It finally occurred to my daughter this week that I was wearing not one, but TWO rings on my ring finger. She had woken up earlier than usual that morning and wouldn’t allow me to coax her back to sleep. But she, of course, knew how to coax me and asked if we could worship. Can you say no to that? Not really … and I think she knows that.

So I dragged myself into our closet where she had already darted into with my oversized study Bible which looked just about as big as she was. Then as she plopped onto my lap with unexplainable energy for five in the morning, I began to pray and fight the spells of sleep coming over me.

My heavy eyes still shut, I could feel her playing with my fingers and rubbing my diamond ring. She does this often and the only reason she no longer asks if she can wear it is because she has given up. After being denied so many times, she finally understands that it is from daddy and it is special to mommy. But this day, as she looked down once again at all the sparkles and fine details of the ring she longs for, she suddenly gasped. After taking a closer look, she screamed, “umma you have TWO!”

Then, right on cue, came every three year old’s favorite question.

“Why? Why, umma? ..Why do you have two?”

Although usually pretty straight forward, sometimes her “why” question requires, begs, deserves, or simply invites deeper thought. This was one of them. Although she probably only asked because she hoped it might be an “extra” one to share, I ignored her burning desire for it and sat and thought and decided to really ponder the reason for these two rings. The next few moments of dawn were then transformed into full blown story time, still right there in my closet. We forgot we were surrounded by hangers and hangers of clothes and got lost together in the story instead.

I told her that the first ring was bought by daddy when he chose to marry me and be with me forever. He wanted to make it special, so he took me to my favorite place with lots and lots of horses. After taking a moment to talk about all the pretty horses, I continued on. When he asked me to marry him, I said yes because I loved him and chose him too. Now I wear the ring everyday because everyday my answer is still yes to be with him forever. Then I told her that I got the second ring on our wedding day. Standing with family and friends and God, I said yes to daddy again, and this time, it was my promise to God that I would be with daddy forever.

Sometimes I think about that moment of exchanging rings and vows–lofty promises really. I used to cower a little thinking about them because I knew I had broken them many times in the moments I failed to honor, cherish, and love my husband well. Even while standing at the altar that day, repeating those words eight years ago, I should’ve known then that I wouldn’t be able to keep all those promises. But you never make a promise thinking you’ll break them.

Such are the promises I’ve made to God. Especially when I first said yes to Him, I’m sure I spewed out many a grand promises to Him along with those buckets of tears. And still today, there are many things I want to do for God well and many I hope and say I’ll do. Other things I’m too afraid to even utter, God forbid I cannot carry them out. But I don’t think the point is so much in the promises, much less the success, but in the heart to do them and in the grace we find along the way, even as we fail. And maybe wholehearted broken promises are just part of the plan because I have just seen too much good come from my weak yes’s and failed attempts at life, so many times that it makes me wonder if this is just the way it is supposed to be.

To fail is humbling for sure, but maybe not so bad when grace is involved because it has truly been in my weaknesses where I have been seeing God’s perfect strength to be a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend, etc. These days, I am learning what it is to be less. And more than my promises to Him, I am desperate to understand His promises for me. Still, I won’t be afraid to say “yes.” Everyday, my answer will be yes. Why? Well, because I love Him. And I choose Him and want to be with Him. Forever. Like He first chose to be with me.

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Home for the New Year

Home for the New Year

I have a confession to make. In recent years, I have discovered that I really love good gifts.

For a while, however, I was in denial and convinced myself and others that gifts did not matter to me at all. I thought they were a waste of money, superficial, and a poor substitute for showing “real love.”

My husband didn’t believe me for a long time. Even though I told him over and over again not to buy things for me, he always had a gift ready for every occasion and some for no occasion at all. Then about four years into our marriage, he considered that I might have actually meant what I had been saying all those years, so he decided to stop buying gifts for me altogether.

That year, there was no gift for valentine’s day, nothing for my birthday, nothing for our anniversary, and then nothing when Christmas rolled around. Absolutely nothing.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly when I realized that I really love gifts, because to both his and my surprise, I was really upset.

“But… I thought you didn’t like gifts, babe…”

“I know….that’s what I thought too…. I don’t know why I’m so sad.. maybe I do…”

Since then, I have become keenly aware of how much it means to me when I get a good gift because receiving a good gift means that I was on someone’s mind. It means that they found me valuable and worthy enough to spend their time on me, their energy, and their resources. It was costly in many different ways, but they did it with joy as an expression of their love. And that is why I love a good gift–it evidences LOVE.

And I believe that is why God loves to give gifts to us, too. Because He loves us and wants us to know it. He delights in giving good gifts—perfect gifts in fact—and He knows exactly what we want and need. God showers us with reminders of His love through sometimes big and sometimes small, but always precious and perfect, gifts.

Last week for example, He gave us a beautiful, new house. I’m sitting in it now looking  at the new appliances and the freshly painted walls, and I am still in disbelief. I am awestruck, really, not because the house is so magnificent, but because it is…perfect. It is perfectly charming, it is perfectly warm, and it has been perfectly well-kept and made ready for our family. And not only that, but it came at the perfect timing.

You see, back in 2014, it was New Year’s eve, and we were praying for a word for the new year. Foster care and adoption were newly on our hearts, but in the process, the social worker had told us that we needed more room to meet their housing requirements. So we looked into the possibility of moving. Unfortunately, we were financially tied down to that house and we couldn’t even afford to sell our home, let alone buy a new one.

Yet when we went to pray that night, kneeling in the middle of our living room floor and wondering how this would all work out, the clock struck midnight and we were ushered into the new year with encouragement. Danny and I both clearly felt the Lord tell us that He would deliver us into the promise land within the third year. So, we had peace to wait, and when I say God has perfect time, I mean He has PERFECT timing.

We moved in last week on December 30, and as we hauled in box after box, we marveled at the fact that it was exactly the third year since that word we received from the Lord. So we got to spend our first full day in our new house on New Year’s eve, and once again, we knelt down on our new living room floor, this time, to praise God for bringing us here in His perfect timing.

Those years of waiting in between, however, were necessary for so many different reasons as His will perfectly unfolded. There were days it was difficult to wait. Days we felt like we had setbacks and delays. Days we wondered if He would really come through for us or if we should just go back to the way things were. But then again, these were days we needed to grow and prepare. Days we were challenged to increase our faith in Him and love for others. Days full of miracles and prayers answered in His perfect way. Three years’ worth of days needed to make His perfect will come to pass.

God has made and continues to make ALL THINGS in our lives work for our good, and LIFE itself and everything in it truly become good and perfect gifts. They are part of His perfect will.

And now, we continue to wait on the Lord. We wait for the children who will come into our home. We wait for the lives that will be changed, including our own. But most of all, we wait for Christ, our most perfect gift, to come back and bring us to our heavenly home. For we know full well that this home now is just one stepping stone on the way to heaven where Jesus is also waiting to welcome us Home.

Thank you Jesus for this house. I really love Good gifts.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”