Enjoy the Gift!

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I lived a pretty over-confident childhood. For the most part, I had few self-esteem problems. (Read: I typically thought of myself more highly than I ought to have.)

It wasn’t until the year of the miscarriages that I truly realized the world didn’t revolve around me. It was a hard realization. One of my take-aways was that God would allow hard and even bad stuff into my life. I might not be able to control it or combat it. And I would experience sadness and pain, whether or not I thought I “deserved” it.

Fast forward through years of hardship. I know this is all for my good. I know that pain is a part of growing and learning and becoming more Christ-like.

The flip-side of that, at least for me, is fear.

  • Fear of cancer.
  • Fear of debilitating illness.
  • Fear that one of my children or me or my husband will die.

I’m well aware that these things can happen. And the “what-if’s” flood my heart from time to time. It is a weekly battle of mine, exacerbated when someone is ill or when someone has to travel.

Last week I traveled.

And I fretted about it for days in advance. Our life is far from perfect. But, I love my life. And the idea of losing one of my people from whatever random thing I could imagine in my three-day absence struck fear in my heart.

mission bay fishkids sm

I was lying in bed the night before leaving, thinking and praying about this. I thought about how each of my children, my husband, the home we’ve created, these are all gifts from God. I know this. I am so very thankful.

And the next thought was this:

How do I want my children to behave when I give them a precious gift?

Do I want them to hoard it? Do I want them to cower in fear that I might take it away? Do I want them to question why I might give it to them in the first place and if I were plotting to undo it?

Of course not! I want them to enjoy it, be thankful, use it for good. I want them to cherish it and appreciate it.

Of course that’s what God wants us to do with the good things He gives us. He’s not the kind of puny god who gives and takes away for fickle reasons. He loves his people and wants to do them good in all that He does.

This may seem like a small, simple thing. But, it was huge for me. This was what I needed to be able to kiss my people goodbye, trusting that God had no sinister plans for them. That my job right now is to enjoy my family, cherish them, and not fear that I will lose them .

Right now, I’ll just enjoy the gift!

Don’t bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This isn’t a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. If your child asks for bread, do you trick him with sawdust? If he asks for fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? As bad as you are, you wouldn’t think of such a thing. You’re at least decent to your own children. So don’t you think the God who conceived you in love will be even better?

Matthew 7:11, The Message

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  1. I worry like this all the time. It’s just my nature. I was thinking just yesterday about how grateful I am that I had two healthy, uneventful pregnancies and that at 4 and 2 my kids have barely had more than a cold, which I know some folks personally who have had much harder times. I have seen my share of losses and hardships but also my blessings and gifts. Not a day goes by where the thought of losing my child or them losing one of their parents worries me. I remember growing up, even as a young child, when my mom was late coming home from work I would worry if she was okay. I remember once when I was probably in my early 30s when my mom told me that she always worried that when she says goodbye to me it would be the last time she would see me. I love the “living in the moment” times and wish that I could embrace them more often than I do. My kids are so awesome and when I go a day without seeing them (very rare) I truly miss them. When I was pregnant the first time, my boss at the time had just had his first child (after their first miscarriage) and he said the simple words that always resonate with me. He plainly said, “Try to enjoy everything now because you never know when something is going to happen.” Amen.

  2. I love your post. I can relate. I saw God’s faithfulness and experienced His awesome provision after my young husband was diagnosed with cancer 1 yr. after we married and died 5 years later. But I also find myself coming nose-to-nose with fear too often, knowing that facing loss will come again. I remind myself of God’s goodness, His perfect plan and that I’ve learned much thru my times of grief and growing. He has not changed. Thank you for such a good perspective of trusting God’s timing and thankfully enjoying the moments we have. ((hugs))

  3. Me too. (I don’t watch the news much for this exact reason!) Romans 6-8 have helped me a lot (I am not a slave to my fear, but a servant of righteousness) and I just came across Psalm 112:7–“He will not fear evil tidings;
    His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” I also love your attitude of God’s wanting us to enjoy our precious gifts, not cower in fear that he’ll take them away. What a fabulous mindset, and I’ll definitely be adding this to my “worry arsenal” 🙂 Thank you!

  4. Thank you for this post. It is nice to know I am not alone in my thoughts. Sometimes I am paralyzed by all three fears you mentioned. I try to remind myself that God has plans for good and not for harm. Makes me wonder how I then can think He is out to take someone away from me. The two thoughts don’t mix. Thanks for your encouragement and the reminder of how God wants us to cherish our gifts.

  5. There is not even one day that passes by without me having at least a little moment of fear that something might happen to one of my 2 little girls. Anything bad I read on the news gets me terrified. Thank you so much for writing this, it gives me an amazing and beautiful approach to this fear. I really need to grow more in faith. Thank you.

  6. This SO describes me to a T. I have your kind of positive attitude and thankful heart most of the time. I just hope and pray that when He decides to take away or change something in my life, that I will continue to trust and know that He is faithful God; One who loves me more than I can imagine.

  7. You remind me of me when I was younger. I think my “fear of losing” comes out when dealing with medical stuff. I had never really had any medical experience–except for 2 healthy babies. Then when hubby turned 30, he was diagnosed with a congenital heard defect that required pretty much immediate open heart surgery. Nothing like that to make you face your fears. This is the 5 year anniversary of that. I was thinking the other day that I’m glad we don’t have to go through that again. Then this week we found out he has a non-cancerous growth in his head about the size of a golf ball, and it needs to come out. Here we go again! I know, though, that God is in control. I also know that my mother in law will worry enough for the both of us, so I try not to. I have more concerns over the recovery. There is nothing like a sick man… Great post… and timely for me!

    1. Blessings to you. I know this will be a hard time. But, so glad you’ve got a good track record.

  8. I can so relate to your fears. I have been making a conscious effort to pray instead of worry over the last several weeks and months. Currently I am on bedrest due to pregnancy complications. I am almost 20 weeks and at my last appointment the dr. told me losing this baby is a real possibility. I will do my best to “enjoy the gift” of this sweet little life growing inside me!

  9. Great post! I can fully relate…I have a lot of anxiety over things I can not control! I’ve bookmarked the Bible passage so I can refer back to it often 🙂