Today is my wedding anniversary. About six years and nine months ago, my sweet husband asked me to be his bride and my two daughters if they would be his daughters. That exciting request led to our marriage on 6/5/4 at 3 in the afternoon. We entered the church as 2 and left as 1. Today was not just the day a marriage was made, but also the day a family was formed, so we call this our family anniversary. Everyone in the family gives and receives expressions of love - cards, gifts, hugs and kisses. Of all the things I will receive today, one will be the most precious. At this moment, my heart is beating erratically in wild anticipation. Every year Scott writes us female-types a letter entitled "5 Girls and a Man". He recaps the milestones, memories and emotions of the past year with delightful individuality and touching clarity. My memories are made all the richer when intertwined with the gift of his.
This morning, my reading is John 14. In this inspiring chapter, Jesus outlines several presents He gives to every believer.
- A Home (Verses 1-4) - Whether I'm still living in the house I was brought home from the hospital to or have moved 15 times in as many years, my home here is just temp housing. Like most women, I crave security in my life and relationships. Nothing spells security to me more than having the same address year after year. Little did I know, I've had that all along. My true address is in heaven where my sweet Jesus has been busily preparing my room ever since I said, "I do" to Him.
- A Helper (Verses 16-17, 25-26) - There are numerous moments in my life with four children where the thought flits across my forehead that if I just had some help - say like a full-time, live-in nanny, maid, chaffeur, and cook - this mom gig would be a lot easier. Since I'm guessing one of those isn't wrapped up as my anniversary present, I suppose I'll just have to deal. But wait. Here Jesus tells me that He sent the Holy Spirit to empower me through all the moments of my life. He sits at the ready in His apron waiting to cook up joy and peace in my heart, to drive my thoughts toward God, to clean out the dirt and to straighten the chaos in my life. I don't need to get a helper; I already have One.
- His Peace (Verse 27) - How much I crave peace in my life. Really just being able to go to the bathroom uninterrupted would be a blessing. My life is jam-packed with blessings and sometimes in the midst of all the activity, it seems chaos rains more than peace in my home. Jesus left His peace here with me as a gift. Like a delivery left on the doorstep, it just waits anticipating being opened. I have to choose to open this gift by spending time in prayer and in the Word. When I take the time to unwrap that package first, the remainder of my day overflows with His peace.
Probably one of my favorite phrases in this section, is found in Verse 27. "I do not give to you as the world gives." Jesus has given these three incredible gifts to me but not like I give. What does that mean?
- No Re-Gifting - Jesus doesn't take unwanted homes, helpers or peace and pass it along to the next unsuspecting recipient. Instead, His gift to each of us is unique and perfectly packaged for our situation and circumstances.
- No Grudges - He doesn't give a gift simply because He was invited to a shower or because that person remembered His birthday last year. Chances are He wasn't invited to the shower and His birthday was forgotten last year. Nonetheless, He prepares the perfect present and gives it without even a hint of a grudge.
Thank you, Jesus, for these perfect presents, not intended just for use on my anniversary but every day. I will open every package You give me today. Help me to learn to gift with Your style, full of grace and thoughtfulness.