Who doesn’t love gifts, right? And from where do all good gifts come?
I teach Sunday School for our little church, and this month, I’ve been teaching the Holy Spirit, which slid into the Fruit of the Spirit. Each week, I try and present a simple truth, and I pray for God’s direction. I’m always amazed that He confirms things to me in the most exciting ways. I have ‘Aha!” moments, and because I’m very thankful when they happen, I seriously count them as God’s gifts. It’s as if I opened a wrapped surprise—something I’ve always wanted. The Lord does this in many aspects of my life.
For example, I’m currently all muddled on a novel I finished writing a month ago. I love it, but something is off. My deadline to submit it to my publisher is coming up, and I’m still rewriting it. I’ve been praying, and asking my husband for prayer, and seeking his advice. He helps me brainstorm through my manuscripts, and I may at some point need to put him down as a co-writer. Oh, which reminds me, we wrote a book together. It’s historical fiction based in bible times, but that’s for another blog post.
So, back to my muddy novel. When I get stuck, I start reading books on plotting. I watch videos, and search through my plethora of emails from writing coaches. But then I remembered a system that’s tacked up all over the wall in my Writing/Guest Room. It had worked once before, but I couldn’t remember the name of the system, and the notes on my wall were brief. It had been a year since I watched the video, but I finally found a keyword and googled it. Bingo. The author/creator of the system has become very successful because he now has a full-blown course that I can’t afford. So, I racked my brain trying to remember what notebook contained the scribbling from when I had previously watched his old video. Not an easy task, because like most writers, I have more notebooks than I can count. I finally gave up.
Often, I lay things aside and trust that if I’m meant to find it, the Lord will bring it to me. If not, He’s got another plan. That is a little difficult to surrender, but I did. My husband was waiting for me to watch a heart-stopping suspense series. Another reason I gave up looking. It’s challenging for me not to multi-task, even while watching tv, so I have books, notebooks, and pens next to me while “watching” the television. Sometimes even crocheting or knitting.
Subsequently, after forcing myself to pay attention to the show for thirty minutes (a long time for me), I picked up a red notebook that happened to be on the couch. It’s the one I use when critiquing in my writing groups. I was looking for a blank page to jot down some thoughts that popped into my head. I don’t know why, but I glanced through the first few pages of that notebook. Voila. There were my notes on that system from last September, the one I have plastered all over the walls. A surprise gift? Indeed.
Fruit, Vine, and Rocks
God did the same regarding my Sunday School class. Our class talked about cultivating love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control in our lives. We painted rocks as a fun activity to remind us as we talked about how these virtues manifest in our lives by staying close to the vine, to Jesus. I taught that we must cling (like fruit to a vine) to His Word by reading, praying, and obeying his commands. As is usually the case, I think the lesson spoke more to me than to the children, and I’ve been mulling over the fruit of the spirit and the vine since Sunday. Did God surprise me? He sure did.
This morning, I grabbed a book. I have a pile of little books I read along with my Bible. Some devotionals, poetry, theological or inspirational reads. I’m not good at titles, which is odd because I see letters in my head, not pictures. Except, in this case, I can recall the color or a defining picture on a cover, but never the title. Another hindrance is that I read at random. Therefore, I keep notes and review them later…if I can find them.
Well, with the Sunday School lesson in my subconscious…which means I’d forgotten about it, I reached for a little red book by R.C. Sproul. He’s one of my favorites, and by the way, the title of that book is Meeting Jesus ~ The ‘I am” Sayings of Christ. As I opened the book to my bookmark, there was the surprise gift. The chapter was The True Vine. I relished every word as His truths unfolded for me. Thank you, Jesus.
It made for a beautiful quiet time, especially since I was reading in the Book of Numbers. And I must confess, Numbers and Leviticus are the books I have had the most challenging time with from the Bible. Today I was in Numbers 9-12, and I’ll be on the lookout for what God is teaching me in that, as I haven’t received it yet.
A Gift for You.
But I did get one more gift in my quiet time. A surprise and I’d like to give it to you. I read a chapter from The Reflective Life by Ken Gire, and he said:
“If our day is indeed a gift from GOD, something of the Giver should be evident within that gift.”
I’m praying that if you’re reading this, that the Giver would reveal himself to you today and that you would be blessed as you seek to bless others. Today is a gift from God…open it. I bet you’ll say, “It’s just what I’ve always wanted!”