Adoring the Gift and the Giver

For my birthday a few weeks ago, my sister let my niece and nephew choose the gifts they wanted to give me instead of tagging their names onto gifts she bought for me. My niece let it slip that they were going birthday-present-hunting, so I couldn’t wait to see what ended up in their shopping bags.

They both gave me jewelry, but it was my ten-year-old nephew’s gift that made me laugh. I opened the box to find an enormous rhinestone bracelet with gargantuan gemstones.

I slid it on my wrist and a kaleidoscope of snazzy colors glowed brilliantly from every mammoth stone. I was pretty sure I could attract any type of insect {from very large to very small} with these rays of multicolored light beaming from my bracelet.

As I oohed and ahhed over it, my nephew said, “As soon as I saw it, I knew that’s what I wanted to give you. That really caught my eye because it will go with any color you want to wear.”

It certainly will. I think it matches everything in my closet. {And any outfit I have yet to buy in the future.}

Even though I wouldn’t have chosen the bracelet for myself, knowing that my nephew gave it to me because he knows I love fashion and jewelry changes how I think about it.

There are some pieces of my life story that I wouldn’t choose for myself either. Some of those pages hold circumstances and experiences that I certainly don’t view as gifts. I think of them to be tolerated or endured or hurried through. 

And I wish for something else instead. 

Something delicious with a cherry on top, perhaps. All treats and no tests or trials. 

Because if I could, I would choose only dazzling days filled with faithful friends, captivating conversations, brilliant books and cozy cups of coffee and cream. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

But what if I considered that everything that happens in my life is given with love in the heart of the giver? Artfully planned and thoughtfully chosen just for me. 

From a God who wants to show me his goodness. 

But good isn’t always wrapped up like a gift. 

That’s the surprising secret I’m unlocking. What at first looks like a heartache or unhappiness could turn out to be the unrecognized gift of grace.

Sometimes it’s hidden in a difficulty that feels more like a problem or an ordeal.  

Sometimes it’s concealed in a prayer when the answer God gives is no instead of yes.

Sometimes it’s tucked deep inside a disappointment that gives God the opportunity to heal a hurt heart.

I’m opening the door of a truth I’ve long wondered about. Why should I pray if my life’s story is already known to God from beginning to end? Aren’t all my days already written with indelible ink? 

But God sees the entire movie-reel of my life, from beginning to end. Challenges or difficulties aren’t interruptions but opportunities for divine encounters when I try to see them from his perspective.

I don’t understand all the mysteries about prayer, but I know that it changes how I view my days. And how I think about my life.

I’ve been praying a prayer for longer than a year now. I didn’t know how hard this God-led adventure would be. How much stamina and perseverance it would require. 

But I also didn’t know how exhilarating and stunning it would be. I find myself saying words to God that surprise me, even shock me a little because I've silenced my heart for so long. Now I'm discovering desires of my heart that I didn’t know were there.

But it's the unlocking and opening of my heart that leads me on, closer and closer to the heart of God.

These days of journeying with God are vivid and dramatic, vibrant and radiant, forming the ever-changing, multifaceted kaleidoscope of my life that looks a lot like my new bracelet. 

I don’t think I have another piece of jewelry that matches everything I could possibly wear like that bracelet does.

When I look at it, I see a dazzling gift from my nephew, given to me with love because he was thinking about the things that I love.

And that changes everything.

I'm linking up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for Your Heart. Click the image for more encouraging words!


  1. I'm your link-up neighbor over at Holley's today. Your words - and your images - are lovely. This post reminded me of Laura Story's "Blessings." They don't always look like we expect, but they sure are good. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Becky,
      Thanks for visiting and I appreciate your words of encouragement!

  2. What a hoot, Valerie! I laughed out loud: "it matches everything in my closet. {And any outfit I have yet to buy in the future.}." You are a masterful wordsmith. I will ponder and savor your thoughts about the gifts in disguise that our Father bestows--i appreciate the new perspective through which to view life's circumstances. Beth

    1. Beth,
      Perspective has such a rippling effect on so many areas of our lives and it's not easy to keep it focused on the one who holds our lives in his hands. But it's so worthwhile!

  3. Frist of all, belated Happy Birthday! Love the article. God's 'gifts' to us come in many ways - oftentimes it's not until later, that we realize what a great gift it really was. Love that you see life as kaleidoscope....makes it always interesting, enjoyable and provides times to savour that we least expected. Great pictures, too!!! Keep the articles coming! So proud of you!!

    1. Sharon,
      Thank you for the good wishes! I love these photos of the old door and lock too! :)

  4. So sweet! You are so right-we would choose only good, but then we would never appreciate it. And we don't know what is good for us like our creator does!

    1. Sarah,
      It's trusting that he knows what's good for us that's so hard sometimes! So grateful for your encouraging words!

  5. Wow. Your words are so powerful and insightful. They make me feel more courageous. And sometimes I need that badly! Thank you!

    1. Christy,
      I need to remind myself of these things every day too -- more than once, usually! And we could all use a good dose of courage, I think! :)

  6. Your sweet, sweet nephew! I love how you can see a life lesson in everything. God is in all circumstances and is waiting to show us so much if only we'd open our spiritual eyes. Thank you, Valerie, for always pointing that out.


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