The rectangle box lay at the end of the stack of presents to be opened. One by one I worked my way down to it. Seeing the delight of each child as I opened each carefully selected present, spoke volumes to my heart. The joy that filled their eyes as they lavished their love on me was indescribable. Their eyes told the story of their hearts. Would I receive their gift? One of my daughters had told me the day before, "Mom, remember I like to give gifts, don't look at how much it cost."
It was my last gift of the day. As I picked it up, I found a note in his handwriting declaring his love. The words themselves were a gift. Slowly pulling the paper away, the white box lay in my hands. As I opened it, the weeping began. My dear husband had bought me a new laptop. You have to understand the history to gain the significance of the gift.
Years ago I had prayed for a used laptop to begin writing. Papa God saw fit to place a desire on the heart of one of my friends who had some extra "giving" income to buy me a new one. Her words were the gift that lingered in my soul. "I believe God has a ministry for you so my husband and I are giving this gift to you to help start you off."
A few months ago that very laptop had been accidentally dropped by one of my children and with it went some of my treasures. Here months later, I sat with a brand new laptop, tears coursing down my cheeks. My husband believed in me too.
As I sat there weeping, seeing the tears in his eyes, it was then I saw it for what it was, extravagant love. Being a one income family that lives on a very tight budget, I knew this had come with sacrifice, and cost. In a millisecond the debate went through my mind...what would I focus on? The cost or the extravagant love? I am prone to focus on cost. But the look in his eyes kept beckoning me to see love.
Why is it so hard to receive extravagant love? I mean I do OK with having my needs met. But there's something about extravagance that tugs at my heart, struggling to take up residence. What is it about lavish love?
Love knocks at my door and I struggle to open it, for fear I have burdened another. It's proof that I still don't understand true love. In gentleness Jesus speaks to me.
"Jewel, when someone loves with extravagance, it's not a sacrifice to them. It's a natural response to love. The problem is, you see the cost, while all they see is the desire to love."
Why is that, Jesus? Why do I feel guilty? Why does my mind go there?
"You are afraid of what loving you might cost someone." "You don't want to burden anyone." "But don't you understand, dear one, loving you is not a burden, it's a delight." "Love bears all things...without knowing it's bearing them." "When you feel guilty or that you are a burden you are still looking at love through your faulty value system." "You do not see your true value."
"You do not feel worthy. You do not want others to sacrifice on your behalf. But that's not true love, Jewel. True love IS sacrificial, yet the person offering love doesn't see the sacrifice. They consider the gain of giving love."
"It's time to receive, Jewel."
Receiving is so much harder than giving. I can see why now. I am looking through the eyes of what I think it must cost to love me. I do it with Papa God too. His love is extravagant, yet so often I diminish it because of my own unworthiness.
It's time to receive... He wants to lavish His love on us all. It's not a sacrifice to Him. It is pure delight. He sees that He will get to love us if we will see the love and receive.
His pure, unadulterated love is there, waiting to be received. Just like me, in a millisecond of a moment you have a choice. Will you focus on the sacrifice or the love? It will make the difference in how you look at the gift. The gift of love is offered. It is You He sees, you in all your beauty. His eyes beckon you to look beyond and see the love. What will YOU see?
"I have loved you with an everlasting love. I have drawn you with lovingkindness" Jeremiah 31:3
©copyrighted: 2008 Julie L. Todd