The Gift

photo stripI’m going to share something today that is sort of outside the box from my normal posts.  It’s a personal story.  Super personal…in fact, it’s just me and God in this story, and no words were ever spoken out loud. I usually don’t share stories about my faith, but this was one of the most touching and powerful moments in my life so far.  It’s a memory that I’ve treasured in my heart, and that has carried me through some very dark times.  I want to share it with you today.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The setting is a small 1940’s bungalow.  I was a young Mama who was setting up housekeeping in my own home for the first time.  Kyle and I had been married for about 5 years, and living in tiny garage apartments while he worked his way through school.  I had been working at a lovely high end picture frame and art gallery, and I loved that job.  But I’d always dreamed of the day that we could start a family…that I could be home to raise my children.  It was something that we both wanted.

Cooking with my first baby

But here I sat with my dream in my lap, and it seemed full of holes.  Being a Mama to a toddler was hard work.  Far more challenging than I’d ever imagined.  And the dream of coming home had always been connected in my mind with my husband getting ‘THE job’.  The “I’m a graduate with a real job” job.  And that didn’t happen.

The secretary position that he’d held through college at the small family owned company just quietly extended into a full time job with what most would consider part time pay.  It just was what it was.  My man is a loyal, steady guy that wasn’t ready to jump into a new career, and his degree boasted ‘entry level’ positions into telephone marketing.  Which made both of us cringe.

I guess I didn’t realize how hurt I was over this.  How my expectations of him had driven a wedge into our marriage, and how bitter I’d become.

It all became clear one afternoon as I sat down during nap time and flipped through a magazine that someone had given me. They’d done a spread of vintage kitchen remodels, and my eyes landed on a chrome wrapped French Press coffee carafe on the table in the picture.  *gasp*  I’ve always had a weakness for vintage designs and beautiful, shiny objects.  Especially of the kitchen gadget variety.

vintage kitchen

The french press in my cabinet was the clunky looking low end model with the cheap plastic handle and lid.  This one was GORGEOUS.  I quickly flipped to the back and located the carafe in the Resources page.  $30.  So far out of my budget at that point that it may as well have been $300. coffee press close upInstantly, in my mind I started the dialogue, “Back when I was working, $30 was *nothing*…we had enough to where I could buy special things like this.  But not NOW.  God, WHY did you give me a husband who isn’t providing for me?”

Whoa.  Yuck.  But I didn’t even realize how ugly I sounded.  In fact, it just sounded…normal.  Familiar.  It sounded like the real me.

Just as soon as my heart had uttered those words, another thought flowed into my brain.

“Who is your provider?”

I closed my eyes, and internally fell to my knees.  This was not a ‘natural’ thought for me.  I saw myself.  What have I become?  How did I get here?  I repented.  “I’m so sorry…so sorry.  Lord, You are right.  You are my provider.”  I was convicted, and reminded of how God sees even my inmost thoughts.  And loves me enough to correct me.      dolldump-ohno! The magazine was shoved away, and I was once again pulled into the undertow of being a Mom.  Living my dream, that up close involved a lot of laundry and cooking and dishes and caring for a busy toddler who was currently in the ‘can I fit into the dryer?’ and pantry-raiding potato-biting phase. H-m-m-m But the focus of my heart had changed.  I felt a weight lifted off of my shoulders.  I could love my man right where he was, and trust that God would provide for me.  For us.

About a week later, I walked into the thrift store.  I’ve always LOVED a good thrift store…it’s like a treasure hunt.  And at that time in my life, it was all that I could afford to keep us in clothes and shoes.  My few dollars stretched so much further, and I knew that I could find brand names and great quality if I were picky.  And I am picky. Thrift store prices have ruined me for retail shopping forever.

As soon as I walked in, my jaw dropped.  There, on the shelf right in front of the door, surrounded by plasti-canvas art and other random junk was the coffee pot. 20131219_102336 (2) The gorgeous, chrome wrapped vintage coffee press right out of the magazine.  It was $2.98.  MY coffee pot.

It was a gift from the One who loves me even when I’m undeserving.  A gift from the One who is my provider, and who knows and cares about my innermost thoughts and desires…even ones as silly as a pretty coffee pot.

Even now, over a decade later, when I think of that day- the coffee pot is not what meant the most.  The tears in my eyes then (and now) were because I really realized for the first time that He saw me and cared for me. Personally, intimately, and deeply.  And when I was the most undeserving.

So, where ever you stand right now…whatever beliefs or trials- I want to offer you this gift.  It’s actually a re-gift that was given to me years ago, but it’s even more of a treasure to me now than it was that day: there is a God.  He sees you, and He loves you.

If you’d like to start opening that gift, I highly recommend the books of John & Romans in the Bible.  If you already treasure this gift, then please share it with someone else!

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  1. M. Hayashi says

    God is so good! Thank you so much for sharing this precious message from God. I needed to hear it. :) Merry Christmas!

  2. Cindy Young says

    “Re-gifting”…I love this idea so much, Gwen! I believe it is a word that is very much in-season for my life right now. Reading this, the Lord has spoken to me…I am claiming this word as mine for 2014!
    He truly has been my provider, tho my losses have been great. But I go back to that February day in 1978 when I received His offering of eternal life through repentance and faith towards God, and once again I am reminded that this world is not my home!
    Thank you for this precious reminder of His faithfulness towards those He calls His own!

    Cindy

  3. Maria says

    I am a lost for words or there are too many words to share. Gwen, you so blessed me with this post as well as convicted, not condemned, but convicted me as a wife and as a woman in general. Thank you for listening to God.

  4. Joyfulmomof6 says

    Beautiful.
    I had similar experiences to yours many times.
    I love going into Thrift Stores because it’s like shopping with God :)
    He means it when He says there’s NOTHING He can’t do.

  5. Joyce says

    Thanks so much for sharing! It sometimes takes awhile to realize we’re off track. and He is always faithful to bring us back!! Merry Christmas Gwen. I’m new to THM and I really appreciate your info! Thanks!

  6. Dorothy Mullet says

    Thanks so very much for sharing, God has spoken to my heart thru you. Blessings to you and your family this Christmas Season!!

  7. Gail Golden says

    What a beautiful story. I’ve had things like this happen, too, and I always write them in my journal because there are days I forget the lesson. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  8. Missy Griffith says

    Oh, Gwen! What a beautiful story! It is a memorial for you each time you see that coffee press. So glad you shared.

  9. Phyllis R. says

    I love this! A reminder that God is a personal God who cares not only about our needs but about our personal “wants” as well! I had something similar happen awhile back regarding a loaned item that was never returned. Before my thoughts could grow too bitter, I found the same item, same brand (even though it was years past being available to buy new) at a garage sale so my friend and I could each have our own without her ever knowing I really wanted it back! As you said, it wasn’t even about the thing itself, but it really hit home that day when I spotted my garage sale find how much God cares for ME!

  10. AmandaEspinoza says

    Thank you for sharing! I was this all the time and not only in thoughts but in words.. God is so good to move us out… prod us along… 😉 Thank you for being real! He is a faithful God!

  11. Melissa Moore says

    This is so beautiful, Gwen. He sees me. He knows me. He loves me. How beautifully illustrated with this story. Thank you for sharing!

  12. Amy says

    Oh goodness. This brought tears to my eyes. I can resonate so much with this post. I instantly wished I could sit with you and drink coffee from your precious press and share stories of how God has been so kind to this whiney little child of His. He’s such a gentle Dad. And I sure don’t deserve it. Love you and don’t even know you, sister. :) Thanks for sharing.

  13. cbuggs says

    Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your personal story and your heart! I have tears running down my face as I read this because it so resonates with where I’m at right now. Such hope in this post! He truly is a God who sees. Thanks for reminding me of this!

  14. Heather H says

    For several years now I have been wearing worn-out running watches, while constantly browsing those nice Timex ones…something that would look more polished at work and at church. But I just couldn’t afford to pay $60, or even $30 when they’re on sale, and (by the grace of God!) kept telling myself no, that it was a “want” not a “need.” The other day at Target I happened on the clearance section and there were some beautiful Timex watches, with leather straps and just the sleek look I’ve wanted, on clearance for $11.98. I felt the Lord saying one of these was for me. Every time I look at it, I think, “Thank you, Lord!” because it’s the same as your coffee pot – it wasn’t just a great snag, it’s like a tender gift from Him to me that says He SEES me and wants to give me EVERY good thing. Even a watch I don’t “need”! He is so good!! I am so in love with Him!

  15. Tina says

    I am new to your site and was just browsing when I came upon this post today. It was just what I needed as a stay at home, homeschooling mom who has been trying to focus on what God has given me rather than what I don’t have that I think I need. God works in wonderful ways to encourage this Momma’s heart…..my gift this week was a vintage kirby vacuum system for $35. Sometimes He puts us in those “tight” times just to let us know how much He loves us and that we can depend on Him! Thanks for your post!!

  16. Patty says

    Oh, Gwen! I will never meet you on this earth, but your blog has been a big help to me, especially this post. Thanks for being so brutally honest about this. I’ve had to release the dream home my husband has been promising to build me for so many years. I’ve silently released it to God. And finally, I am at peace living in our used double wide with its holey walls and cracked windows. I know how hard my dear husband works to provide for us all and I know if it were in his power he would have built our dream home long ago. It’s downright cruel of me to expect more, more, more. I’m going to trust God to hold this house together until we don’t need it anymore, and in the meantime I’ll just try to make improvements as I can. And yes, God is so so good!!!

  17. STACEY says

    Your story touched me more than you’ll ever know………….It’s funny when people say how LUCKY they are, I tell them; I am more than lucky, I AM BLESSED !!!

  18. Sandy says

    I have a story that is similar to yours! More than you could know. And I learned the very same lesson from our Father. He not only provided our needs but so very many wants. Things that I had yearned for and had not even asked God or anyone for. I have learned that God loves us more than we can even begin to imagine. I also found “the things” that I thought I needed appeared at thrift stores or garage sales!! As you well know, giving is the way God rewards us with the extra special items we receive. You cannot out give our Father!! Thanks for sharing.

  19. Kellie says

    Thank you so much for sharing this very real reminder of just how much our Heavenly Father cares about the little things. We are still in the “little bungalow” stage of life and I really needed this sweet reminder that He is waiting to bless us, if we just stop and listen.

  20. Heather says

    Gwen,

    It is good to know that I’m not the only one who has gone through it too. We are a family of 3 in a small apartment and can’t afford much more than thrift store finds. This story brought me to tears because I’m glad I’m not alone. Recently, we went to a thrift store to find clothes for my son and my daughter found a Fisher Price toy that I thought would have costed $30 or more on clearance. She asked if she could play with it and I didn’t know what to say because if it it was that price we couldn’t afford it and oh man…getting toddlers to realize that is tough. So we casually walked over because I said we will look at it. By God’s grace it was $5 and we had a 50% coupon that made it $2.50. I can’t tell you how relieved I felt. Thank you for sharing this story. God ALWAYS provides but our timing is not always right. 😉

  21. Brenda George says

    This is beautiful Gwen; and I have been there several times myself. God Bless You in all that you do, for I know you do it “in the name of Jesus”.

  22. Angie says

    Beautiful story and reminder! I know this is true about our God- He knows how to show us His love in special ways.

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