Sometimes I think we find ourselves asking "Does God really want to give me good gifts?"
The answer- we know in our heads- is yes. Of course. He says so in his word:
But does he really mean the things we REALLY long for? Or is this just like the necessary gifts- like the obligatory socks & undies from mom and dad at Christmas.
Matthew 7:11 (New International Version)11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Today I was convicted. Today I know he LOVES to lavish good things on us.
James 1:17 (New International Version)
17Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.Think about the "Perfect Gift". You know you've searched for it. Whether its for your Best friend's Wedding or for your Mom on Mothers Day or for your Sister on her Birthday or your Child at Christmas... You've searched long and hard to find JUST the PERFECT thing... the gift that they will LOVE above all others... the thing that will bring them great joy... the thing that shows you KNOW them well. (and that "something" is not socks & undies!!)
Why did I think God would goto any less trouble than what I would do for my friends, my family and especially my only child!?! Why would I think he just wants to give me the functional NEEDS (socks & undies) of my heart and not the DESIRES of my heart!?
So if you've been around me in the last 10 yrs at ALL, you know that I LOVE taking pictures. I adore it. It brings me GREAT joy to be able to capture the moments of life and then to go back and look at them later. I LOVE creating photo gifts and printing pictures for people. LOVE it. Especially when it was during a meaningful moment or event like Birthdays, weddings, and worship times. Something deep inside of me wells up when I get that "perfect shot" and I LOVE when my friends use MY photos as their profile pics on Facebook! I LOVE being depended on to be the "Shutterbug" as my friend Sarah called me.
So at my roommate's 30th bday party towards the end of the night in Nov, I let my child take a pic of me and some sweet friends (bc the only prob w LOVING taking the pics is that I'm rarely in them!)... and he dropped the camera. Not once, but TWICE on the hard wood floor. The lens made an awful noise and the screen went black and flashed "Lens Error". It wouldn't do a thing. The camera was dead.
My poor child didn't know what he'd done and he definitely didn't mean to destroy the thing that brought me such joy... but it was done. I put on a happy face (bc it felt silly to cry over a camera) and tried to just make the best of things for the next month... going into Christmas with my 4 yr old.
Past Gifts #1
My dad loaned me an old camera to use so I wouldn't miss out on too many memories... but it wasn't "mine" and it didn't take the quality of pics I was used to. I got through the holidays and the snow days (Nate's first time to play in snow) with some ok photos - and definitely was trying to be content... but at the same time I wanted MY OWN camera.
Then after Christmas- some friends randomly showed up at my house to "help pack". My roommate (who never takes pics) put a camera in my hand to "look at some pics" of something and then I ask "Who's camera is this?" and she answered "Yours."
It was the EXACT same model as the one I'd had and broken. Everyone is looking at me knowingly, smiling, and I just start crying!! I was floored w the generous hearts that gave THEIR hard-earned money AT CHRISTMAS TIME to buy ME something I
Past Gifts #2
Unfortunately, that camera started acting up after only a few weeks (it was used off of Ebay) and basically stopped working. So my good gift was broken and I was sad again... resolved to not be able to take pics unless I stole cameras from friends (at events) and saved up for my own purchase of a camera. I stayed silent bc I didn't want anyone to feel bad that the gift only lasted a couple of weeks (and I wondered if I'd done something wrong or what?). I began to think that I didn't deserve the gift anyway so it got taken away. (A LIE!!!)
So then a month or so later, I went to a bday party outside of another dear friend and drove up and said out loud to my roommate "Man, I'm bummed I dont have a camera- this would be good to get pics of."... exit the car and another friend comes running over to me and says- I have something for you... So we walk to her car, she opens the trunk and hands me a bag. In it- I see a camera case. I'm stunned. I don't know what to say. She just said "Its yours!" w a huge smile and proceeds to tell me that she doesn't want it, she was going to give it to me before I got the other one, but didn't, and then how if I wouldn't take it, she'd be giving it to her mother. So... I accept and am FLOORED!! I happily snap away pics of friends and am filled w such JOY that God gave me another GOOD GIFT even after the first two were broken!
I think i read the entire book on the camera to learn what it could do and I was overwhelmed as I learned about all the cool "professional" things it could do! This camera was definitely a step UP from the last two. (God gave me better than I asked for- something he's done w me before w both Housing and my Car).
Things were AweSOME with this camera!! I was excited to take it to Peru... I began having so much fun learning it, snapping away and being the happy little shutter bug again... for 3ish weeks. Friday night- its taking pics fine... sat morning I take a self portrait and then it dies. Completely. Dead. What in the heck!? This time I'm REALLY REALLY sad... bc it was an even fancier camera that I KNEW i couldn't replace and it made me camera-less... AGAIN...
I really questioned God again... not believing that the gifts he'd give me were safe. IT even started to make me not hope for Good things from him... bc they'd just get ruined. (LIES again!) Being so deeply saddened that the gifts I'd been given randomly decide to break less than a month after I've had them...and when the 2nd gift broke- i was really wondering what the deal was... Did I not take care of them well? (I did. Didn't even let Nate touch them. Used the case, etc)... Does God not WANT me to have good gifts??? (That, my friends, was a lie. Of COURSE he does...) Did God not WANT me to like photography?! Was this a SIGN!? What are the ODDS!? 3 cameras breaking in a 4 month time period!? Who else does that HAPPEN to?! It was so frustrating and really really sad. Esp when I had to go through ANOTHER holiday (easter) without pics and then a Women's retreat too. Big events that weren't documented!! (I know- ppl think i'm goofy that i care that much about taking pics- but it mattered to me and made me so sad.) Luckily I got to snag a friend's camera for some of the wkd and snap some good shots!
God cares though. He cares about what I care about.
So today i'm having lunch w a sweet friend. She's running late but says something about running errands. She gets here and tells me she has something for me - its in a target bag. I open it and am SHOCKED! Are you kidding me!?!? For real? You're giving me a camera? You can't give me a camera? This is a NEW camera? This is kinda a pricey camera! You cant' spend that on me!!! "God told me to a while ago... i was just a little slow to come through. Sorry about that! And look- it has a 3 yr warranty... so hopefully you won't have to be without a camera for a while!!" she said w a grin.
God cares. God wants to give good gifts. Even in the "little" things (that was a HUGE thing to me!) We dont get ONE gift and then its someone else's turn. He wants to LAVISH us with GOOD THINGS!! (and not the socks & undies - but the fun things that make our hearts happy!)
I HAVE A CAMERA!!!!
Maybe now I can use this one for my all the time stuff (snapshots, events, etc) and one day soon get the other(s) fixed and either give them away or only use them when I'm trying to be a "serious photographer" :)
I really can't believe that just since New Yrs - this is the 3rd camera my friends have felt prompted to GIVE me!! No strings attached. I am SO blessed by the group of people I walk with every day. I'm blessed that they KNOW what I love and they KNOW me and they LOVE me both because they know me and in spite of the fact they know me.
Today, I'm just amazed at how God cares about the LITTLE things that we LOVE... For me- today its photography... and blessing me by the PEOPLE I've chosen to surround myself with. Today I'm thankful that My GOD gives good gifts. And today i'm believing he'll give you your heart's desire too!! Don't believe the lies!! He loves you because he loves you because he loves you because he loves you.
Romans 5:5 (New International Version)
5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.