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The Gift I Didn’t Want
I held my breath in anticipation as I unwrapped the gift. The year was 2005 and we were still newlyweds crazy in love, and I was opening my big present from my new husband.
He was excited about this gift, I could tell by the look on his face and because he’d made a few references to how he’d chosen it just for me. We had been married for six months and I was certain he had chosen something unforgettable to commemorate our first Christmas together. I imagined a delicate piece of jewelry or my favorite perfume, or maybe something that featured our names monogrammed in a lovely script – something romantic and heartfelt.
When I opened the gift I was very surprised and a bit disappointed. For our very first Christmas as husband and wife my ever-practical husband gave me a roadside emergency kit for my car.
Not at all romantic.
Or so I thought.
I was mostly speechless, and managed to squeak out “Aw, thanks, Babe.” as we moved on to the next round of gifts.
It was later that day, after the paper and ribbons had been thrown away, and Christmas dinner had been enjoyed, that he explained his heart behind my gift.
“You travel 40 miles a day going back and forth to work, and your car isn’t new anymore.”
I knew he was right, and I knew exactly where he was going with this line of reasoning.
“I want you to be safe in the event the car breaks down or won’t start. The kit has everything you’ll need, and jumper cables in case it’s the battery.“
I knew his gift was thoughtfully chosen, hand picked for me. But it didn’t seem romantic, or special, and it wasn’t even pretty. I tried not to be disappointed, but deep down – where I didn’t let him see – I was.
That was nine years ago. By now I’ve become quite used to my husband’s very practical gift giving, and I love him for it. And do you know what? Of all the gifts my husband has given me over the years, that roadside emergency kit is the gift I’ve used the most. It has come in so handy not only for myself with my car, but it also has allowed me to help others when I see them in need of assistance.
My husband chose that gift because he desired to provide for me and protect me even when he may not be with me. That is romantic. He wanted to make sure I was as safe as I could be if I ever found myself in an otherwise unsafe situation. That is special. He was preemptively lightening my load in what is often a frustrating experience. That is a beautiful gesture of love.
He demonstrated his love for me by giving me a gift he knew I needed, but one that I never really wanted.
The Gift of Infertility
Years later, when I was in the trenches of wrestling with God over our infertility, I realized that in His grace and sovereignty, God had demonstrated that same kind of love to me. Infertility was a gift I never asked for, and one I certainly didn’t want. But it was a gift.
Through infertility Christ drew me to Himself. Though I was wounded in the wrestling, He healed those bitter scars. My pain and tears collided with the Source of all comfort, my bitterness was crushed by His grace, and my broken heart was tenderly pieced together by the Masterpiece Maker, and filled with a joy and peace that only He can offer.
Identifying infertility as a gift rather than a curse wasn’t easy and changing my thinking didn’t happen in one definitive moment. It was through hours of prayer and Bible study, months of wrestling and questioning, and the grace of God that my bitter heart was changed.
For me the gift of infertility was found in the sovereign will and glorious purpose that only God could have orchestrated. While we hoped and prayed for God to open my womb, we had no promise that He would. But we did have His promise that He would be faithful to us, and that He is constantly working His will for our good and for His glory.
In spite of my petulant attitude, God used our barrenness to shape me and mold me. He graciously allowed me to wrestle with Him! Because of His great love for me He used what I once thought was the most grievous diagnosis as a way to relentlessly pursue my heart! What a gift.
Maybe you’re facing a harrowing journey that is leaving your heart bitter. Have you ever considered that maybe it’s a gift, unwanted though it may be, from a God who is pursuing you with extravagant grace and resplendent love?