The gift I wanted to return (or how to be a better receiver)

Nov 5, 2010Family Uncaged, Find joy today

Two Christmases ago, I opened the semi-heavy box while my family smiled. Ugg boots! Outwardly I rejoiced. I’m plagued with terribly cold feet, even in summer. It’s painful and frustrating, and I’ve kept the genius who invented fuzzy socks in business because of it. Even so, inside this little voice plagued me. You’re not worth Ugg boots. They’re too expensive.

This mental plaguing went on several hours until I could take it no more. “I’m taking the boots back,” I told my husband and children. Once smiling faces now looked at me forlorn.

“No! We bought those for you,” one of my kids said. My husband shook his head.

“The money could be used for different things, things we need,” I persisted.

I made my family sad. And eventually I saw the light. They saw my need, my inability to keep icy feet toasty, so they gave me a gift–a gift they sacrificed for. And I wanted to deprive them of the joy of giving, all because I was way too practical, or I felt too small to receive something big.

Deep down, it’s that feeling of unworthiness that got me into trouble. I forgot that I was one of the people on earth Jesus deemed worthy of His sacrifice. Because God created me, formed me in my mother’s womb, I have intrinsic value. And, beyond that, God gives good gifts to His children.

I’m forever indebted to my sweet, sweet family. I can’t be whole without their steadfast patience and love. Truly. They pressed me to keep the boots, hugged me into the decision, proving to me my worth in their eyes. They showed me the extravagance of giving, of loving, of how beautiful a family can be. “God makes a home for the lonely; He leads out the prisoners into prosperity, Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land” (Psalm 68:6, NASB). U2’s words are true: Sometimes you can’t make it on your own.

So today I sit with warm feet. Tonight at the last season football game, I’ll never fear cold feet. I live in these boots every winter. They wrap my feet in warmth, but more than that they remind me of the wildly extravagant love of God and the beautiful faces of my family.