Did you ever receive a gift you didn’t want? I mean, you really didn’t want or ask for. Did you cry, pitch a fit? Stamp your foot? Scream at deafening decibel: “I don’t want this! I wanted something different”?
Well I certainly hope not. That would be most impolite, quite rude. What the bratty little sugar-high kid does at his birthday party with too many guests, too many presents.
Embrace the Gift by allie taylor
The dictionary defines a gift as “something given willingly without payment, a present.” It’s great fun to receive a gift, even more so giving one. Gift giving is truly an art. A good gift giver doesn’t necessarily choose a gift according to his own personal taste.
A good gift giver considers the receiver’s taste, their interests, personality, hobbies, available space, life situation, etc. A good gift giver considers the recipient’s need. Not necessarily want or whim, doesn’t always give what the receiver asks for.
And a good receiver? Says thank you.
In April of 2010 I’m given a beautiful, custom-made gift. But not the one I ask for. Along with thousands of other expectant moms, I ask for a healthy baby. And I’m dismayed, shocked to discover I don’t receive what I ask for, pray for.
In time, shock recedes, anger wells as the permanence and reality of Hudson’s Down syndrome diagnosis and complications set in. And I behave like the bratty little birthday kid on the sugar-high at the party. Rude and demanding to the Giver. Stamp my foot. Ungrateful for my intricately woven, divinely chosen gift. God’s gift to me, our family.
I’m already blessed with three healthy boys, and my expectation is to receive yet another? Is this my due?
Monitors beep, blare as I pore over that perfect little profile in the NICU, tentatively reach through the isolette window, through tangled wires, feeding tube. Gently trace tiny velvety ears, count teeny toes. I wince at pitiful cries from blood draws on those precious little feet.
And I’m angry at the Giver. Angry for me. Angry that this baby gets no choice, receives an extra chromosome he never asked for.
Angry my family’s future has been forever changed in an instant.
I can’t see through the fog yet, don’t understand the Giver’s gifts are all good, beautiful. Don’t yet comprehend this gift was chosen tenderly, knit stitch by loving stitch with infinite care in the secret place, specifically for me, for us, our family.
For the Giver. To bring Him great pleasure and joy.
I don’t yet understand this gift will grow me, stretch me beyond myself, mold me into a different person. That in embracing, caring and advocating, I’ll experience intense pain but even deeper joy.
Don’t yet see how I’ll be forced to unravel a selfish corner of self I don’t know exists, learn self-sacrifice. That in receiving, unwrapping and embracing my gift, I’ll draw deep from the well, experience the true heart, kindness and goodness of a gracious Giver.
My eyes are wide open, but I’m blind. Eyes smarting, can’t see for the thick, stifling fog, the smothering, pressing in from every side, direction.
In time, I’ll see.
I’ll see in the silence, the quiet, the weeping. In the dark, baby rocking in the wee hours. In the loneliness. I’ll see in whispered prayers, perpetual medicine droppers. In prolonged snuggles, fluttered lashes.
I’ll see in pumping for an infant that can’t nurse. Counting precious fingers, toes. I’ll see in sacrifice. In years of reflux, changed sheets and clothes, towering laundry piles. I’ll see in the kindness, compassion, empathy of others. In staying home, missed ball games, recitals. In the first crawl at two, first labored steps at nearly four.
I’ll see in smiles, tiny triumphs, peeking mischievous eyes during dinner prayer. In sticky little fingers signing “I love you.” This is how I’ll see, drink in the grace, face of the Giver. How I’ll come to be thankful my family’s future has been forever changed in an instant. Changed for the better.
Maybe you’ve been given an unexpected “gift”, situation, diagnosis, pain. (Or several.) Something(s) you didn’t request, don’t want. Don’t know where you are in that process, your pathway to sight. Don’t be afraid.
Unwrap your gift, the one you didn’t ask for. Have faith. Believe it was carefully, lovingly chosen for you. Embrace it. Let your gift change and grow you, bless you. It might turn out to be your biggest blessing in disguise.
In time the fog will dissipate, the sun will rise again.
Hudson giggling with Dianne, September 2010
You’ll smile, maybe even laugh again. In time, you’ll see.
Related post: She Picked Up Her Pen
So far, this is my favorite post of yours. I understand it only too well. God doeth all things well. I love you!
Thank you, and love you back!
Thanks for sharing the pic. It’s a moment I’ll always remember with fondness. Though our trials are difficult now, when we see God face to face we’ll say “It was perfect. You knew just what I needed to get me here.” (Quote from a sermon I’ll always remember.)
I love that quote. And the beautiful smiles in that picture. Thankful for you and Bill. XO
Linda Jenkins says
This brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes my life seems difficult, and yes, I have been angry when the gift I received has not been the one I asked for. Only you could put all of this into perspective so beautifully. Only you…one of the most precious gifts God has given me. How you have enriched the lives around you! I thank God everyday for the gift of you. I pray He will bless you as you have blessed others.
Nancy Hammett says
This loving post post brought tear to my eyes. God strengthings us through our trials. Thank you for sharing this. Your post has been a blessing to me.
Susan B. says
Such a profound point of view from a mother relying on God. You will inspire and encourage so many.
Absolutely beautiful….made me cry….tears of joy. So incredibly true that we need to ‘accept the gift’…I felt the same when diagnosed with RA at the age of 37 with a 2 year old. I also happen to personally adore the gift God gave you 🙂
Thank you Jenny. You are a wonderful blessing to MANY!!!
aunt pinkie says
Such precious thoughts- such tender sharing. Thank you for your loving vulnerability. God has blessed you in a myriad of. ways. And just think- He’s not through with you yet!
Jennifer Robinson says
Allie, this is so beautiful. Thank you for being transparent.
Thank you Jennifer.
Tracy Costa says
What an absolutely beautiful piece! Written so well! For a minute, I felt that I knew what you went through and are going through with that very special gift. I know that without experiencing it my self I do not truly know. But….. you were able to bring me close to “knowing ” with your beautiful words. You are so very talented in so many ways! Not only did you help me to understand what you went through but helped to make sense of some of my gifts too! I learn so much from you Allie. What a gift you are! Love you!!!!!!
BEAUTIFUL!! I just have no other words, except that it was also great to see Dianne. =)
Sallie Eisengrein says
thank you for showing us a glimpse of your journey as you learn more of God’s Mercy! We see His Mercy through your words, beautifully written!
Aunt Margie says
You have taken us on your journey, into a black hole, blasted by the the storm, warmed with the sunlight of gratefulness. Thank you for the many hued glimpse of where you have come in five years. Gives us all hope. You can rejoice because your blinders have been removed. Your gift is indeed precious.
My thanks to all for the gracious comments, and also for being there during some really hard times. Some of you know there have been even harder times still. In the excruciating, we look Up. But we also depend on one another to come out on the other side, thank you.
Barbara B. says
What beautiful thoughts, but though unlooked for gifts, prayers not answered, desired outcomes dashed, you learned to look upward, smile again, and through heartbroken tears you opened wide your heart, let the Savior fill the saddened, tearful eyes, and gave you unfathomable grace to lift the hearts of many others suffering myriad sorrows, unlike yours, but just as gut wrenching and agonizing, He gave you something else you didn’t realize, the gift of EXPRESSION IN WRITING and the ABILITY to touch the heart of others, to bring the gift of believing, kindness, love to so many others that they will never be the same because of your gift and sharing the beautiful Grace of a Loving God!!!! God bless and keep you pliable in HIS HANDS!
Tears, tears, and more tears. You certainly have inherited the Fall “way with words”. I do not have the words to comment, except to say that it certainly resonated with me. It reminds me of the beautifully true but painful quote from C.S.Lewis, “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.” I remember you had this on an index card on your kitchen window sill when I visited in 2010. I needed that quote then and still do today. Thank you, Allie, for having faith to allow God to use you as an instrument to witness to and bless so many people.
Don’t think there’s a day that goes by that I don’t think of that C.S. Lewis quote, Maggie. You’re very special. XO
Nellie Merritt says
I remember asking myself…what did I do? what was God trying to show me? what’s to happen to my boy? Over the years God taught many things and I’m still learning . As I prayed for Matt ‘s healing God answered my prayer and took him home to be with his heavenly Father,perfectly healed.and gave me joy in the midst of sorrow, telling me I have Matt Merritt he is Mine ! Joy, Peace,God’s LOVE
Barbara Child says
God has taught you so much, Allie! So many Christians NEVER learn the lessons you’ve learned and expressed so beautifully! Isn’t it amazing how far God brings us in our struggles and unexpected challenges! It takes real maturity to focus on the positive and wonderful aspects of having a special needs child rather than on the negative. The world around us sees mostly the negative, sad to say. I know He will give the strength for each new day! Love you!
Kaylene Yoder says
SO Beautiful! Your ministry here is sure to speak life to many struggling, questioning hearts. Blessings to you and yours, dear one. Thank you for sharing with Grace & Truth. I look for ward to reading more from you next week!