Growing up, I couldn’t help but notice that my grandparents always got much nicer gifts than I gave my own parents. When I was giving my parents token gifts like candles, socks, and picture frames, they were giving my grandparents whole outfits, complete with perfectly matched accessories. I was impressed. At the time, I simply assumed that my parents bought those incredible gifts because they had more money. Now that I am the generation buying gifts for grandparents, I think there may be more to it than that. At least there is for me.
As my kids get older, I am facing some frustrations and challenges that I never really thought I would have to face, my kids having always been fairly easy to deal with and willing to be corrected. I am beginning to understand that no child is perfect, yet I do believe that teenagers are a perfect illustration of human nature in its most honest form. In watching my children struggle, make mistakes, and pass judgment on themselves and others, I am learning much about myself.
Poor choices, harsh words, and selfish thoughts from my past have been popping up in my memory lately like chipped and ugly Whack-a-mole rodents. And every time they do, I think of my parents, my patient, forgiving, and persevering parents. Immediately, I start shopping for their birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Christmas in my mind. My praying, supportive, loving, affectionate parents deserve jewelry, nice clothes, thoughtful cards, trips to the day spa. Let’s be honest. They deserve cash in large quantities.
Strangely, or perhaps logically, my worship habits seem to have followed the same progression as my gifting habits. I used to think that I had worshipped adequately and done something noteworthy in God’s eyes when I sang well, used Jesus words in casual conversation, or teared up at some point during the sermon. However, I find that when I allow God to search my heart–which I find about as easy to do as sit still in a chair without arm restraints when the dentist is coming at me with a drill—and bring the ugliness of my own sin to the surface, my compulsion to thank Him for my salvation, praise Him for His goodness, and hug Him for His mercy intensifies. My Heavenly Father’s holiness held in contrast to my own imperfection compels me to love Him, and I find myself wanting to give Him something big. My God deserves more than words, more than sentiment, more than a few hours of my time each week. Let’s be honest. He deserves my entire life.