When I was 9 years old, I wrote a ‘book’ titled Charles Squirrel (my brother) & Matilda Robin (my sister) complete with illustrations by Gina (my mother) and with her help (God Bless her for raising me) we mailed it to several publishing companies. My 9 year old self absolutely, without a doubt, believed that book would be published and on the Bestseller List by the time I was 9.5. So when the rejection letters began to pour in I was distraught for about five seconds until I moved on to the next project i.e. Save the Earth Club, meeting with City Council regarding a recycling program and posting only elephants should wear ivory signs in our small town. I am basically the same person today and I never stopped writing. I wrote all through school. I have blogged for over a decade and I have a special gift. I have many special gifts and one of them is sharing God’s message through writing. Can you believe it took a NO from Random House and 27 years for me to utter those words? Even as I type it, I feel a twinge in my stomach that I am being arrogant.
You have a special gift. Perhaps you are like me who spent years in denial. “God would never pick ME. I am just an ordinary Joe who could not possibly be equipped to work for God’s kingdom. I am not talented enough. I am not good enough. I am too damaged. I am too much of a sinner.´ Etc. Etc Etc. Lies, all untrue. Perhaps you are also like me and have had a hard time finding what your spiritual gift is. Spiritual gifts come in all shapes and sizes. Teaching, preaching serving, cooking, sewing, counting, mothering, fathering, drawing, painting, playing, decorating, baking, listening, singing, smiling...Every single one of us has a special gift from God. Somewhere deep in the secret places of your heart, you know. You know this thing that makes you tingle, this thing that you feel passionate about, this flame. If you are like me, you just need to fan the flame.
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to HIm.-2 Chronicles 16:9.
He is looking for you. His eyes run to and fro, just waiting for the time when you decide to turn your loyal heart over to Him so that you may be blessed indeed. Looking and waiting so that He can raise you up and put you to work and use you for the good. What I truly believe is if you will, to the depth of your core, turn your heart over to God, your gifts will become so apparent to you, you will wonder how you ever missed them. I have always loved God. But for a very long time I loved God on MY terms. You know the whole, ¨He wants me to be happy. He wants what MY heart wants. Jesus drank wine. I am entitled, deserve, etc. to feel MY way?” I loved a God who served me, a God who would bless me for good behavior and forgive me even when I knowingly sinned. A God who looked past all of my flaws and accepted me for me when I wasn´t really even trying to love Him, only myself. As imperfect as I still am, I have changed my mentality in so many ways. I have began to ask God how can I serve you. How can I further your kingdom? Make me a servant for you, God. I have quit making a lot of excuses and given up some bad habits. I have slowly turned my heart over to His hands and the transformation has been completely and utterly apparent. Listen, I have a long way to go but as I give more, as I dive in more, as I let go more God is showing me my place and purpose in this world and it is inevitably without a doubt to serve. Slowly and surely the doubtful, insecure, lost, thin skin is molting off and new brave, solid, tough skin is being formed. I have, throughout this process, continued to ask myself why me? If you know my past you are most likely wondering the same. I am an ordinary sinner with a treacherous history and the ONLY way I have an opportunity to share my gifts is by the Grace of God.
Because we know that this extraordinary day is just ahead, we pray for you all the time-pray that our God will make you fit for what heś called you to be, pray that heĺl fill your good ideas and acts of faith with his own energy so that it all amounts to something. If your life honors the name of Jesus he will honor you, Grace is behind and through all of this, our God giving himself freely, the Master, Jesus Christ, giving himself freely-2 Thessalonians 1:11-12
Can you believe that? Can you believe that really all you have to do is give God your heart? Turn over that damaged, cracked, sinful, used up, broken heart and HE WILL HONOR YOU. He will HONOR you. It is amazing in my eyes. What has happened in my life is nothing short of a miracle and nothing short of God filling my good ideas and acts of faith.
I have no idea what my plan is, what my future holds. Will I publish a book? Not likely. Will I write beyond my blog? Maybe. Maybe not. I yearn to live quietly, to mind my own business and devote myself to my family and to my God. I do not know how the two can mesh. But it is not up to me. I will continue to pray that I will be used as HE sees fit, not the other way. The plan He seeks for us must come first in our hearts. The possibility that even one single person might be uplifted by my gift is enough for me and I assure you God has made me keenly aware of that possibility. What I am suggesting is that perhaps my gift is never going to get the nod from Random House but it can always glorify God and that, my friends, is ALL it is all about.
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.-2 Timothy 1:6-7
As we ring in a new year, BYE 2016 is all I have to say, make a little room in your heart. Fan a little flame. Add a little power not fear. Let a little something go and replace it with Him. Give Him a chance to show you what can transpire when He is number one. Seek to serve HIM so that he can, in turn, HONOR you. It is in you and through the laying of His hands, your gifts will emerge and you will be blessed. As I have typed this blog, I have thought of at least 100 people and all of their special gifts. Kindness. Generosity. An open heart. Humility. Self-control. My daughter´s teachers and coaches and their spouses. What gifts they have. Our pastor. Our civil servants. The sweet ladies behind the fountain at our local drug store. My husband. Oh the special gifts that guy has. That story will come soon. My sweet neighbor across the street brings us soup and treats, and most importantly tortillas from our little tortilla factory, at least once a week. She has many, many special gifts but sharing is up there with cooking. A bowl of soup dropped on my porch helps give Henry an early bite, helps pack Bettyś lunch, helps when I do not want to cook at all, helps me have lunch during work the next day. To her it is a small act. To me, it changes my week. You do not have to be published or have a million dollars or get 1,000 likes on Facebook. You do not have to be famous or attractive or educated. Sharing your gifts in your small circle is equally important.
I was moved to tears several times over the past month when I heard James Taylorś version of In the Bleak Midwinter:
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what can I give Him: I can give my heart.
I am no Danielle Steele or Michael Phelps or Ivanka Trump. I screw something up every day and I really need to work on some of my not so special gifts. I am just plain ole Grace Davis Pshigoda.
What can I possibly give Him? I can give my heart.