In case the post title doesn't properly explain, let me clarify: by "that time," I'm referring to last Christmas. 31 days ago. An actual date which will go down in infamy, at least in my house and marriage. That's right, folks. My husband, the man I love and cherish, the one I swore 'til death do us part, bought me a Rubik's Cube for Christmas. And not just that.
It's the only thing he bought me.
I'm happy to report that my husband is still alive and well, albeit barely. He's lucky he's good looking.
I know what you're thinking: this chick is exaggerating. Surely he bought her more than a Rubik's Cube. And you'd be right...sort of. He bought me a pack of sugar-free gum, and a bag of Starburst candies, which is HI-larious, because I am not a fan of Starbursts. Those were the stocking stuffers, and the Rubik's Cube was my main Christmas gift.
I know, LC. Like, woah.
To be fair, my husband and I had agreed to go light when buying each other gifts this Christmas. The problem is, methinks, that we have slightly different definitions of the word "light."
To me, going light on each other's Christmas gifts meant that I bought him smaller items, like a couple of awesome Yeti coozies, and a reusable icicle to stick in his favorite adult beverage to keep it cold. That and a few Star Wars t-shirts and a few pairs of Star Wars boxers and a new book and three bags of his favorite candies and...you get the idea.
To my dear, sweet man, the love of my life, "light" meant a few nasty drugstore treats and a Rubik's Cube.
I'm not gonna lie, folks, I didn't respond ideally. That's not to say I was a total brat about it, but I definitely shut down. I plastered a smile on my face and uttered a few passive-aggressive statements, such as, "Hmmmm, a Rubik's Cube. That's...interesting." I also might've made a snide remark about how I couldn't wait to try it out seeing how much I love learning sequences and math facts.
(ZERO. On a scale from zero to 100, ZERO is how much I like learning sequences and math facts.)
In my defense, he has somewhat of a history of poor taste when it comes to gift giving. Early in our marriage, he gave me The Princess Bride on DVD for my birthday. That seems all well and good, and it would have been if I liked The Princess Bride. The problem? Not only do I not like The Princess Bride, I borderline detest that movie and have no desire to watch it ever again. The Princess Bride is, however, one of my husband's favorite films.
Several years later, and again at Christmas, we decided to forego buying presents for one another to save money. I'll admit, this time I set myself up for disappointment. After we decided there'd be no exchange of gifts between us, I made some extra money and decided to surprise him with a watch he'd been wanting. I was so excited I could make it happen, and I bought it and wrapped it and stuck it conspicuously under the tree, praying he'd see it and then go buy me the iPhone I'd been wanting so badly (this was not one of my finer moments).
Oh, he saw it all right, and he did indeed decide to go shop for me.
On Christmas morning I was so excited I could barely contain myself. We let our daughter open her gifts and then I handed him the package I'd wrapped. He was shocked when he opened it, not expecting such an extravagant gift. He smiled and then handed me the box he'd wrapped. I peeled the paper off of the box and was startled to see a picture of a Snuggie on the front. I giggled to myself. "Oh, he's so sneaky...he wrapped my new phone in a Snuggie box!"
I kid you not, I actually thought that to myself.
At this point I'm sure you can tell where this story is going: I opened the box and reached inside only to find, to my shock and horror, a Snuggie. An electric-blue Snuggie, to be precise.
I can't tell you the joy that was displayed on his face when I opened it. He was so proud.
Each time the gift giving went awry, I found myself in a sour mood which I'm sure permeated the entire atmosphere in our home. My lack of gratitude and selfishness were on display front and center, and it wasn't pretty. To me, his weren't ideal gifts. They weren't things I wanted, and so I instantly disregarded them.
I examined the gifts without considering the heart of the gift giver. I made the decision right then and there to believe that he didn't truly know me or care about what I wanted, and all because they weren't the gifts I was expecting. If I had paused even for a moment to consider his motives, I might have seen those gifts very differently. I certainly do now.
He loves to hear me laugh (he says it's one of his favorite sounds), so he bought The Princess Bride for us to watch together because he thought it would make me giggle. (He honestly didn't know how much I hated that movie before he bought it.)
He knows I hate to be hot, but that I also get chilled when we relax on the sofa and watch TV, so be bought me a Snuggie, because it's a thin blanket that provides warmth but isn't too hot. Also, it has sleeves, which he thought was an added bonus, because sleeves.
He told me he loves to learn new things with me and that he never wants us to stop growing and developing new skills, so he bought a Rubik's Cube in hopes we could learn to complete the puzzle together. And now, wouldn't you know, I can't get that danged thing out of my head! I've spent more time on YouTube watching tutorials than I care to admit, and all because I'm now obsessed with finishing the puzzle.
My husband is for me, and he adores me, and everything he does on my behalf is an overflow of that unwavering love. And I had the gall to show him my rear end when I didn't like the gifts he gave me.
We do the same thing with the Lord, don't we? So often we see His gifts, the things He says and does and allows to happen in our lives, and we don't like them. We don't want them. And we moan and we smirk and we shrug off the very things we actually need because we think we know best.
God is for us. He adores us. Everything He does on our behalf is an overflow of His unwavering love. Even the ugliest packages are for our benefit, even the things that seem more like curses than gifts. Oh, that we would step back and pause, taking the time to examine the heart of the Gift Giver.
Nothing that comes from His hand is intended to harm us. His gifts are always for our benefit, even when they're painful to receive. His heart is good and kind. His love is matchless. His sovereignty is without question, and He is faithful in the hard times and the good. He has an eternal perspective, and He can be trusted.
If you find yourself struggling today to accept your current situation, if you find yourself wishing He'd dealt you a different hand, pause for a moment. Consider what you know to be true about the heart of the Gift Giver. If you're not sure what is true, seek truth in His Word. Look at God's character, and look at His love for you ,and ask Him to reveal truth. Center your heart on Him and choose to believe that He has your best interest in mind, always. I can promise you that you'll experience His faithfulness in new and profound ways if You'll trust Him, even (and especially) when it's difficult.
Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressures, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way...Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all His creatures. JAMES 1:2-4/17-18
He is good and His tender compassion is limitless. I'm praying you experience the truth of His heart for you today.
As for my husband, I'm learning to consider his motives before I consider his gifts. The truth is, he loves me, but he's also a terrible gift giver. He might never get better at it (hey, no one is perfect, right). In the meantime, I should probably lower my expectations; As-Seen-On-TV gifts might be the best I'm gonna experience this side of heaven, and 'til death do us part!
Feel free to laugh!
PS - This post was (of course) written with my hubby's blessing!