The Best Gifts

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 

James 1:17

A trip to the bank to deposit a paycheck on a Friday – simple, right? That simple end of the week task began an adventure. I daresay that you probably had an adventurous week that week too if you are one of my fellow Alabamians. The day in question March 12, 1993 – the beginning of the Blizzard of ’93.

Nine months pregnant with a 5 and a 2-year-old in tow, I headed off to the bank expecting a normal errand run. The next day the 5-year-old would turn 6. Grandparents were coming for a cookout. Groceries had been purchased, presents wrapped, just a couple of business things to tie up so we didn’t forget them during this very busy birthday week. After tomorrow’s celebration, the 2-year-old would turn 3 on Thursday, and baby number 3 would arrive on Friday if she landed on her due date. It was looking to be quite a week.

As we walked in the bank, the atmosphere felt peculiar. Lines were the longest I’d ever seen, and the normal hush of the lobby was a buzz of people talking. Stepping to the end of the shortest line with the little ones in hand, I heard a snippet of a conversation, “snow… they’re saying 6-12 inches…”. A bit of shock overwhelmed me in the moment.

I had been too busy caring for kids and gearing up for the new arrival just around the corner; I hadn’t had time to turn on the news! Snow? Real snow? We never get anything but a dusting in Alabama. And besides the temps weren’t that cold, were they? I interrupted the men chatting. With great gusto, they poured out the latest news to me as our line inched toward the teller.

By the time the teller handed me my receipt I was in hurry mode. I rushed the kids to the car. Flakes began to fall as we headed home. Then heavier snow started coming down. Ten minutes later pulling into the house, bushes and trees had a dusting on them already.

I unlocked the door and tossed my purse inside without stepping in. Grabbing the wheelbarrow, I told the kids, “Come on.” We loaded logs from the wood pile and pushed a few wheelbarrow loads to the house just in case we lost power for an extended time; we would need firewood. “Don’t overdo it and go into labor early,” rang I my head. I called my husband and the grandparents, started a pot of soup, and finished up decorating the birthday cake just as my husband arrived home from work and the grandparents showed up with suitcases. Spending the night for the big celebration the next day “just in case we get snowed in” seemed to be the wise thing to do.

Snowed in we were! March 13th dawned bright and snowy. Nine inches worth where we were. Of course, the party plans were pretty much scrapped for the rare option of playing in the snow instead. What a birthday present for a 6-year-old! How could any present top that? Five days later we topped it. Baby sister arrived on big sister’s Big Day! We’d hit a parenting homerun – snow and a baby sister, the two best birthday gifts we’ve ever been able to give!

But those are only faint shadows of the gifts God gives to us. Our Heavenly Father is the giver of all things. The perfect gift-giver, because His gifts are always the Best. Best for us at least. Everything we enjoy and celebrate comes from Him. Let’s rejoice with gratitude to Him and thankful hearts for all His gifts, big and small, expected and surprising, perfect and… things that were not on our wish list. Thank God for your good times, your bad times. Your children or lack of children. You husband or your singleness. Your material goods or the freedom that comes from not having to worry about lots of material things. God is good. He has His purposes. Trust Him. Enjoy Him today and His perfect provision for you, even if it doesn’t seem to gel with your plans. Unexpected blizzards and early babies are wonderful treasures once we adjust our mindset. We may find those things not on our wishlist are the Best.

Note: Today just happens to be the birthdays of those babies. This is my favorite story to tell. Thanks for listening as I walked down memory lane and gave my tribute to those two godly young women who fill my heart with joy. Thanks for indulging me.

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them.

Psalm 127:3-5

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