Years ago I read the book "The Five Love Languages". It didn't take me long to realize my love language is...gifts. It's the one I love doing for others most...and the one I most love to receive.
This last week...God gave us some amazing gifts. By the end of the weekend, I was now looking up...smiling...because 'He totally spoke my language'.
Mid week, as I was making dinner, Zion asked me what our favorite 'date restaurant' was. I told him. Tirzah then asked what I order there. I told her. Zunduka asked how much my meal was. I told him. Then I continued making dinner and setting the table. After we had eaten, the kids all exchanged nervous-excited glances and giggles and Tirzah announced they had a surprise. She pulled out a piece of paper that had mapped out 'their gift'. It said "$24 gift card to your favorite restaurant. $5 from Tirzah. $5 from Zion. $4 from Zunduka. $4 from Chazano. $4 from Azlan. $2 from Azahria. We love you Mommy and Daddy!'.
Ok. Swallowing the lump in my throat...wow. 10 year old Tirzah, 9 year olds Zunduka and Chazano, 8 year old Zion, 7 year old Azlan and 5 year old Azahria. This was beautiful. And while the temptation to say "you work hard for your money...we appreciate the thought but no..." is there...we didn't. I said it was one of the most beautiful gifts I had ever received. $5 is not easy to earn for a 10 year old! They then explained how the amount was different for each child based on how much was in each piggy bank. The excitement on each face was simply...beautiful. The gift of learning to give.
The next day we found out due to banking agreements...we were unable to rent our house longer than 60 days. While my immediate reaction was to want to sit and cry...I laughed. Semi-hysterically...but I laughed. Then I cried. ;) But it's ok. Unsure of where we would go and how that would work out...we made a few phone calls. We contacted someone we have known for years and she has a house not far from us for rent right when we need it. It's quite a bit smaller than what we have now...but we will make it work for a few months. No lease. $400 a month cheaper rent than anywhere else and no deposit. Really? That ... was a gift.
Sunday after church our friends asked us to take their niece home as they had a lunch appointment. We did...but opted to take a detour...to Olive Garden ;) We walked in and sat down as a party of 13...10 of which are children. A few minutes later the table behind us tapped me on the shoulder and asked about our family. The couple's daughter is fighting to adopt her foster child she has had since birth. They were so in awe of all of the children and we had a nice chat. At the end of our meal, the waitress said "I didn't bring your bill b/c the table behind you paid for it". I turned around and said how much that meant to us. The gentleman (a pastor of a small church) said "it was the least I could do to wash my Master's feet today".
Our hearts were full. Our children were blown away. Each one walked by and thanked the couple for their generous gift. They couldn't believe someone would pay for our bill. When we told them that he loved Jesus too and did it for Jesus they simply loved it.
I love that my Dad...knows me so well..(more than that) and knows what speaks love to me most...is gifts. And He gives the very best ones. Sometimes in the midst of chaos and confusion...He reaches out His hand...with yet another gift.
Today we were getting ready to leave for 2 nights. As we were packing the car, Taizi, who seems unaware at most everything...followed me all around the house. I sat him down in the living room and walked to the shoe closet to get my shoes. When I walked out of the closet, I crashed into him. He was right there waiting for me. I patted his back and again walked him back to the living room. Standing in the kitchen I turned because "Izrael was holding my legs" but when I looked down it was...Taizi. I again patted him on the back and sat him back in the living room. Our good friend came to stay with the children and as I'm talking to her...who other than mister Tiazi walks across the living room to the kitchen and holds my legs. I bent down and hugged him and he gave a warm hug (without head butting me). As we were leaving I told Dean that I have never seen him notice or concerned about anything (other than food ;) before. And he definitely knew we were leaving and that he wanted to come. Dean gave him a long, warm hug and then we said good bye.
After 15 months with Taizi...gifts come in all packages.
Sometimes...you have to stop and look around. He gives you good gifts. Often when you least expect them. Oh...oh how He loves you.
**as we unpack in our hotel room...I found 3 handmade cards in the bottom of my suitcase. Moments after I blogged about 'gifts'. All of the 6 oldest had drawn a picture and written a note. "You are the best mommy ever"..."you rock and work so hard, Mommy!" "I love you...this picture is of me and you". Just the way to end this wonderful day.