good gifts

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  James 1:17 (ESV)

I have loved this verse for quite a long time, and over the years have spent time pondering good gifts. Of course there are the more obvious ones:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Health
  • Salvation (the best gift ever!)

But, what about the good gifts that we don’t recognize as good in the moment? What about the gifts that don’t seem like gifts at all? Or what about the gifts that we don’t realize how good they are until later? I have a few of those to share.

In the fall of 2000, I was at a women’s conference with a group of ladies from my church. While there, I wrote down a verse thinking, “I want to use this for my New Year’s card.” I also thought that it would be a good verse to encourage others. What was it?

Psalm 103:19 – “The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.” (NASB)

This verse was a good gift, and I didn’t even know it at the time. Five months later when both my parents were in the hospital (different hospitals) and my mom ended up passing away, this verse was a comfort to me. God’s love for me was so evident in Him giving me this verse (which I thought was to share with others), because He knew I would need it. He gave it before I realized it was for me.

Now that was a good gift.

A few years before that conference my husband left a job to go into business with his dad. Had he never left to work with his dad, there was a good chance that we would have been transferred to another state. Yet, in Texas, we lived about 10 minutes from my parents. So, when my dad was diagnosed with cancer for the second time, I was nearby to encourage my mom. And I was there to care for my dad when my mom unexpectedly passed away.

That was a good gift.

After my husband and his father closed their company, my husband did the job search thing. He applied for a position with a company he had connections with from his time building houses with his dad. The job was out-of-state, and he felt really good about it. Yet, he didn’t get the job. There was some discouragement during the job search season. However, he ended up getting hired by the company he had left, keeping us in Texas, close to his parents. A little over a year later, my husband’s parents were killed in a car wreck, and we were able to be there with his sisters. How good of God to keep us near family for that time.

That was a good gift.

I could also tell you of a car rental experience that went so very wrong but ended with us having a bigger and better suited vehicle for a family vacation. In the moment of frustration, I didn’t know God was going to give us a good gift.

I could share many more examples of God’s good gifts that don’t appear good at the time. I also imagine you have your own stories of His good gifts.

Stories of a lost job or a delayed job

Stories relating to the health of a loved one or yourself

Stories where you received a disappointing “no”

I also imagine some of you are waiting and wondering how a good gift could come from your circumstances.

I don’t know what you are going through, but here are two things I do know:

God’s sovereignty is ruling over ALL

God gives good and perfect gifts

Today I am praying that God will give us the eyes to see the good gifts He has already given and trust that He is the giver of good and perfect gifts yet to come.




Creativity has been a recurring theme in my life lately.

My friend, Jann, who I believe to be one of the most creative/artistic people I know (she is definitely one of the funnest – real word), shared a story of a time someone expressed that she did not have an artistic bone in her body. Okay – those are my words, but it was close to that. She shared this story in the process of encouraging others to spread their wings and attempt art in a new way. Jann creatively expresses her faith by Bible journaling and teaches others to do the same. You can check out her website here. Scroll to the bottom of that page to see some of her art. She can create!!!

A couple of weeks ago I was able to go to a women’s event with some sweet ladies God has brought into my life. He really gives good gifts (a blog for another day). As the speaker was sharing some of the attributes of God, she pointed out that as image bearers of God, we are all creative beings with the ability to create. We can create!!

My honey and I had the opportunity to get away with some friends for a few days and explore part of our new state. One day, the wives went to a painting lesson where we created a nice winter scene with the help of our wonderful teacher, Stephanie. Now, I will not be painting for money anytime soon, but it was so much fun to start with a blank canvas and see it transformed into something new. And, although all 6 of us in the class painted the same basic scene, each one was unique. We created!!


As I have been pondering each of these experiences, my heart always lands on the One who makes our creating possible – THE Creator.

“All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” – John 1:3

While on our get away, my honey and I were able to see much of God’s creation in the nature around us. I was thankful to get away and take time to admire His creation. Oh, how creative He is, and how kind He is to share it with us.


As I took in the beauty of His creation, I was overcome by His glory and majesty. I was overcome by the gospel.

God created a perfect world that fell into sin and darkness. The people God created didn’t want him – they loved the darkness (John 3:19). But, because of God’s love, he sent Jesus to gather a people for Himself. Jesus purchased redemption for His people on the cross. And all who receive Jesus by faith are given the right to become children of God (John 1:12).

The Creator of the universe made a way. How wild is this!?!?

Take some time to see God’s creation around you.

Take some time to marvel that the Creator of the universe has made a way for rebellious people to be made right and have a relationship with Him.

Take some time to give thanks – I know I am.



knowing > feeling

“When is the time you felt most loved?”

That was the question asked of me while grabbing breakfast with a friend years ago – pre-husbandkid years ago.

I paused and tried to think of THE moment, the time I had felt most loved.

I couldn’t.

I answered that I had always known that I was loved so couldn’t think of the time I felt most loved. Growing up, my family was an “I love you” kind of family. My parents took time to be involved in my life. Were they perfect? No. Did they frustrate me at times? Yes. Did they get upset with me ever? Absolutely. Yet even then, I knew I was loved.

In the moment of answering that question, KNOWING I was loved was more powerful than FEELING loved.

KNOWING I was loved was more powerful than FEELING loved.

And this is how it should be. What I KNOW should be more powerful than what I FEEL. Truth needs to have more power than my feelings. But, sometimes I give my feelings more power. Sometimes I don’t dwell on what I know to be true. And that causes problems – problems in my relationship with God and in my relationships with people.

I often encourage others to walk “by faith, not by sight”(2 Corinthians 5:7). But, sometimes I fail to take my own advice. Do you ever do that?

How do we walk in faith? We do it by letting ourselves be guided by truth. Jesus states that the Holy Spirit guides us in truth (John 16:13) and that God’s word is truth (John 17:17). Perhaps walking in faith can also be stated as walking in truth. In his third letter, the apostle John states, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth” (3 John 4).

Spending time in God’s word is key to walking by faith. By reading and meditating on scripture, I grow in what I know. I grow in my knowledge of God and His character.  And “growing my knowing” impacts how I deal with the feelings or emotions that surface in my heart. By no means am I saying that feelings don’t matter or that we should not have feelings. Feelings and emotions are part of being human; however, we need to allow God’s truth to walk us through the feelings. We need to make sure we let the truth of God’s character and His word inform our feelings rather than letting our feelings inform what we believe to be true about God and His word.

Scripture tells us that the heart is deceptive (Jeremiah 17:9) and that one who trusts his own mind/heart is a fool (Proverbs 28:26). I don’t want to be a fool, do you? Join with me in making it a priority to read and meditate on God’s word. Ask God to surround you with people who encourage you in this journey. Find a Bible teaching community that will speak gospel truth over you. Ask people to pray for you when you find yourself giving more power to the feelings in your heart. And, thank God that even if we are faithless, he remains faithful.