Steps, Stops, and Finding the Perfect Gift

 

We’re in that season.  You know, the celebration season.  Weddings, Graduations, Showers, Confirmations.  And in my family, a slew of birthdays.

That means trying to come up with great gifts ideas.  And I always struggle, because I want to find things that are meaningful, but also practical and, well, fun…

So with a bunch of graduations this week, I asked the experts (Katy and Maggie) what they and their friends thought were the very best graduation gifts.  They took a poll and got back to me.

The answer: Target gift cards.

Booooo-ring.  Practical, yes, but definitely not fun or meaningful.

So I came up with an idea I hope will add a little of the second two elements.  I got the gift cards, but then I also bought a pair of flip flops for each grad, cuz who doesn’t like a fun pair of flip flops?

Then I looked through my Bible to find a meaningful verse that talked about the steps these young ladies will take walking into the future and I landed on Psalm 37:23.  “The Lord makes firm the steps of those who delight in Him; though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord upholds them with His hand.”

I love the picture that comes to mind with this verse…our girls when they were toddlers and wore those tiny flip flops with a strap on the back, holding our hand and taking wobbly steps.

But here’s the thing…In my Bible next to the line that says “The Lord makes firm the steps…” I have written:

George Mueller wrote in his Bible next to this verse “and the STOPS too”.  God has a purpose in all His delays.

For my young friends who are graduating this week, the days when you’re moving forward will feel easier to trust God.  It will feel like you’re on one of those moving walkways at the airport, making progress, and who doesn’t like forward movement for Pete’s sake?

But as I look at the “stops” in the Bible, I wonder if there isn’t more progress to be made there than in the “steps”.

Joseph sold into slavery.  David left behind to tend sheep while his brothers were doing the “important stuff”.  The Israelites stopped from entering the Promised Land.  Paul in jail.

I wonder, looking at their lives, in which season would God say they made more progress?  In the exciting seasons of steps or the confusing seasons of stops when they persevered and clung to God and learned patience (probably through gritted teeth), and perspective?

I would say to my young friends, and remind myself, that there’s always a “why” behind the stops, but we don’t need to know it.  Instead, what if we focus on the “what”?

As in, “What do You want to do in me and through me in this stop?  What now?”

And what if we trust in the “who” – a devoted, present, gracious God, the giver of every perfect gift, who began a good work in us and will be faithful to complete it.

Through every step and every stop.

What are some great gifts that you’ve received that have been meaningful?

2 Comments

  1. Not exactly meaningful, but we used to always get high school grads a tool box. Very useful and practical though. We’d put a few basic tools (and a set of allen wrenches which are so important for cheap furniture assembly) and then lots of thumb tacks, 3m strips of assorted varieties, little nails, etc. My parents gave me one that I still have and I cannot tell you how many times people asked to borrow things when I lived in the dorms.

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