Sneaking Under the Tree

Four Red Gift Boxes

I will never forget October 23rd, the day my mother went to be with Jesus. I was very grateful to be there during her last two and a half weeks of life. We kept her at home and it was a privilege to be there when she stepped from this life on Earth into the arms of Jesus, her Savior.


The morning of the 23rd, I woke up about 2:00 a.m. All of a sudden I had a memory I’d not thought of in ages. I remembered as a little girl catching Mother sneaking under the Christmas tree, unwrapping a gift, and then rewrapping it. She was so curious and eager about gifts that she just couldn’t wait until the 25th. That memory evoked such joy inside me. I was so excited because I knew she was getting ready to experience Christmas everyday. Christmas is all about Jesus and she was going to see Him face to face very soon. I had visions of her getting ready to start unwrapping gift after gift. I knew that the unwrapping of those gifts was going to continue for eternity because she had put her complete faith in Jesus for her salvation. “For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift.” Ephesians 2:8


That morning as I was sitting by her side, she took her last breath. Oh the unspeakable joy Daddy and I had in that moment and throughout the day. I will never forget the words out of Daddy’s mouth at the end of the day, “It’s been a very good day!”


What gifts have you opened, lately?


“Live your life with eternity in mind” is a main theme of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. That truth made an impact on me. However, I realize that, somewhere along the line, I lost that focus . . . but I want to return. The thought that’s been going on in my head and spirit is that I need to invest time every day intentionally unwrapping the incredible gifts He has already given me. I believe that focusing daily on these “best gifts” will translate into becoming more eternally minded.


  • His perfect love for me. His love is unconditional, unending, accepting, relational and intimate. His love is not dependent on anything I do. His is a love that’s with me in the happy times and carries me through sorrow and the messy trials of life. His love overwhelms and satisfies me.
  • God’s gift of salvation that was bought at a great price through the death of God’s perfect son, Jesus. This gift forgives my sin, makes me His child, and ensures I can live abundantly every day and will one day go to heaven.
  • God’s constant amazing presence. In His presence there is fullness of joy.In this new year of 2015 may a day not pass that we don’t thank our Heavenly Father for these three amazing gifts.


self worth

Photo courtesy of

  A few weeks ago I was cleaning out a drawer. I always stand amazed at how many different things I can stuff in one drawer. Needless to say, I threw out a lot and the drawer needs to be gone through again as it is still quite full. I never know what I’ll find when I tackle a drawer. That day I found a copy of something that captured my attention. I found a copy of a letter I had written to someone whom I love very much. I mailed her a copy and for some reason, I made a copy for myself. Maybe God knew I needed to re-read it one day. It was written on September 18, 2006.

We had had a phone conversation that left me saddened. I was saddened for this one who felt very insignificant. She had the habit of speaking very negatively about herself and no matter how much I would try and encourage her and build her up, it was to no avail. And for some reason, it seemed she had regret over things . She is one of the most beautiful women I’ll every know. She is talented, kind, sweet, and the list could go on and on. She is admired by many who know her. So, after the call, I wrote her a letter. These are some of the words I wrote:

From our phone conversation it seemed like you were having a day where you felt unloved. I’m so sorry you felt that way. I think we can all have days like that at times. That’s why I believe understanding the deep love God has for us is the only remedy to the desperation and misery we feel on those days. He loves me, warts and all. He loves you, warts and all, no strings attached. It’s not a conditional love, its an unconditional love. There’s nothing you nor I could ever do that will change that fact. We all do things we regret. God has provided the most wonderful way to live. It’s forgiveness. Life is a journey and part of that journey will include times where someone injures us or we injure others. With God’s help, we can forgive those who have hurt us and we can seek to be forgiven by those we have hurt. God forgives us when we mess up. On this life journey we learn, we grow. Hurts can be healed. Broken hearts can be mended. We will stay connected to each other, but I do have a favor to ask. Please try to focus on the positive things in life, with the most important thing being to understand your value in Christ. That’s where your self worth lies. You are infinitely loved and accepted by Him. I pray you will understand the depth of God’s love and accept that love through faith.

I believe that letter made a difference in her life, even though we never discussed it. I knew I was to write it and I prayed the truths seeped down deeply into the pores of her soul. It’s so easy to seek to find validation and worth from things and people. We will always come up feeling empty, lacking, and discouraged when we seek for love, acceptance, and value in those places. These places  are temporal and imperfect. There’s only one perfect place to find it. And, He has a name: Jesus.