Life Lessons

Do Not Open Til Christmas

It was Christmas time. The year was 1984. We lived in a trailer park outside of the city. Trailer park life meant we didn’t get every new toy that came along.

That was the year I wanted a Cabbage Patch Doll so bad I couldn’t stand it.

I remember Mom and Grandma and probably half the town converging on some hardware store on University Drive in hopes of getting a Cabbage Patch Doll. Parents would even get these dolls for themselves. They were high on demand and short on supply.

One day after school I decided to go snoop in the closet and just see if there were any Christmas presents in there for me. I found a box the size and shape of the doll I’d hoped for. Unfortunately, the box was wrapped.

Ah! But I knew where the tape was, so I brilliantly decided to open the present carefully at the seams. (Audible gasp!)

Sure enough – there was a beautiful, adorable, red-headed, green-eyed Cabbage Patch Doll for me. FOR ME! Her name was Mary Ann. We even had the same middle name. My heart did a cartwheel.

I wrapped her back up, matched seams, replaced tape, and asked “Santa” for a doll exactly like her.

Oddly, Christmas morning was a bit disappointing. Yes, I got exactly what I wanted. Yes, she was perfect and mine. But I had cheated myself out of the thrill of the surprise. And when Mom found out that I did this years later, she was quite disappointed.

I don’t know what it is about me that makes me want to know things ahead of time. I don’t know why I can’t just wait and be surprised.

I’m learning this so much this year.

For my birthday, my kids and parents and best friends all threw me a surprise party – and it was fantastic. For the first time in my life I didn’t plan everything down to the matching plates and tablecloth. I just came home to a painting party – and thoroughly enjoyed myself. And my daughters were especially excited that they got to bring me this unexpected joy.

I suppose I feel like I need to know ahead of time how things will turn out because that way I won’t be disappointed.

I’ve been so disappointed in the past, I continually prepare myself for the worst. This is something I’m actively working to change about myself.

Tonight I ran across this passage from Psalms 37 and some things jumped out at me.

Take delight in the Lord , and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord . Trust him, and he will help you. Be still in the presence of the Lord , and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Put your hope in the Lord.
(Bits and pieces from Psalms 37 NLT)

I just have to delight in him. He delights in every detail of our lives.

In case you don’t know me or if you do but didn’t put this together – I have two adorable red-headed daughters with green eyes.

See – every detail.

When I look at it this way, and realize that God is faithful at fulfilling his promises, it gives me confidence. I just need to walk with him, obey his word, and stop trying to open his good gifts before he is ready to give them to me.

If you’ve walked with me awhile and are aware of this in me, I give you permission to say – “Slow down, darlin. Just trust God. His promises are always perfect and right on time.”

And then let’s go sit at a coffee shop and talk awhile. Because waiting is always easier when I have a Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte in front of me and a dear friend beside me.

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