The Best Gift My Mother-In-Law Gave Me.
My Mother-In-Law is gifted at giving gifts.
Each candy-coated holiday, birthday, Christmas celebration is packed with presents and special love notes she’s always been so generous to share.
Even today, the mail carrier delivered a simple little envelope addressed in her familiar script, recounting the gifts she received from us this past Christmas season, the most meaningful – of course, being the time spent together.
So after we read and answered questions and said our prayers tonight, and I snuggled up to my middle son in his blue starlit bedroom, she came to mind.
Now, my Mother-In-Law and I haven’t just always had the warm and fuzzy’s. And that’s actually a big part of this gift I’m so grateful for. You see, she adores her children. I married her youngest of three, come nine years this October.
And those newlywed years had some bumps and stumbles. She loves fiercely, as do I. And we had moments of disagreement and confusion and tender spots. In hindsight, it is crystal clear to me that I lacked the sensitivity, selflessness and maturity to behave in a way I could say I’m proud of now. I deeply regret it.
Thankfully, God’s grace is the biggest bond we share, and He’s claimed even the broken bits for His goodness and His glory. And so I’m thankful for our love story. Every chapter.
But, let’s get back to this gift.
Tonight, as I lay in the dark, staring at the back of that little blonde headed boy, who yelled at me today and fought with his brothers more than he laughed with them. The same boy who told me a lie about using the potty before bed and who threw a tantrum after getting only one chocolate candy for dessert.
And I couldn’t help but smile and breathe him in.
The way his hair smelt so clean after a bath.
The way his little chest puffed out as he drifted to dream.
The way he hugged his teeny panda bear and just had to find her before bedtime.
And then, I knew it – the gift my Mother-In-Law has taught me —
To soak it all up. To take it all in. To savor the time with our littles. Because it is precious and fast.
Because, one day, these little boys we’re raising will find brides of their own. Their Daddy and I are both praying for each of them now. And I’m certain my Mother-In-Law and all the boys’ Grandparents are joining in prayer for these precious women, too.
And I’ll be reminded again one day that these boys are not mine to give away. They are God’s. He is sharing them with me in a sweet and special way today, and I do not want to overlook that or take it for granted.
And so I go to bed tonight, reflecting on such precious gifts and the gratitude in my heart for those who’ve gone before us to raise us up to know how valuable we really are. And that’s the best gift we can give and we can get.
Sweet friends, in scripture, Paul teaches us about the impact of generational devotion to Jesus. In his second letter to Timothy, he begins “I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you.” It’s important that we emphasize the word “faith” here. As women, we tend to aspire to perfectionism – to be the best wife, mother, friend, minister of the good news. And that’s not the legacy Paul saved for us to reread so many years later. Instead, what’s most important is their faith. Because, as Jesus Himself told us in Matthew 17:20 – “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain – move from here to there, and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Why – because with God, all things are possible. Sisters, we must surrender everything – worry, control, pride – and trust the God who created us all in the first place. He can move mountains. I’ve seen Him. Join me today in covering our children in prayer and entrusting them to God as we challenge them to study and learn His perfect plans. And find ways to thank those precious people who have spoken truth into our lives and those of our families and who remind us that love will not fail. Keep on, sweet sisters. Keep on.