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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Good & Perfect Gifts

When is the last time that the Lord completely knocked your socks off? When’s the last time that you had an experience that caused you to think WOW! I cannot believe that the God of the entire Universe just did this for lil’ ol me?

I had one of those experiences a few weeks ago and I’m still floating around on Cloud Nine.

I know, of course, that He’s always with me… “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” – (Deut 31:6). But seeing the Lord’s undeniable hand move in your everyday, little life… well that will take your breath away.

I wrote recently about the friends who helped Dan and me while we were in Uganda. These are the friends who went far above and beyond the call of friendship. They purchased expensive plane tickets and flew to Africa and stood beside Dan and me in all our craziness last year.

It recently occurred to me that I’d never formally thanked these families for their sacrifices on our behalf. How does one even thank someone for such a gift? Dan and I wanted to recognize these families at Hannah and Joseph’s birthday party and to (finally) thank them formally and publically – but how?

At the moment, we don’t have thousands of dollars available to purchase extravagant gifts for our friends. And even if we did, our friends wouldn’t WANT us buy them extravagant thank you gifts. But still... we wanted to give them something very special and meaningful.

So we prayed about it. We spent an entire week praying… Lord, show us how you’d have us thank these families. And Monday came and went. And Tuesday came and went. And Wednesday came… and I started to get stressed. I began thinking that maybe this was a dumb, selfish thing to pray for anyways. Does God really care about some silly thank you gifts? With all the poverty and abuse and neglect and disease of this world... Surely the Lord has more important matters at hand.

And yet, the Word tells me to “pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.” – Eph 6:18. There really is no matter too small, too unimportant for me to bring to my Heavenly Father.

On Wednesday night, I received a number of unrelated, unsolicited messages from various friends. Some of them were people I had not talked to in years. All of the messages mentioned, in some way or another, a sweet store up in Marietta, GA (about 30 minutes from my house) called "Glory Haus" that sells beautiful, Christian art.

On Thursday morning, I told Dan… “I think the Lord was really speaking to me through all of those emails I received last night. I think He wants me to go up to Glory Haus to look for thank you gifts today. Do you think that’s weird?” And Dan says “um, yes.”

I tried to talk myself out of going. We had Cupcake Kids sales coming up on Friday and Saturday and we were hosting a huge birthday party on Sunday. I had a million things to do. I did not have time to drag myself and my five children all the way up to Marietta to shop for art that is out of my price range anyways.

But I couldn’t shake the feeling that this was His plan for me and the kids for that Thursday. So I loaded up the kids and away we went.

I knew as soon as we got out of the car that I’d made the right choice. Glory Haus has the most unique, meaningful pieces of art. That day, a lot of things were on sale so I was certain I could find something. Perhaps not the most perfect, beautiful thing in the store -- but it would be good enough.

But as y'all know, I don’t serve the God of Almost Good Enough…

About 5 minutes into my browsing, a woman approached me. I actually didn’t recognize her at first… it was Laura Kirkland, the Glory Haus artist. She’s not always at the store but she was there that day. Laura reads my blog, she knows Hannah & Joseph’s story and she and her husband have a heart for adoption. We chatted for a few minutes and I explained what I’m looking for and we parted ways and I kept browsing.

A couple of minutes later, Laura walks back over. “Shelly, why don’t you and the kids come into my office?” Well, ok. We follow her in and she hands my children some balloons and paintbrushes to play with and gives me a seat. She hands me the Glory Haus catalog and says “I want you to take your time and look through this entire catalog. I want you to choose anything you’d like as a gift for your friends. And it’s all on me. No charge.”

And I nearly fell apart. I was simply overwhelmed. Not because I was being offered amazing, perfect, free gifts for my friends… but because the God of the Universe cared enough to answer my silly little prayer. He provided the perfect gift at the perfect price… all in His timing. Truly, every good and perfect gift comes from above.

So what did I choose? This 16 x 20 canvas below.

This canvas and so, so much more is available at this little gem of a place called Glory Haus. Last year, these girls made the cover of the Neiman Marcus catalog. And yet they remain so humble and they desire nothing more than to use their gifts for His glory. Visit them in Marietta, GA or online here. You will not be disappointed.

I know this was a long post but thanks for indulging me. I love a good God story and I am truly, truly overwhelmed by His love for lil' ol me.

"Who am I, O LORD God, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?" -- 1 Chron 17:16


The Fruitful Family said...

And I just love where it hangs on the wall of my kitchen. I think of this sweet God story each time I look at it! Love you, sister!

Griffin said...

Love Glory Haud AND Laura (and all of them)! So neat to read how God used them as a blessing in your life to bless others. :D

demp5 said...

Aww, I am crying. Thanks for sharing this story. What an awesome God we serve!!

Anonymous said...


This is my first time posting on your blog! I love how God speaks through your words, and through your daily life that you share through your blog! I made my way to your blog through Colleen Jobe.

I just want you to know I've been praying for you and your diagnosis from your last time with the dermatologist, I know you haven't posted, but I wanted you to know you've been on my heart to pray for.

My husband and I are also praying for you all as you work with 60 Feet. My husband does mission work in Ghana. The orphans in Ghana are so sweet and I believe God has placed them on our hearts for a special reason. We shall see where He leads!

I also wanted to say that I pray you are filled to the brim with the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, and sweet renewal as you go and share with the other women at adoption conference. I have met Lisa...aka The Preacher's Wife. I met her in San Antonio at Beth Moore's Siesta Fiesta in 2008. I know your time will be amazing!

Thank you for your willing hands, heart and service! You are a blessing!

Kate in Charlottesville

anything but LoKEY said...

God is so, so good! :)

laurakirkland said...

S...I can not put a price on the gift of how I and my family have been spiritually challenged,stretched, and encouraged by reading yours and sixty feet's blog this last year. I pray we will never be the same. So glad I could be just a conduit for God to bless and reveal even more of His love for you. HE IS SO SO GOOD TO US. ITS OVERWHELMING TO ME.
Tell dan I said good thing you did not listen to him this time...haha jk!
For the eyes of the Lord range to and fro to support those whose hearts are fully commited to Him! -love laura