The Christmas season is already upon us and my kids have already started going through the toy catalogues circling
what they want for Christmas everything. I can always tell a lot about my kids even by just what makes the top of their Christmas list. My daughter, Claire, for instance has a very nurturing personality. So it’s no great surprise that at the top of her list last year was a doll, but not just any doll, a new Wellie Wisher doll.
This was actually very convenient because I knew that my in-laws had already bought Claire the very Wellie Wisher doll that she wanted for Christmas. The only problem was, this was a year that we weren’t going to be with my in-laws on Christmas morning. We would see them a few days later. Claire would be getting some wonderful things at my mom’s house on Christmas morning, but I knew for Claire, that special desire of hers would be coming, but she had to wait.
As her mom, I knew this would be painful for her, so I tried to prep her as best as I could. “Claire, you know that Daddy and I love you, and we want to give you the very best. Sometimes, though, you just have to wait, and if you look around in the meantime, you might even find some other things that you love that you didn’t even know you would like.” She looked at me with her big, brown eyes, and I could tell, she was trying hard with all her five-year-old might to understand.
When Christmas morning came around, it was full of all the excitement and chaos that you can imagine with 7 grandkids ages 7 and under. It was awesome watching each one open their gifts and exclaim, “Oh, it’s just what I wanted!” I looked at Claire, however, and saw that though she was trying really hard to be happy for her siblings and cousins, there was still a disappointment that her gift wasn’t there. I pulled her close to me and whispered in her ear, “Claire! I love you so much. I know what your heart loves, too. Trust me in this and just wait.”
And to her credit, I watched her really do it. She looked around at the others and chose to be genuinely happy for them. She played with them, and she saw some really cool things that my mom had gotten that she didn’t even know about. I was so proud watching her choose to believe what she didn’t feel in that moment: her parents were Good, they loved her, and she was going to trust that.
In the chaos of that Christmas morning, my Father paused my heart as well. As He so brilliantly turns everyday moments into reflections of my own heart and spirit, He drew me close and whispered in my ear, “Do you really believe it? Do you really believe I’m Good? Do you really believe I love you and am not just holding out on you? Do you really trust me?” When I did an honest assessment, I recognized that I have so much to learn from my daughter.
There were so many desires of my heart: big ones like healing and restoration, and silly ones like a new pair of jeans. They all resided in my heart like a Christmas toy catalogue with Sharpie circles on every page. For sure, I can recognize so many amazing gifts that God has blessed me with, but all too often, I find myself looking around at what everyone else got on Christmas morning, and feeling bitter about what’s missing off the top of my list. Rather than enjoying what God has given now, I find myself questioning the love of my Father, ultimately doubting his love for me and not trusting His Goodness.
When I looked around that Christmas morning, my heart still ached with the obvious absence of my Dad. He had suddenly passed away after a bizarre swimming accident four years earlier. It felt like such a gaping wound that still had so many questions attached to it of God’s love and Goodness. There were still so many broken pieces in my life and family, that I still hadn’t seen my Heavenly Father restore yet.
One of my dad’s last conversations with me came back to my spirit, however. He said, “Bad things on this Earth are going to happen, but God’s Goodness will prevail.” At a moment when God still didn’t feel Good, I chose to believe that God is God. I chose to trust my Father despite what I felt, just as I watched my beautiful daughter do that Christmas morning.
A few days later, we drove to Michigan to have second Christmas with my in-laws, and sure enough, Claire got to open her Wellie Wisher. There was much shrieking, and squealing, and a big, “Ohhhhhhhhhh! That’s what you meant, Mommy!” when she opened it. It was a sweet moment for her, but an even sweeter one for me. I watched the delight of delayed joy fulfilled, and imagined our Father’s delight watching the same thing.
As I was thinking about it this morning, I realized that really the only difference between God and Good is a big “Ohhhhhhhhh!” (See what I did there? Come on. You can do it. I believe in you. ☺) Sometimes, even when we don’t immediately recognize our God’s goodness, we just have to declare that God is God and trust that at some point in the future, we also will have our big, “Ohhhhhhhh!” and recognize it first-hand. As you inventory your Christmas list this season, I’m praying that even where you see outstanding circles, that you, too, can experience that God is Good. He’s a Good Father and He can be trusted.