Playdates with God: Be the Gift

The robe that I ordered came in the mail and I tried it on straight from the package. It smelled funny, but I turned and looked at myself from all sides in the mirror. I’m giving my first real sermon on Epiphany Sunday and as I looked at those folds of white cloth covering me up, I was seized with terror.
Who am I?
I wanted to fold myself into this white, disappear, forget about these past two years of study and prayer and all the things that led me to this place. The thought brought me to my knees, but I threw the robe in the washer first. Maybe I could wash it all away, remove this dirt and fear and all that makes me unworthy in the foamy bubbles of Cheer Ultra.
And I am on my face, dissolved in tears and I am asking What in the world were You thinking? when He reminds me of this scripture I read just this morning. I feel it like a Divine hand on my shoulder and it brings to mind these words from the Spiritual Exercises:
Spiritual Consolation [may be defined as moments]…when we are saddened, even to the point of tears, for our infidelity to God but at the same time thankful to know God as Savior. Such consolation often comes in a deep realization of ourselves as sinner before a loving and compassionate God, or in the face of Jesus’ Passion when we see that Jesus loves and entrusts himself to God his Father and to us without limit, or for any other reason which leads us to praise and thank and serve God all the better (Spiritual Exercises 316b).
I email my mentor and she tells me: We are all unworthy, Laura. Just be the gift God made you to be.
I’ve been distracted by the sermon, by the exegesis and the final exam—which feels more like writing a dissertation. I’ve been missing Christmas.
You are my Christmas spirit, I tell Jeffrey before he gets out of the car for school this morning.  
Why, thank you, he says, smiles and hops out. And on the way back home, the world is a frosted globe, and the birds soar in flocks against a blue sky, and this song takes away my voice to sing and I am blinded by tears.
Just be the gift.
I’m looking for Christmas everywhere. And finding it in each passing moment. 
 Hop on over to The High Calling to read about another one of my Playdates and learn about our new book club selection for the New Year!

How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. And come tell us about it.

Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:


Sharing with L.L. Barkat today also: 

On In Around button

And with Lindsay for Messy Mondays.


  1. says

    I think this is why “The Little Drummer Boy” blesses us…or Maria in that newly popular song “The Gift.” God loves broken and dirty things. (He proved it by sending His PERFECT Son to this terrible place, to live and die and rise again…for us!) Even if it’s NOT broken or dirty, everything we have to offer seems dingy in His light. He doesn’t give a rip. He just wants our best, or our only, or our last. He wants something that makes us a little angsty and uncomfortable in the offering. If we don’t have to dig deep…if it’s not our last bit…we haven’t yet figured out what He wants. I love the thought of you in your white robe; it blessed me this morning. Dig deep. Say the thing that makes you feel like you’ve wrung water out of your heart. I am with you in spirit.

  2. says

    Something has been pulling at the edges of my thoughts, wanting to get closer – that this imperfection that we are – God isn’t surprised that we are imperfect – after all He created us. We are imperfect, incomplete without Him – and, like a seed planted, He expected us to grow into He created us to be. It is only a surprise to us, I think, that we are broken and incomplete without Him.

    I’m with Brandee – The Little Drummer Boy tugs at my heart – the only gift I have isn’t perfect but oh so want to give Him something!

    Merry Christmas!!!

  3. says

    I love how you fell to your knees first. As long as we know how much we need to fall to our knees before him, it’s all good.
    Also, your words to Jeffrey and his reaction are just beautiful. I finally realized this week that my problem with Christmas is I try to be it all for my family, when there’s just no way I can. It seems like such a gift that you’ve been full of preparations for the work to which you are called that others have the opportunity to be Christmas to you.
    Just be the gift~such a breath of peace. Thank you.
    Also, know I’ll be lifting you up!

  4. says

    Dear Laura,

    Now I know why your writing and words are like a gift.

    God has truly blessed you. Your words encourage, teach, provoke and soften my heart.

    I’m so happy for you to be able to continue to teach and inspire others in this new way. May our loving father continue to bless you and your family.

    I don’t often share, but the spirit moved me through you.

    Thank you,

  5. says

    Just be the gift. I totally get the fear that grips when it comes to standing up and trying to speak of Him. But when you phrase it like this — Just be the gift — it makes it so much easier. It becomes about shining in the way He made you to shine. no other glow or light source required.

  6. says

    Your humility sings where your voice dissolved in tears. You will be amazing Laura–God made you that way and He will fill up all the places where you feel empty and unworthy! My only sorrow is not getting to be there to hear you and to smile courage to you from the audience!!

  7. says

    Beautiful post, Laura! I had a singing concert Sunday and was worried about it for all the wrong reasons, most of which had to do with pride. A mentor of mine told me, “Just let God use you, and get out of His way!” That was great advice, as is “Be the Gift!”
    May you and yours have a truly blessed Christmas!

  8. says

    Oh Laura, I know how you feel; I do. I kept thinking, as I read through your tender words, of the verse that says “We only give You what You first gave us.” He has given you gifts Laura, precious gifts, and you are giving them back. You bless Him and us.

  9. says

    I love those words, “be the gift.” It is so life-giving. I know that, “what were you thinking, Lord!” feeling and yet, He still manages to bless through little ole me. And even more, I am blessed through my obedience.

    And you. are a blessing!

  10. says

    I want to be right there in the front row. Pew? Seat? Whatever. I want to be right there – up front where you can see me smiling and nodding my head “Yes” at every word you speak…

  11. says

    And I want to be sitting right there next to Deidra! Oh, how well I know that dialog – “For REAL, Lord? I mean, really? Me? Stand up there and preach?” Oh yeah. EVERY TIME. And that’s a very good thing – for just the reasons you are discovering. No, of course you are not worthy – none of us is. But that’s not really the point. You are called, you are gifted, you are ready. Jesus is worthy. And that’s all you need, friend. That’s all you need. Be the gift, Laura. You are the gift.

  12. says

    Hi Laura, we all feel inadequate but it is times when we feel adequate and competent that we should worry! God has always been encouraging with me except once when I gave a talk about our business and I felt like wow! it’s a business talk but I shared more about prayer and faith than about business principles and it was like I did God a good turn! He said, “Useless servant! Do you think I should thank you?!” I never forgot it and have remembered to rely on God for everything!

  13. says

    I am reminded of the verse in John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

    You have prayed, studied now go forth in Jesus Name and teach and preach His Word.

  14. says

    What L.L. said… right where you need to be. To be present in our insufficiency and at the same time, willing to present yourself by God’s grace as his gift to others. It can be mind boggling and heart rending all at the same time. Even without hearing the sermon, I am deeply blessed by these words right here. Laura, I can see why God loves you so much. Hug.

  15. says

    And how I would love to drive cross country, pick up a few friends, and be there to see you don the robe and take the pulpit. And hear you speak the way your heart speaks.

    Bless you, Laura. For following this thing. Oh, my.

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