A belated Merry Christmas to everyone! The Weinberger family enjoyed a quiet, faith and family filled Christmas day. I couldn’t have asked for a more laid back, relaxed holiday. We made pretzels, ate way too much sugar in the form of fresh baked cinnamon rolls and stocking stuffers, and Stuart made our traditional red and green enchiladas for dinner. Don’t hate on the enchiladas, folks; we live in Arizona and are all turkeyed out from Thanksgiving!

As we were opening presents, my thoughts turned toward gifts, and their oftentimes unequal distribution. As a mom and wife, I don’t care if I only get three presents and my kids or my husband get four or eight. And I don’t expect the same gift as others receive. In fact, I rather enjoy and glory in the different gifts given and how they are uniquely suited to each person. It’s so gratifying to see the recipeint’s eyes light up, or hear the laughter in their voice as they realize that someone really ‘gets’ them and nailed the present thing.  And then there’s the moment when someone who knows you really well gives you a gift that you aren’t quite ready to receive. You appreciate it and all, but feel like they missed you a little bit. You might even think that gift would have been better suited to someone else. You take a deep breath, and choose to focus on the effort and loving motive behind the present, but that particular gift you put on the shelf, so to speak, and wait for the opportunity to utilize (or regift) it.

In either scenario, each gift was chosen uniquely for the person to whom it was given with sometimes differing results. Then my mind turned toward the gifts we are given by our heavenly father who knows us so well. He gives a differing number of gifts to each person and, sometimes, we don’t appreciate what we’ve been given. Sometimes we look at the gift another person received and wish we’d gotten that one. That’s where the danger lies. Not only do we doubt the one who knows us better than ourselves, but when we want another’s gift we fail to rejoice when others rejoice at best, or send destructive spiritual daggers of envy at worst. It gets even more dicey when the person that received the gift is truly glorious in it, and is using it well. How we respond to that person’s glory is  very telling.

I received a gift this Christmas. At first I felt like the second scenario above; wanting to put it on the shelf and not use it. It was not at all one that I wanted, but since I received the gift of suffering, I am trying to use it to the glory of God. Phillipians 1:28-29 makes it clear that suffering is a gift, and the way we handle it sends a signal of destruction to our opposition, and a sign of our salvation from God. Before that, Matthew 25: 14-30 tells us that if we use the gift we are given we will even get more! Whoa. Hold on, I know this is heavy stuff, and I’m making some pretty bold statements, but the Word backs me up on this. For right now, suffering is MY gift, and I’m using it to the best of my ability. That means that I can put it out there, this blog for example, and some folks will rejoice in how I use it and be encouraged and maybe even inspired by it, and some will hate or misunderstand it. I want MORE gifts from God so I’m putting it out there. I wrap this blog in the love of Jesus Christ and give it to you with all the love and bravery I can muster.

I smile because as I’m writing this all I can hear is one of my favorites, Nina Simone, singing Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,

” Ya know sometimes baby I’m so carefree
With a joy that’s hard to hide
And then sometimes again it seems that all I have is worry
And then you’re bound to see my other side

I’m just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.”

Happy New Year! May you rejoice in the gifts you are given and receive health, joy, and many more blessings besides.




7 Replies to “Gifts”

  1. Well said, Yolanda, and I applaud you! I’ve never thought of being given suffering as a ‘gift’, but it would explain my own chronic pain and it’s all in how I perceive it myself. I use it as empathy for others and God himself pointed out to me that the pain can control me OR I can control the pain. I chose to control it (naturally….no pills….Bowenwork has a huge hand in that) and it became “background noise” after that. This, too, shall become background noise for you at some point, too. Keep on Keeping On and I continue to pray for you.

  2. thank you for the gift of you!!!! I always feel blessed every time I read your blog. Prayers for a truly blessed New Year and a total healing from your cancer!!!love from Kansas!!!

  3. When I read your posts I am amazed at your strength and joy in the Lord. I read your words and verses you reference and realized God has great love for you. You are a warrior for Christ. Happy New Year. Blessings…

  4. Dear Yolanda,
    What a powerful blog post. There is so much in it, I will read and re read many times. Your walk with Christ is vibrant, otherwise, you would not have this insight. Thank you for this.
    P.s. will I hear you on the radio again?

  5. Beautiful words Yolanda and timely for me! Love you, your blog and reading John Eldridge thanks to you . Let’s have a glorious 2018 my dear, sweet friend.

  6. Yolanda I pray that this year will bring a much larger gift from God. A gift of good health and wealth. You are encouraging. Stay strong; my prayers are with you. I have read and copied some of your post. I have a cousin who undergoing cancer treatment. I feel she needs to read some of your blogs to help her stay encourage.I would love to have your strength if I had to go through suffering. May The Lord be with you and keep you. I have grown to love you and respect you. Have a Bless and Wonderful New Year.. The McCurdy family sends you their love and prayers.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.