Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Recognizing God's Unexpected Gifts

Hi Friends,

At the women's retreat I attended over the weekend, we talked about being God's beloved. That reminded me of how God, like a lover, brings us unexpected gifts to surprise and delight us. These are sometimes small things that make us smile. Reminders from God that He loves us, that He's there. That He cares.
It's like the time when my husband brought me one red rose. Just because. It happened like this . . .

"Just because I love you," Bryan leaned down with a big grin to plant a kiss on my forehead.

I looked up to see a beautiful rose, blushing deep velvet red.

"For me?" I blinked once to be certain that my eyes and nose weren't deceiving me. The vision of the rose remained.

My husband smiled and brushed my cheek with his fingertips. "Just for you."

"But why? It isn't my birthday, or our anniversary. It's just a regular ol' day."

"Just because I love you," he repeated. "Do I need any other reason?"

I shook my head and gently touched one soft petal, as the fragrance of Bryan's love for me filled the room.One red rose. It was exquisite; a special, simple gift of love, given with no strings attached, given "just because," to remind me that my husband loves me, even on plain, ordinary days. I didn't deserve it. I hadn't done anything special. He just wanted to show me once again that he loves me just for being me. Such love is precious.

There's only one person who loves me more than my husband, and that is Jesus Himself.As I sat inhaling the flower's sweet perfume, I realized that God gives me, His beloved bride, roses too; those small blessings in my life that are tokens of His love, that He gives "just because He loves me."

His gifts to me are free. They require only my acceptance. So often when I consider the free gift of God's love, I think of Jesus' death for me on the cross, and I stop there. But God did not stop there. The gift of His son was only the beginning. Every day is filled with little reminders of how much God cares for me, His way of saying "I love you still." Pleasant surprises, little ways that God works on my behalf, simple serendipities that give me joy -- yes, God brings me roses too, not because I've been good, or because I've been especially diligent in my devotions, but just as demonstrations of His overwhelming love for me. No strings attached.

But, do I miss the roses from God? How many do I overlook because I forget to look up and receive? Do I fail to recognize and accept the little gifts of God's unconditional love, the gifts He gives me every day, not because he must, but simply to show me again that He is so much in love with me? How many times does He reach out to me saying, "Here, my love, I'm giving you this show you again how much I love you," and I brush past Him, unaware?As God showed His love for me in Jesus, so He affirms it in a thousand little ways every day of my life. I don't need to earn His love. His outpouring of love is not contingent on my actions. He simply loves me. I just need to open my eyes and see the rose, breath deeply and smell the beautiful fragrance of God's love, and reach out with a thankful heart to touch the soft petals of His gifts.

And so, with one red rose I am reminded again that "He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?" (Romans 8:32 NIV).

May you receive sweet, unexpected gifts from God today and remember that you are His beloved!