In Others’ Words: Gifts

 

“A wonderful gift may not be wrapped as you expect.” ~Jonathan Lockwood Huie, author

For the past 11 months, daily episodes of vertigo knocked my life off-kilter.

Pardon the play on words. I’ve learned to throw humor at something that made me wonder if putting my mascara on is going to cause the world to rock-n-roll.

The first episode of vertigo hit last May 24th in the middle of the during an overnight stay at The Broadmoor, a five-star hotel here in Colorado Springs. (My husband took me there to celebrate our anniversary.)

When I thought about checking out the next day and envisioned myself crawling out of a swanky hotel (standing up was i-m-p-o-s-s-i-b-l-e), what did I do? Cry or laugh?

A bit of both, actually.

Whenever my Sony Wii trainer talked smack to me when I exercised, telling me my balance was off, I gave as good as I got, yelling, “I have vertigo, you wretched avatar. Of course my balance is off!”

And I discovered there were hidden blessings to be unwrapped as I waited … and waited … and waited for the vertigo to abate.

  • My family loved me, even when I laid on the couch, combating dizziness, and let them cook. Or clean. Or do life without me.
  • My friends (and family) prayed for me nonstop and comforted me with their compassion.
  • God taught me that yes, waiting on Him is a gift. It develops trust. And hope. And settles where you confidence is — not in what the future holds, but in who holds the future.

In Your Words: Have you unwrapped any unexpected wonderful gifts lately?

 

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26 Comments

  1. April 23, 2012, 1:29 am   /  Reply

    Yes I have! I have opened the gift that the Lord has given me to write Christian books. It’s a gift that not all people are given. One that has to be taken care of, and with Faith in Him Hope in Him, Love that he has shown to me. I may be able to share my gift with the World. In Him who is sooo able, Jessica

    • Beth Vogt
      April 23, 2012, 6:40 am   /  Reply

      Agreed, Jessica. Writing is an unexpected gift, isn’t it? And not always the easiest one to receive and use.
      🙂 But I share your enthusiasm for taking care of this gift with faith, hope and love in the Giver.

  2. April 23, 2012, 1:54 am   /  Reply

    Wow – I’ve suffered some bouts of vertigo and while I “know” the terrible feeling, I haven’t suffered with it as ruthlessly as you have. I think I’d lose my mind. That you can throw humor at something so wretched and debilitating is quite amazing and inspiring. I am so sorry you’ve been suffering with this! Praying it’s coming to an end!

    I LOVE how you said waiting on God is a gift. He’s so full of irony that way…

    Years ago, I discovered a deeper level of trust in God by “letting go” of my unborn daughter and giving her back to him when it was the very last thing this mama’s heart wanted to do.

    I was certain the pregnancy, now in danger, was the girl I’d desperately prayed for. The conception had been a miracle in itself. When I first discovered the pregnancy was in danger of miscarriage, I spent the next 2 weeks praying for God’s intervention. God’s only answer—a quiet reply in my heart after weeks of prayer:

    Give her to Me.

    I felt like Abraham being asked to give up his only precious son. As I rasped out the words, “God, do you know what you’re asking me to give up?” I already knew his answer. His gentle reply: Yes, actually, I do. I cried, warred within, cried more angry tears over my miracle pregnancy—like Abraham’s miracle son of promise. Remembered Abraham’s willingness to obey God above his love for his only son, his only legacy. His future lay on that altar and yet he placed his complete trust in the Lord. In my heart, I knew. God was to be my all in all, God and none other. I accepted the Lord’s request and agreed to “surrender” my daughter, whether it meant he took her home now or later. It ripped my heart out.

    But God’s peace quickly engulfed me, assured me he knew best, reminded me I could trust him. How does this kind of strange request by God coupled with my heart-wrenching surrender bring freedom from fear of loss and the need to be in control? I don’t know, but I knew that no matter what happened from then on, I could trust God without question.

    After agreeing to give up his long-desired child, a ram was given to Abraham. The same day I “gave up” my long-desired, unborn child to the Lord, all symptoms of miscarriage stopped. Letting go of what my flesh wants is still a challenge sometimes, but the Lord taught me to trust him that day and I have never forgotten his peace and assurance that he would be in control no matter the outcome.

    The Lord was very gracious to me. I later delivered a healthy girl. Her dad and I have tried our best to “give her” to the Lord daily. She is now a beautiful young woman who loves the Lord and serves him with her amazing gifts. Her name, Janae, means God’s Gracious Gift.

    • Beth Vogt
      April 23, 2012, 6:42 am   /  Reply

      Jess,
      It’s not even 7 a.m. here.
      But reading your story … it’s already been worth getting out of bed today. What a beautiful retelling of an unexpected gift.
      Thank you for sharing this with us today.
      Love you, friend.

  3. April 23, 2012, 6:37 am   /  Reply

    Love, love, love these words:
    “God taught me that yes, waiting on Him is a gift. It develops trust. And hope. And settles where your confidence is — not in what the future holds, but in who holds the future.”

    So incredibly true. Such a beautiful reminder. Thanks for these words this morning, Beth.

    • Beth Vogt
      April 23, 2012, 6:44 am   /  Reply

      I am thankful you were encouraged, Katie.
      The vertigo is waning day by day … but I know it can come back.
      So I’ll be in a constant posture of dependence on God.
      I’m good with that.
      🙂

  4. April 23, 2012, 6:50 am   /  Reply

    You are a gift and have a gift for saying lots in very few words. When meaningful friendships start, we seldom recognize instantly, “This is going to be great.” But then building relationships and going deeper is like unwrapping giftwrapped box, and then a smaller box inside, another, still another, etc., and of course finding treasure in each one.

    • Beth Vogt
      April 23, 2012, 7:13 am   /  Reply

      🙂
      Yes, Dee, friendships can often be those unexpected gifts.

  5. April 23, 2012, 6:57 am   /  Reply

    I found a few unexpected gifts at the writer’s conference this weekend. Now, if I can find them under the pile of notes, papers, an overloaded inbox, etc. (I sent this post to Hubby since he’s experiencing vertigo and dizziness.)

    • Beth Vogt
      April 23, 2012, 7:14 am   /  Reply

      So sorry to hear your husband is dealing with vertigo.
      He is in my prayers.

  6. April 23, 2012, 7:01 am   /  Reply

    I just said this on Katie’s blog…but basically, I’ve had a few disappointments and discouragements with my writing lately. No semi-final in the Genesis and some rough feedback from a few beta readers. (I’ve learned I’m not as good at taking feedback as I thought I’d be!)

    But I’ve learned that, even though I’ve only really been part of this online writing community since October-ish, I’ve already got some friends. Good friends. Friends I can dash an email to and spill my heart and they encourage me and love me anyway. Despite my discouragement. (Thank you for being one of those encouragers!)

    And also, I’ve seen how God can give joy in the midst of all that discouragement and help me to see each day as a new day. And that’s pretty awesome.

    • Beth Vogt
      April 23, 2012, 7:15 am   /  Reply

      I am thankful we’ve connected online — and look forward to meeting soon.
      And seeing the encouragement in the midst of the discouragement — that’s gold, isn’t it?

  7. April 23, 2012, 7:31 am   /  Reply

    This made me LOL: “I have vertigo, you wretched avatar. Of course my balance is off!” Laughter aside, though, I know this has been a serious and annoying health challenge. But I love how you’ve found blessings in the midst of it.

    Late last year and early this year, I didn’t feel like myself…at all. I was unusually emotional and had some little health oddities. When I finally went to the doctor, test results gave the doctor’s pause…and I got the assurance that, no, I’m not crazy…there really is something off. BUT, in the midst of that, I got mega blessings. The doctors I’ve gone back to several times now are just the sweetest, sweetest people. They took so much time with me and I left each appointment feeling so good. Sounds silly, but they really made me feel…good. 🙂 Also, when I got to my lowest of lows, my sister and brother-in-law called me out of the blue one day – asked if I’d like to quit my job, move in with them for a month or year or however long I wanted, and focus solely on my writing. Is that the sweetest thing or what?

    So, I just think it’s cool how amazing people become even more amazing during difficult times.

    • Beth Vogt
      April 23, 2012, 10:00 am   /  Reply

      I am happy to hear that your doctors were so, so good to you. Sometimes you hear horror stories about doctors and that infuriates me.

  8. April 23, 2012, 7:32 am   /  Reply

    Your words are beautiful and inspiring and show me that God can accomplish amazing thing in a life, even when that life is being compromised by a debilitating condition.

    It’s hard to pinpoint one specific gift, amongst so many, all coming in the midst of trials or challenges. Some are obvious, like the joys and blessings of parenting twin boys (because, let me tell you, it is a challenge) or the gift of friendship that has developed from a challenging house situation (we own two homes, one of which we NEED to sell, but couldn’t and ended up renting the house out to an amazing, faith filled couple who have become dear friends to us). Also, finding the gift of God’s unmerited wisdom in the midst of dealing with a playground situation involving our daughter and watching Him shine through the whole ordeal to make a challenge turn into a blessing.

    But the greatest gift I’ve unwrapped lately is entering the blogging community and watching in awe as the challenges and trials I’ve lived through are now becoming encouragement and strength for others. It’s incredible (and extremely daunting) to be the mouth piece of God, but the sense of fullness that you receive when others see Christ in your words, especially when your words are produced from a season of suffering, is beyond explanation. Isaiah 61:3b “to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” Oh, to display His splendor is the greatest gift of all! Those are powerful words to ponder today!

    • Beth Vogt
      April 23, 2012, 10:02 am   /  Reply

      Gabrielle,
      I am so thankful you’ve joined the conversation here. I’m enjoying your insights. And FYI: I’m a twin!
      🙂

  9. Jeanne T
    April 23, 2012, 7:35 am   /  Reply

    Such a great post, Beth. So often, we do find unexpected gifts in the midst of trials, and life happenings. I’m going to have to stop and think some more about other unexpected gifts God has given. I think one of the biggest ones I’ve been unwrapping lately has been a growing dependence on God as I walk this writing journey. Learning not to entangle my identity with contest results, or how well I feel like I am writing, but depending on God and finding my worth in who I am as His girl has been a gift.

    • Beth Vogt
      April 23, 2012, 10:03 am   /  Reply

      Ah, yes, Jeanne … not entangling our identities in something so, so personal as our writing.
      That is a challenge … and a gift.

  10. April 23, 2012, 7:58 am   /  Reply

    While I laughingly put “I asked God about patience and He gave me a book to write” on my email signature, it is quite true. I’ve learned so much about patience as I write. And I’ve learned that my future is in God’s timing, not mine.

    • Beth Vogt
      April 23, 2012, 10:03 am   /  Reply

      Pat,
      Every time I read your tagline, I stop and think, “She is one wise woman.”
      Yep, you sure are.

  11. April 23, 2012, 8:14 am   /  Reply

    First, I’m so sorry you deal with this–but what a rockin’ take on this. More and more I’m seeing ways to be honored to be in His likeness. I suppose a gift would be how I’ve been recently humbled in my parenting skills. SO much to learn. I see this as a gift. I’m here. There’s time. He trusts me to learn.
    ~ Wendy

    • Beth Vogt
      April 23, 2012, 10:04 am   /  Reply

      Agreed, Wendy — so many unexpected gifts come with the adventure of parenthood.

  12. Loree Huebner
    April 23, 2012, 11:30 am   /  Reply

    I feel for you. My daughter and my best friend have had bouts with vertigo. It’s something to do with their ears that knocks them off balance.

    I think when we find out that someone has prayed for us in a situation…that is a unexpected gift. I recently found out that a friend asked her group at church to pray for me…it moved me to think that people who don’t even know me, were saying prayers for my health. I was touched.

  13. April 23, 2012, 3:32 pm   /  Reply

    Oh I’ve heard vertigo is awful. I’m so sorry to hear you’ve had to deal with it, Beth. I love your perspective. (And yes, I’ve had some of those unexpected gifts too.)

  14. April 24, 2012, 9:02 am   /  Reply

    When I got my osteoporosis diagnosis last November, it sent me reeling as I faced the reality that I needed to make a major lifestyle change. I had to exercise. Doing so was no longer an option, not if I wanted to arrest or reverse the bone loss. I joined Curves, where I workout three times a week, and I walk the other four days. To my surprise, I’m hooked. The benefits of exercise are many, as everyone used to tell me. One of the big ones is taking long walks with my hubby, Mr. Exercise. Very nice!

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