Gift: Receiving Gifts of Love

A gift given

by +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

Have you ever been given an unexpected gift?

In my twenties and thirties, I often privately questioned gifts people gave me. Why would someone give me a gift of ___________? What was their motive? I’m not sure when I became a cynic.

Perhaps it came from one part thinking, “I can’t understand why someone would want to give me something,” and two parts having experienced unspoken expectations tied alongside the ribbon that wrapped the gift.

Holding Hands

Boys in tree

And then God gifted me with children. Both of our boys are amazing kids. They give from their hearts. Freely. Selflessly.

One of the boys shares things he likes with me. He received a Lego set—a Star Wars star fighter, I think. He’d pined after this set for . . . well, it seemed like forever. After he played with it awhile, it slipped under the Lego table in the playroom. Then he checked out a book from the school library about how to make robots with Legos.

Robo dog

Eager, he raced downstairs with the book to see what he could create with what he had. I smiled at his gleeful exclamations as he created robots. Then he came upstairs as I was making lunch. And he held something in his hand. “Mom, this is for you.”

Standing on his palm was a robot dog. Small, but priceless in this mom’s eyes.

“Some of the pieces came from my Star Fighter set.”

“Oh honey. You don’t have to give this to me. I know how much you like that set.”

He pressed his hand forward. “No, I made this for you.”

He never wants those pieces back, because it would be a rejection of his gift. He pours his love into the gifts he offers.

When we went “almost camping,” my nephew and his father cracked open a geod. My guys watched, excited to see what was within.

Later, the boys came to our cabin with pieces of crystalline geod in their pockets. Sunlight glinted off them as they showed me. One boy especially thought is was cool.

After we unpacked at home, he opened the palm of his hand. “Mom, this is for you. I want you to have it.”

I love that he can take what he sees as beautiful and share it. This is love, isn’t it?

Geod sparkles

God took the beauty of his Son and wrapped Him in human flesh. Jesus gave each of us the gift of eternal life. And it floors me still. I’m so, SO undeserving of that gift.

He offers us His grace, His unconditional love wrapped up in little arms, in glimpses of beauty, in protection.

Crown Cross Stone

How well do I accept it?

Honestly?

Not that well sometimes. I insist on my own way. I don’t embrace His grace or let Him give to me by helping me through a situation. I don’t always take to heart the gift of a friend’s encouraging words.

White holly hocks

A gift disdained is no less a gift.

I’m learning to open my eyes to see the gifts God places in my days. And to receive them without wondering why a gift would be given to me, of all people.

What about you? How good are you at receiving gifts from others? Have you ever been given a gift that was hard to receive?

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14 thoughts on “Gift: Receiving Gifts of Love

  1. Mrs. Takenaka, this is a lovely posting, and you raise a very interesting question.

    If we choose to disdain the gift, the giver has still made the sacrifice of effort (and time, and money) to place it in our hands.

    We are therefore not merely disdaining the gift; we are sending a message to the giver that his offering, and implicitly he himself, are not worthy of our appreciation. A disdained gift is not a passive “pass”; it is active rejection of person, persona and values.

    An act of rebellion, as it were.

    I believe that we often reject God’s gift of His Son because we feel we are getting something “better” in our assumption of unworthiness. We take ownership of unworthiness, and we think we can control it. But control is an illusion; its independence is the independent choice of Hell, where all freedom is surrendered forever.

    If we step out from behind that word, we must accept the value God places on us. He must accept the dependent valuation of Heaven which with our eternal freedom has been purchased.

    And we, our hearts of acceptance, become gifts in which God delights.

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    • Surpreet, you bring up a number of good points. I appreciate the way you shared the contrasts of disdaining or accepting the gift God gives us. I appreciate the reminder that when we accept the gift of salvation God gives us, we also need to accept the truth that He values us enough to purchase our freedom. Thanks so much for stopping by today!

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  2. It took me a long time to accept friendship, much less love, that was freely given.

    I came from a childhood that was a rather unpleasant (Machiavellian, and those were the GOOD days). Learned not to trust, really early.

    SoI disdained gifts of friendship, and if there was any chance of “romantic” love in my first 40 years I made sure I wrecked it.

    I did trust the guys I worked with, because with what we’d gone through, we knew we’d die for each other. It wasn’t friendship. It was honor. Or is that the highest friendship? Need to think on that.

    It took a lot of reading, and years of counseling, to understand that people outside one’s own “brotherhood” could be trusted, and could be sincere. I learned that civilians were human,more or less, after all.

    Glad I learned, because otherwise these dread days would be lonely indeed.

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    • Andrew, yours truly is a story of overcoming, and of hope. I’m glad you’ve chosen to trust people. Sometimes the offer of trust, and the gift of being trusted are among the most valuable gifts.

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  3. Great post, Jeanne.
    Andrew, I’m so glad you learned to trust civilians. We’re not all bad. Thank you for the gift of serving our country. As a civilian, I appreciate you and your sacrifice for us.
    Like Andrew, I think there are people who give us unknown gifts all the time that we are never aware of.
    I’m always amazed when a customer gives us a gift of food. It always brightens our day at work.
    My heart is always touched at these unexpected gifts.

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    • You’re right, Jackie. Sometimes we do receive gifts without quite realizing it. I guess when we live each day with eyes wide open it’s easier to see them. May you have a bright day today. 🙂

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    • You’re right, Annie. It can be hard to receive gifts from others. I love your description of receiving—to open our hands and graciously receive. I’m so glad you stopped by!

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  4. One thing I learned a while back was the concept of taking a compliment. For some, there is always a motive for giving one, but taking kinds words at face value is very hard for many people. Our society has become jaded to the point of scoffing at kind words. One thing I try to do is give a verbal affirmation whenever I can, and then if I have to, I shush the rebuttal. “Do you think I’m lying?”
    “No!”
    “Then simply say thank you.”
    “….okay.”

    People crave affirmation and love, so why not accept it when it is given?

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    • You’re great at offering affirmation, Jennifer. I think it’s one of your gifts. 🙂 And I’m one of those who still has trouble receiving complements. This saying, “thank you,” and believing the words is one of the lessons God is teaching me as I grow older. May we all become better at receiving the gift of affirming words.

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  5. And you know, I think how we receive may fall back to our “love language” … if you’ve read much on that. What means much to one, may not be “showing love” to another. We are just all made so differently.

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    • Hmmm, Shelli, that’s a good observation. I’m familiar with the 5 love languages, and you’re right. Different acts of love “speak” differently to people, depending on their “language.” Interesting thought!

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