The August sun is beating down on us, and the preteens on the field are red faced and wet with sweat. Lawn chairs, water bottles, and proud parents line the side of the grassy soccer field. Some parents are loud and obnoxious.
I am one of them! I can’t help it.
My long legged son is hustling the ball down the field. His blond hair is dark from sweat and he is in his element. He dribbles the ball with strong control and coordination, a result of hours of practicing on his own. Dodging past multiple players, he lines the ball up and shoots with a powerful kick.
You can hear the silence as all eyes are on the ball sailing through the air. I have been on the recieving end of that strong leg and I have a moment of fear that it is going to hit the young goalie in the face.
It flies right over his head and hits the net hard.
My Caleb scores the first goal of the game!
I hear other parents commenting what a good player #17 is. I smile with pride. Yep, that’s my boy!
This mother had the same pride pouring out of her heart when Rebekah did a back flip or beat her big brother in a push ups contest. Her petite frame simply a vessel for her determination.
When the piano teacher tells me how gifted Micah is and I watch his fingers fly effortlessly over ivory keys producing music that makes my heart sing, I swell with pride again.
It’s the good kind of pride. The happiness that comes from watching your children succeed at something they love. As parents we often push our kids to achieve things WE enjoy or aspire to. I have tried hard not to do this. I want my kids to find what makes them happy, what they are good at. Only then do I PUSH.
As I was discussing Micah’s piano talents with a friend, I mentioned that I was happy he found his “thing”. We both agreed that we don’t have a “thing”. You know, something we are good at and enjoy challenging ourselves with.
I am not going to mention her name because I don’t want to embarrass her, but I want to write this post to her because I think natural talent is overrated. As proud of my kids as I am, there is something greater I wish for them to possess.
Dear Sweet Friend of Mine,
When God created us, He gave each of us gifts and talents that make us special. Some gifts are obvious from the start. Others take years to unfold. The variety of these gifts make each of us unique.
Sadly, the world has muddied the beauty of these gifts. We find ourselves in a comparison trap and never do we come out on top. The constant pressure to throw the best birthday party, bake the most delicious desserts, or have the perfect body weigh heavily on us.
If I had been able to choose the gift that God gave to my children, I would have chosen the one He gave to you. A giving heart.
I can see you shaking your head because you are too humble to accept praise. Sweet friend, please listen to me for a moment.
I have watched you put yourself second as you raise your family. Always taking care of and giving to those you love with humility that doesn’t come naturally to most of us.
The way you bend down to talk to my four year old, face to face. You take time to listent to him, making him feel as if he is important. Every child should feel as if they are important to the adults in their lives.
Proverbs 17:7 says a friend loves at all times.
You have stood with me through the good and the bad. I’ve also seen you love those who challenge the most sincere of hearts. Always seeing the good in people or at least trying to.
You are the first to generously suggest the positive in a negative personality. Often, conviction pricks my heart in these conversations as I wish I could do the same. A giving heart does not come naturally to me as it does to you. Yours is a gift, a true talent.
2 Corinthians 9:7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.
You are the first to jump on board any kind of efforts to help those in need. As soon as a situation is brought to your attention, you are ready to help.
A giving heart doesn’t just stop at the financial, but initiates, organizes, and helps in all aspects of need. A gift certificate for a massage, a thinking of you card, a meal.
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
I remember during some of my darkest grief, you did everything you could to comfort me. It must have been painful for you to watch, but you never turned away. You prayed, sent me songs and verses, and made yourself available in case I reached out. You, my friend, fulfilled the law of Christ without even trying.
The gift of a giving heart is more than giving financially or physical gifts, it is giving of yourself. Being present to rejoice when things are happy and to be a shoulder to cry on when they are not.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works
With jealousy rampant and encouraged in our society, it is refreshing to have a friend who is truly happy when others experience good fortune.
The way you encourage and inspire people is a gift. God wants us to build each other up, not embrace the usual female cattiness. You stir up good works because you are first to show love and the rest of us follow your example.
So, dear friend of mine, I hope you understand what a gift you possess and how much you are loved!
Come on, girls! It is time we lift each other up!
Tell your friend/mom/sister/daughter what you love about her. Point out her good qualities and her God given gifts. Let’s fight the ugly competition and unhealthy jealousy.
May we each strive to have a giving heart!