Written by Gabe Lyons
Our granddaughter, who lives in Alexandria, Virginia, turned five years old on March 17th. We got her a bike with training wheels, based on one of the Princesses from the movie Frozen, and had it shipped to her home. Our daughter and son-in-law assembled and hid it in their garage.
We set up a video call and after a brief scuffle with the Facetime app, we finally had a visual connection. She was a bit puzzled, but with promises of a surprise and urging from her seven-year-old sister, she finally stood in front of the closed garage door.
Her dad raised the door to reveal an object draped in a sheet. She cautiously approached, asked “What is it?” Her sister impatiently told her to grab the sheet and lift it off, and as the big reveal occurred, there was . . . pandemonium.
Screaming and jumping up and down and more screaming. “It's a Princess Anna bike from Frozen. Is it mine? Can I keep it?” More frenzied gyrations, eyes alight and a smile wider than a mile. Again, “Is it mine? Can I keep it?”
“Of course, it's yours,” said her mom, “it's your gift from Nana and Papa. And yes, of course you can keep it. Come and say thanks.”
“Thank you . . . look! It's got a seat for my doll. I have to get my doll.” She raced into the house yelling for her Princess Anna doll and hurried back to clip it into the seat behind her saddle. “Mom, look, it's pink, I love it.” More screams and jumping.
“Can we go for a ride?” her sister asked as she simultaneously pulled her two-wheeler out of the garage. She mounted her bike and shouted at her little sister, “C’mon, let's go.”
She strapped her doll in place, swung up onto her seat and with a devilishly determined look on her face, pedaled furiously to keep pace with her older sister as they shot up the street and disappeared around the cul-de-sac. A few anxious—on our part—minutes later they came roaring back to the driveway. Both girls were so excited, and she asked again, unbelieving, “Is it really mine? I have my own Princess bike!” More delighted shouts and laughter. Absolute, sheer joy.
We receive presents from God, and like this Princess bike, sometimes we ask if they are really meant for us, can we keep them, and what should we do with them. And like our fearless granddaughter, we need to hop on and try them, venture out, see how far we can go. We may have need of a set of third wheels for a while, but God expects us to be good stewards, hone our skills, and ditch the appendices when we feel confident.
Admittedly, we may be unsure or reticent, and at times even question if we received the wrong present. But if we trust in God, with practice we can gain confidence and even turn our awkward attempts into abilities we never knew we had.
As we watched our granddaughter, we smiled, we laughed, we began to get teary. In that moment we realized, that although we had given her a present, she had provided us with a precious gift—a memory, not to be outgrown or sold at a future garage sale—one to last forever.
So too it is for us, that the presents we nurture, and develop, are meant also to build others up, to spread the joy of God's love and perhaps create some special moment in their lives. What seems a random act to us, might be the hope, the joy, the spark of kindness, the necessary words or tender embrace that someone else is seeking.
What present do you have? Do you lack proficiency? What are you waiting for? Hop on, God's got His hand on the third wheel and He's with you no matter how far you want to take your ride. Spread your wings, use your gifts. You'll gain a lifetime of special memories that are yours to treasure forever. That's a gift we all can use.