Friday, December 21, 2012

Re-Gifting: A Message of Receiving Christmas

"It's better to give than to receive."  We've all heard the phrase. It's something we are constantly aware of this time of year with Christmas and New Year's and all the blessings that are constantly swirling around us. I have a different phrase that I think makes a whole lot more sense: "You cannot give that which you've never received."

In the spirit of "re-gifting", there are so many things that we'd love to be able to GIVE to our kids. We've all thought at one time or another that we want our children to have things that we never had growing up. I'd like to suggest, on a more internal level, that's just not possible. If it's one thing that I've learned on this hard road of parenthood, it's this: I cannot offer them something that I never received. So many parents will understand exactly what I mean. Others, may be a bit confused. I will try my best to explain.

I had a rather dysfunctional childhood, to say the least. I didn't have the greatest model of what marriage was supposed to look like. I struggled in the areas of giving and receiving affection and love and still wrestle some days with exactly what it means to be "unconditionally loved". I had parents who tried their best. I am so thankful that God gave me both my parents. But there are undeniable holes in my emotional life that never completely healed.

Now that I have my own children, I have wished that I could give them everything that I did not have. Sometimes, I find that I come up very short. You see, when you lack affection for so long, you can struggle with extending it to your own children. Not because you don't want to or know that you need to. But because you cannot give what you've never received. This may always be something that you struggle with in raising your children. It's a struggle of mine.

Something else I always wanted to give to my children that I never had was a quiet, calm, mellow home atmosphere. You see, mine was the polar opposite. There was constant yelling and accusing and raising of voices. Things were frenzied and anxious and obnoxious and opinionated and aggressive. Things were also boisterous and joyful too. There was good in the LOUD at times. I just wanted something different for my kids. I wanted them to feel the security and stability and sense of safety and calm that I never got to experience. Yet even today, I find myself racing around the house, frantically screeching orders to hurry and get-moving and get everything together faster. There are constantly loud voices, argumentative tones, and sibling accusations. Part of it is the normal everyday life of living with toddlers, but the other part. . .the part when I am acting like a frenzied, crazy lady and turning my home into anything but quiet, calm, and mellow. . .that seems to be what I'm "re-gifting" in life.

It wasn't until I surrendered to who I am that I realized this "re-gifting policy". You can only give what you've been given. And you will never be able to give something to your children that you have never received. It's a scary concept, but there's a clause. Praise God for the fine print! Through parenting my little monsters, I've come to a place of healing that only God can give. Through that healing, I've received all the love and affection, encouragement and inspiration, security and stability that I was lacking for so long. My parents weren't able to offer me these gifts themselves because they never received them either. Generational curses are a real life thing, folks! But Jesus came to fix in our lives that which was broken, neglected, and devastated. Even gifts with the best intentions can get damaged in the transition. Thankfully, God is in the business of restoration!

As we collect all those gifts this holiday season, I'd invite you to look at the gifts that you are passing along yourself. Are they broken, crushed, damaged, or ruined? As hard as you try, are the gifts that you wish to give somehow missing from your life? God wishes so much to rush in to heal all the holes of neglect that you've acquired and bestow on you everything that you need in order to offer the best gifts to your children and future generations. Receive. Accept. Surrender. Let Him fix it.

The next time you "re-gift", it truly will be out of an overflow. "We Love because He first Loved US."


  1. Very well put!

    I grew up with the great childhood while my husband certainly did not. He has very skewed ideas of what parenting is supposed to be like because he had no good role models or examples. I try to make up for it as much as possible-he just doesn't know so I guess I have to show him. Maybe someday he'll get it. In the meantime I hold my kids closer and try to make the memories special.

    1. Thank you so much!! It's so hard when you are trying to offer something that you don't have naturally. I have really been letting God heal me from the past so that what my boys offer THEIR kids is something that they recieved from me. I hope your hubby sees the example, lets God heal his heart and learns to give that to your kids. :) Merry Christmas to your fam!