Doris Swift is an inspirational writer, speaker, and author of Goodbye, Regret: Forgiving Yourself of Past Mistakes. In ministry for more than thirty years, Doris is passionate about encouraging women to walk deeper in faith, bloom in their calling, and use their gifts to impact the world. Doris’s writing has been featured on (in)courage, Just Between Us Magazine, Life Letter Café, Thrive Global, and Purposeful Faith. She currently resides in Florida with her awesomely supportive husband Brian. They make date nights a priority, love to visit historic cities and spoil their grandchildren unapologetically.
What is the strangest gift you’ve ever received?
I wonder if it tops this one…
The hubs has a pest control business and his regular customers bless him with appreciation gifts at Christmastime. We get all kinds of goodies like cookies, fudge, candy, gift cards. We were amused by this one particular gift he received from a customer…
She had extra, so hey, why not?
Then it happened–within a day apart both Brian and I injured our backs. What? Cookies weren’t going to help this situation, but there was one gift that could–Biofreeze. A topical analgesic that uses the cooling effect of menthol, a natural pain reliever. An unusual gift God provided in the past for our future.
God knows what we need before we even know we need it. He does that in our walk with Him, too. He equips us with not only material things we’ll need, but with gifts, talents, and skills that come in handy-dandy. Like when you need to part the Red Sea and such. Okay, we may not be called to do that, but I was glad God equipped my dad when the sea tried swallowing me up…
I must have been eight or nine maybe? We were down the shore (that’s Jersey talk for a trip to the beach). A beautiful day frolicking in the waves turned scary-dangerous for me and this boy floundering next to me. The lifeguard was busy, checking out bikinis I’m sure, and never saw our two heads bobbing over the swells of each passing wave.
God, of course, saw us and sent my dad, who was a lifeguard in his younger days, out after us to haul us back to shore. God equipped my dad with life-guarding skills years before, perhaps for that very day.
It May Not Be Today…
So when you receive a gift, learn a skill, or feel like what you’re doing is a waste of time–you never know how God will use it. It may not be today or tomorrow. It may be months or even years from now…
Trust God and hang on to whatever you’ve got for whenever He calls you to use it. I’m not talking about hoarding stuff, like those ten packages of shower curtain hooks or the twenty glass vases under the sink. You know, in case you open a florist someday.
I’m talking about the gifts, talents, and skills God equips you with for His purposes and His plans. Plans for His glory, the benefit of others, and your life. Our seasons may change, our circumstances may change, but His plans stand. The key is, we have to choose to walk in them. That choice is a gift right there.
It’s Never Too Soon and It’s Never Too Late
Think you’re a has been, God says you’re a will be. Think you’re a been-there-done-that gal, God sees you as a go-there-do-that gal. Think you’re not ready or not able? God calls you and He makes you ready and able. Don’t give up on your dreams and don’t believe the lie that God can’t use you.
No matter your past and no matter your age, young or old, God’s got you. He sees you, He knows you, He loves you, and He wants to use you. Believe it.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
So pack your cute, sensible shoes and go where He leads. Maybe pack some Biofreeze, too. Let your light shine bright, friend, and use the gifts God has given you. The world needs them. They are the only kind of gifts we can give away yet still keep.
Call to Action
Take a moment to write a thank you note to God for his provision, how He has gifted you, and the plans He has for your life. May each new day reveal more of Him and present divine opportunities to use your gifts.
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Peace, Love & Joy in Him,