Phew! Last week’s post was a heavy one, so this Thursday let’s take a brief intermission from my story to talk about “bling”! First of all, I am no fashionista! Therefore, rarely have I owned anything that friends (let alone strangers) are inclined to gush over at first sight. That is until I found…The Purse!
“Oh, I just love it!” The sales clerk was ogling over the sparkly purse as she gently placed it in the plastic bag. It had stood out alone among the leather and vinyl assortments resting on the purse shelf at Ross and I instantly dropped the inexpensive, but gorgeous cut glass purse with the long thin silver handle in my basket. What a find! It was just the thing I needed to accent the formal nights on a long awaited Caribbean cruise. I don’t spend much on clothes and even less on purses. In fact, I am not much of a shopper at all, so when I find a treasure like this, I cherish it until it is worn out. “I love it too,” I said smiling as I headed out the door. Silly as it seems, I felt like I had just picked the winning lottery number.
When I headed to dinner on our first formal night- day two of the cruise- my daughter also commented on the purse- reaching out to touch it. “Mom, I love your purse! It looks so pretty with your dress.” I smiled broadly. “Thanks, me too!” I don’t play dress up often. I have always felt awkward in anything more than capris and a simple blouse- usually black or purple. However, on this night with that purse, I felt kinda magical. It seemed the bling purse shouted to be noticed and made me feel like I was glistening too. I decided if it could make me feel like this, I might as well use it every night of the cruise, even casual nights (see what I mean about my fashionista fashion choices).
On the fourth night, a semi formal night, I was in the ladies room and had set my purse down to wash my hands. Two older women came into the restroom and one of them spied my purse. “Wow. I love your purse!” She eyed it gleefully. “Thank you. I love it too.” I smiled at her as if I had personally Super-glued each piece of rose-tinted glass on the silver frame myself.
Suddenly, as I lathered my hands, a picture popped into my head, clear as if it was right in front of me. It was of a delicate porcelain necklace adorned with a tiny cross and a silver heart. I had seen a new friend wearing it as we shared an IHop breakfast together. It was beautiful. “I love your necklace.” I commented. She immediately replied, “I love it too.” She told me, ” It was given to me at a special time in my life and encouraged me when I needed it.” She gently touched it, accentuating her affection for the item around her neck. As we were leaving after a lovely visit, she reached up and removed the necklace and handed it to me. “Please take this necklace as a gift.” I was flabbergasted, and at first, uncomfortable. The look of encouragement in her eyes made me reach out and take it. I could not remember a time when someone had given me a gift held in such importance- a prized possession she or he loved. It touched me deeply and I think of her generous giving every time I put it on.
Later her example, made me think of a few of the other incidences in the Bible where someone had given something precious- something they loved. For example, Mary using her precious expensive perfume to wash the feet of Jesus or Zacchaeus who gave up half of his possessions to the poor or Joseph who gave his brothers “the best that Egypt had to offer” (and after everything they had done to him!). However, nothing-not. one. thing. we own is as great a gift as what has been given to the world. God gave us the ultimate gift through his Son. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but shall have eternal life. John 3:16 NIV. Now that is sacrificial giving; that is the ultimate example of giving what you love.
I came out of that cruise ship bathroom smiling widely. I was carrying my lipstick, eyeliner, and phone. “Can you put these in your pocket, please?” I asked my husband. He looked at me confused. “Yes, but where is your purse?” he asked. After I told him the story, he said, “But you loved that purse.” I grinned at him joyfully. “Exactly!”
May I encourage you to be open to the gifts God has for you today and also to look for opportunities to “be a cheerful giver.” For scriptural reminders of what God says about giving and receiving, please check out my free companion short study on The Adventure of Giving.
Due to the 4th of July holiday my next post will be on Thursday, July 11th. Please join me to read about life as a young (very young) bride. Thank you and have a great week.