He was just a little boy with a smudge of yesterday’s dirt on his face and an irresistible sparkle in his bright blue eyes.
He walked up the steps to my front door and knocked … although there was no need to knock because this was the door of his very own home.
(Just minutes earlier he had raced through the door and it had slammed loudly … waking his baby brother from his nap. I had not been happy about that occurrence.)
But this little bit of a boy was hiding one grimy hand behind his yellow-striped shirt … that was on backwards and inside out, of course.
(It was how he wore all of his clothes … backwards and inside out.)
I, wanting to participate in the sweet childhood game that he was playing, opened the door and said, “Why, hello there! May I help you with something today?”
No words were spoken but his impish little grin spread irresistibly across his freckled face as out from behind his back he produced a bouquet of weeds.
“These flowers are for you, mom! I picked them just for you,” he sweetly replied as I bent down to exclaim over his offering of little-boy love.
I wrapped my arms around his sweaty, small body and enveloped him in love as only a mother can.
I immediately placed the “flowers” in one of my loveliest vases and they graced our kitchen table for many days.
Each day, as I walked by the love offering from my sweet little boy, I reminded him, “How did you know that I love purple flowers?! I couldn’t love anything more!”
At each family meal that ensued that week, I assured my winsome son the “flowers” were the most beautiful I had ever seen and I was so grateful for their loveliness and for his thoughtful gift.
Just a few days after my captivating son gave to me the delightful arrangement of weeds from the field behind our house, I awoke early to read the Word of God.
Spending quiet time with the Father was my daily practice during this season of my life. It offered both emotional and spiritual sanity before my five children came tearing down the stairs for breakfast, chores, and schooling.
As I spent a few minutes in prayer and then in worship in the still of the rosy dawn hours, I heard the Lord speak to my heart.
He asked me to give to Him something that I wanted to keep for my very own.
He asked me to give to Him a heart attitude that I felt entitled to embrace due to the treatment by someone.
My husband pastored a growing church and unfortunately, as the pastor’s wife, I was often the target of their pain and impatience. Most days I handled it well but at other times, I allowed weeds to grow in the garden of my heart.
I didn’t want to give the particular heart attitude to Him!
Oh no … this awful and ugly attitude belonged to me!
I felt that I deserved to meditate on the grudge and thereby magnify the pain that was all mine.
As I sat in the chair that was covered with tear stains over other battles that I had fought in prayer, the Holy Spirit reminded me of the delight that had been on the face of my son as he gave me his childlike offering.
The Holy Spirit gently whispered, “Carol, if you will come to me with your weeds, I will exclaim over their beauty. I will treasure the offering that you have made although there might be a smudge or two on your heart.”
In that moment, I realized that anything that I could ever offer to the Father would be cheap and perhaps callow compared to what He had generously given to me.
“But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions.” – Matthew 6:15
And yet, the wonder of it all, is that even my sacrifices of earthly pain, are bouquets of great glory to Him.
“Willingly I will sacrifice to You;
I will give thanks to Your name, O LORD, for it is good.”
When I give to Him all that I am and all that I have, He throws His arms of love and acceptance around me.
He exclaims over the beauty of the offering and reminds me time after time of its glory in His Kingdom.
I mistakenly had the notion that pain was simply pain and that the mistreatment that had occurred was mine to fondle and to exclaim over.
But when I offered my “weeds” to the Father as a sacrifice of praise, they became a sweet-smelling bouquet in the palace of eternity.
What is the Lord asking you to give to Him today?
Is He asking you to give Him your sorrow or perhaps your time?
Maybe He is asking for your disappointment or even for one of your material possessions.
I can assure you that whatever He is asking for, it is simply because He loves you.
When you give it to Him joyfully, you will wonder why you waited so long!
“… God loves a cheerful giver!” – II Corinthians 9:7
Let me encourage you to climb the steps up to His presence and then to knock on the door of His heart.
He will answer willingly and warmly.
Although you may be mis-dressed in yesterday’s pain and although the smudge of disappointment may altar your appearance, He can’t wait to throw His arms around you with love!
“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.” – Hebrews 13:15
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Carol McLeod Ministries