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Not returnable
4/19/2012 12:00:01 AM by: Charlotte S. Snead

Do you think the holiday greeting “Many Happy Returns” has anything to do with the hoards of shoppers at the mall returning unwanted gifts the day after Christmas?

Our God-given gifts, which are always the best ones, are marked: “not returnable.” When He gives a gift, He doesn’t want us to take it back for a refund, even though we are sorely tempted to throw them away at times. May I share with you some of my best gifts?

1) The man I married—although all of us have longed for an exchange every once in a while, after too many years I realized God didn’t give me the easiest, the most romantic, the handsomest, or the richest, but He did give me exactly what I needed. My husband can stand up to my strong will, correct me when I am wrong, and he has never failed in his unconditional love for me. It takes a strong man to be married to a strong woman, and we all need to be challenged when we are charging in the wrong direction, yet Joe has never wavered in his commitment to me and our children. Thank you, God for the gift of Joe.

 2) The children He sent me–hey, some were not the easiest, some were, in fact, quite challenging, and every last one of them was expensive! Yet our oldest’s nurturing kindness poured into her siblings, how could I have raised them without her? They still call her to talk, and how I love to spend time with her to this day. Our second daughter’s special needs brought me closer to God, and her hard work to overcome them and to learn taught us all perseverance. She is the bravest person I know. Our oldest son’s critical bout with spinal meningitis was part of his father’s journey back to God, and his gentle soul and ready laugh has always been a well of peace. Our next boy’s strong will challenged his mother’s own and required us to hold on to God, while his merriment brought us a depth of joy we would never have known without him. And our youngest: words fail me to portray his innate goodness, much like his father’s, his strong sense of right and wrong, his loyalty, the depth of his commitments. He inspires me. Thank you, God, for my children.

 3) My family of origin—that, too, not always perfect and certainly not what I would have chosen, but God, in His Sovereignty, knew what I needed: the genetic gifts, the experiences, the obstacles all have shaped me into who I am today. Some years ago I could not be thankful, but as I have processed all of who I am today, forgiven where forgiveness was due, and extended the mercy I have received, I am thankful for my parents and my sisters, and I love them.

 4) My church family—all the needy saints that come to this spiritual hospital (including me) to be treated of our sin-sickness. When I travel I miss my fellow-believers, our Sunday school, our worship, the love and acceptance I experience here, the preaching that hones and perfects me, the opportunities, including Mothers of Preschoolers, to reach out and serve. Thank You, God, for Centerbranch Assembly of God.

And I could add number after number—each one of my precious younger sisters, who come to MOPS because you know “mothering matters,” and you want to be the best Mom you can be for your kids. How I respect and love each one of you! So take a moment to look at your best gifts, the ones not under the tree, maybe the ones you would like to return at the moment.  Then stop, bow your head, remember where those gifts have originated, and thank God for your gifts.

May you have the Best Christmas ever!

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Jesus only rebuked his disciples for lack of faith—oh, and not allowing the children to come to Him—saving his rebukes for religious leaders who were hypocrites. After feeding five thousand and then four thousand, how could his disciples fret over no bread on their sail across the lake? The Master could feed thirteen men if he had fed thousands! Yet I faltered over less than that last week.

My blog masters called me last Monday, asking if I knew my website was down. No. We worked all morning to discover why, knocking on closed doors. Word Press had closed my site, handing it off to another company. Me of little faith wept. I am launching a new book. A Place to Live came out last month and I’m in the midst of marketing it. All my marketing has the old website name on it. Didn’t God know this?

Of course He did, and by the end of the day my wonderful blog masters at Celebrity Web Design had a new one set up, one that I own: charlottesnead.com

 How cool is that? Just my name. I didn’t even know I could do that. God can do exceeding abundantly. So I downloaded all my subscribers and notified them of the name change. Since that time, I have doubled them! Thank you, God. Like the father I cry out: I believe, Lord, help Thou mine unbelief. Forgive me.


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