By Kim Chaffin
The day my daughter was born I watched my husband fall head over heels in love with that 6 lb. bundle of joy. As time would go by, that little girl grew and continued to wrap her daddy around her pretty little finger.
Everything to her was a song. I mean she sang EVERYTHING. Our house was a real life musical complete with the costumes that spilled out of her dress-up box. Oh how she would light up when her dad came home; she would sing and dance right into his arms. Her daddy would give her the world if she just asked.
My daughter has always had a soft side about her; sometimes it was hidden under her daring personality, but I knew it was in there. Under the dirt she brought in with her from outside, despite all the bugs she has collected, the horse’s hoof that fell out of her pocket into my washer and the pile of rodent bones I found on her counter, there has always been a sensitive soul within her.
When she was about four, we had a Christmas play in our church. My husband, son, and I were in the play. We had invited my dad, my bonus mom, and other members of my family. My dad is a great guy but the whole church thing isn’t his cup of tea. My daughter sat on his lap that night and at the end of the play the lights dimmed and we sang “Silent Night.” She turned herself around, knelt in my dad’s lap, and placed her hands on his face. Her little voice belted out that song with such feeling it brought tears to my dad’s eyes. He told me that she really understood what she was singing about. God had taken root in her little heart and it was obvious to those around her.
My little girl knew God from a young age. Looking back, she was walking with Jesus way before I ever really knew what it was like to be in a relationship with Christ. It would be about another three years until I would really begin my walk with Christ and understand that it was more than just showing up to church on Sunday because it was the right thing to do.
I now see that God was using her in mighty ways that would affect my husband, my son and myself. When I think of her singing everything, her dancing and how she ran to her daddy with great joy when he came home, it still makes my heart melt. As I said before, her daddy would have given her the world if she just asked. I see now that if we run to our Daddy in heaven and jump into His arms with joy and songs of praise he, too, will want to give us all our heart’s desires.
It was that soft spirit in her that has led me to write this blog post.
Lesson 1: Give with an open heart, and never expect anything in return
From about the age of six my daughter started wanting to help people. She asked me one day if she could use her allowance to buy supplies so that she could make cards to sell and then give the money to the food bank. For a little thing, she blew my mind. She would turn in $100 dollars at a time to the food bank. That led her to lemonade stands for the food bank and for St. Jude’s hospital. Then she started taking orders for cards and she even put them in a craft show. We told her we would match what she raised and found ourselves writing checks for $100 and up.
For Christmas one year she asked for us to let her pick out of the World Vision catalog some animals to send to needy families instead of her getting so many gifts. She then came to me and asked, “Can I take my own money on top of that and buy more things in the catalog to give for Christmas?” She has shown me to never think that you can’t make difference, she’s shown me the joy of giving with expecting nothing in return and she has taught me how to be the hands and feet of Christ. One day I remember my son saying, “she’s got “IT,” she is right with God and I want that.” That little girl was one of God’s instruments in her brother’s salvation and she helped my husband and me to really see what it means to walk with Christ, not just go through the motions.
Lesson 2: Everyone has a gift. Find yours and, remember, if you don’t use it, you’ll make God sad.
Several years ago, I found myself by the side of my dear friend’s bed as cancer closed a door to her life here with us and opened a new door to life in heaven. During that time, I was spending lots of hours by her side, helping around the house and trying to figure out what to tell her two beautiful young daughters as to why their mommy was so sick.
I was by her side all night at times and that meant that things in my house were put on hold. My wonderful husband was working, trying to pick up the slack for me and take care of our two young kids so I could be by her side. I am blessed to have such a wonderful man who would give me all the time I needed with her and never complain for a moment that he had to take on more work.
One Sunday evening I was sitting on my front porch, tired and crying from the sadness in my heart. I felt guilty that we didn’t even have milk in the house for breakfast and I was feeling like a bad mom for not being there with my kids. My beautiful girl had just taken a bath and was in her PJ’s. As I sit here typing this, I find myself breathing deeply as if I am trying to take in the smell of her clean, wet hair. If you are a parent you will know what I mean when I say there is nothing better than cuddling with your child and breathing in the aroma of a freshly washed head of hair and the smell that children’s shampoo gives them.
That night Hanna came outside and was doing cartwheels in the yard and talking with me in between each cartwheel. She had grown out of singing everything by then but she was still my little girl. Hanna had gone to church that morning with her best friend and her momma Krista who is my very dear friend. Krista was also her Sunday school teacher that day. My daughter asked me why I was sad and I told her I was sad for my friend and that I felt bad that I was not taking care of my family like I should be.
What would happen next would impact me to the very core of my heart. I can see it as clear as day, the sun was setting, the air smelled crisp and she bounced up to me in her PJ’s with her wet hair in ringlets and put those soft little hands on my face. What she told me filled me with the greatest feeling of joy. She said, “I went to Sunday school today and you know what I learned? I learned that God gives us all gifts. Each one of us has something different and if we don’t use the gift that God gave us, we make Him sad.” She then put her arms around me and said, “Your gift is taking care of people and you need to do it or you’ll make God sad.” I am teary just thinking about those sweet words. Next she said, “Don’t worry about us mommy–we are going to be okay, you need to be with them.” Those were some very powerful words for a seven-year old.
She then bounced back to the grass to do more cartwheels and I sat there with tears of joy streaming down my cheeks. Little did she know that a few weeks before I had been given one of those tests to find your gifts so you would know where you could serve in the church. That test had only made me more confused because none of the choices seemed to fit me. That night I found my gift and I began to understand that each of us is given a very special gift and it is not to be found in a test. We just need to be who we are and it will fall into place. For me, however, it took little extra help from very smart and softhearted little girl to find my gift.
I slept well that night and went back to my friend’s house the next day to take care of her and family until it was her time to see Jesus. I am glad I was there and my daughter was right; they were okay. A few days later my friend went to dance with Jesus and I am thankful for the time I got to spend with her.
Please remember that you, too, have a very special gift and as my daughter said, “If we don’t use our gifts we make God sad.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 tells us: Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. What is your gift?
Lesson 3: Listen with your heart
When my daughter was about 9 she was getting ready for school one morning. I was reading in the living room and she yelled out to me, “Mom is there a book in the bible called Ephesians?” I told her there was and she said, “What does Ephesians 12:6 mean?” I said, “What? Are you sure you have that right?” (I was very new in my walk and was not familiar with the Bible but I didn’t think Ephesians had that many chapters). It was silent for a moment and than she said, “Wait, I think I mean Ephesians 6, can you find it mom?”
I grabbed my bible to look up chapter 6 and I asked her what verse to look up. She said, “I thought 12 but now I think it is 10-12, can you read it?” I was not sure what was going on and why she was yelling down the hall for me to all of a sudden look up a scripture. I began to read, Ephesians 6 starting at verse 10, Finally, be strong in the lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
My daughter said thanks and I said, “Should I read on” and she yells back “Yes, keep reading.” I went on to read: Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground and after you have done everything to stand. Stand firm then with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God. I asked if I should keep reading and she said, “no” it made sense to her now. Curious as to where this had come from I went into her room to find out where she got this scripture.
To my surprise she told me that she was standing in her closet trying to choose what to wear and she couldn’t make up her mind. In a very adamant voice she told me that God told her that scripture so she would know what to always wear. My mouth about hit the ground. Now it wasn’t like God had said in a audible voice “Hanna the Lord saith put on the full armor of God”, I was a new believer and I had heard people say that God had told them things in their hearts or spirits, I just hadn’t experienced it in such a wonderful way as my daughter just did.
Hanna was so a matter of fact about it like it was something that happened all the time. As I look back on it I see that she never put God in a box, she knew who he was and she was open to all of Him. There were no limits to the extent of her belief in what He could do. I was so happy to know she was hearing from God and I knew God was using her to teach me that I too could hear from Him in my heart also. I just had to choose to really listen.
That day she taught me to always listen with my heart so that I wouldn’t miss a special moment to hear from God. She taught me that He could teach us so much if we are willing to listen. My daughter bounced out the door that day excited to know what God wanted her to wear. I sat down after she left and thanked God for speaking to her and I asked Him to show himself to me in that way. I prayed that I would have an open heart to hear Him. As the years have gone by and my walk with Him has grown, I have learned that He really does speak to our hearts because He loves us so much.
She is one wise young lady and I am lucky to call her my daughter. I look forward to the many lessons I know God will show me through her in the years to come. Remember to always listen with your heart because God wants to show some very special things. I hope that you will want to be like my daughter singing with joy as you run into Abba Father’s arms. He longs to love you and give you eternal life in heaven and to fill the desires of your heart.
Remember to always listen with your heart because God wants to show you some very special also.
© 2013 Kim Chaffon