Keith received this basketball hoop on his birthday a year after Grayden was born. At the time we both laughed and said goodbye to adult gifts for the next 10 or so years.
It sat downstairs for years. Once and awhile it would get played with and appreciated, but mostly it collected dust or got in the way.
However, life for this little indoor basketball hoop has changed.
It has received so much use in the past year that its rim is bent, it requires piping inside the "pole" to keep it upright, and there is ducktape holding it together.
Although in its early years it was slow giving, most recently it is a gift that just keeps on giving.
The boys spend hours, and I mean HOURS, playing with it throughout the week.
At the very least, they play with it after every meal for at least 15 minutes.
It is by far their favorite toy and is the source of so much joy for both of them.
And you better believe I LOVE it too!
It helps the boys get out lots of energy.
It gives me time to finish the dishes.
It is the nanny I'll never have.
It teaches them endurance, creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork.
It bonds them as brothers and give them a common interest to pursue together.
For me it beats pushing trucks around all day -- I love myself some playing on the indoor hoop.
It gives me great times with my boys and make them think mom's got game.
The boys and I are reaping the blessings and benefits of a gift given over 5 years ago.
It truly has been a gift that KEEPS ON GIVING.
As I express my thankfulness for this gift, I can't help but be reminded of how God is the greatest gift giver there is.
Scripture teaches that "Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father."(James 1:17)
Some of God's good and perfect gifts include:
Compassion, Patience, and Love
"The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love." Psalm 103:8
"His compassions never fail. They are new every morning." Lamentations 3:22-23
Strength & Peace
"The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace." Psalm
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28
"gift of righteousness...through Jesus Christ." Romans 6:4
Wisdom & Understanding
"For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:6
"In him (Christ) we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins.." Ephesians 1:7
Kindness & Mercy
"When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy." Titus 3:4-5
His gifts are not only good and perfect but they have a ripple effect.
They give and give and give.
His gift of love never runs out and renews us day in and day out.
His gift of compassion never fails.
His gift of grace covers us again and again.
His gift of wisdom directs our path and enlightens our hearts toward knowing Him better and understanding His will for each day.
His gift of strength never waivers and is always enough to get us through each and every season of tribulation.
His gift of peace grants us rest and enables us to trust Him with each step.
His gift of forgiveness never ceases and continually purifies us from sin.
His gift of kindness and friendship in Jesus gives us salvation and hope for the future.
His gifts are crazy great and they never, ever stop giving.
Outside of Christ, my children are three of the greatest gifts God has ever given me.
Like me, I'm sure you can remember the moment you held each of your children in your arms for the first time.
What a perfect gift they were!
And what a perfect gift they continue to be!
They are truly gifts that KEEP ON GIVING.
As we look at their sweet faces, listen to their innocent words, smile at their giggles and laughter, and learn from their childlike faith...we are blessed over and over again.
Let's spend time today talking with our children about the wonderful gifts of God.
Let's talk about the ripple effect His gifts have on each and every recipient.
And THEN let's encourage them to give His gifts to others.
The gift of FRIENDSHIP...by inviting the lonely kid on the playground to play.
The gift of FORGIVENESS...by showing mercy to a sibling who did wrong.
The gift of COMPASSION...by sharing possessions with a family in need.
The gift of SERVICE...by helping mom with the dishes.
The gift of PEACE...by being a peace-maker when kids at school are arguing.
The gift of KINDNESS...by putting others' needs first.
The gift of LOVE...by telling other kids about Jesus.
Join me today in prayer for our children:
Lord, I pray that my children will experience all Your wonderful gifts and trust that all your gifts are good and perfect. I pray they will see the ripple effect Your gifts have and the continual blessing they are to those who receive them. I also pray they would grow to be faithful and generous givers. I pray they would learn to give Your gifts of love, compassion, kindess, service, peace, friendship, forgiveness, mercy, and grace to others.