Hold Up Your Vintage Bag

I stood in the kitchen a few weeks back preparing lunches for the next day.

I had my assembly line of “threes” all lined up – 3 granola bars, 3 bags of veggie straws, 3 sandwiches, and 3 tiny Jazz apples all ready to fill 3 lunches for 3 hungry boys the next school day.

Ethan came into the kitchen with a baggie in his hand.  He pulled up a stool at the kitchen counter and bellied up to oversee the process.

“Hey mom, I found this in a drawer and wondered if you would put it in my lunch box everyday.”

In his hand he held a reusable bag covered in vintage fabric.  An Etsy find from years past.  One I should reuse everyday, but somehow gets shoved to the bag of the Ziplock drawer and forgotten.

“Sure buddy! Hand it here.”

He hesitated, “But I wondered if you would put a surprise in it.  It doesn’t have to be big, but just a little something that I can open at the end of the day.  Just a little treat?”  His grin was hopeful.

“That’s a fun idea!  Sure!  But ya can’t peek!”

He shimmied off the stool and went up stairs, leaving me to find him a “surprise” and wrap up my assembly line.

Several weeks and many lunches later, I still reach for Ethan’s vintage bag.  Some days I put a cookie.  Other days, a peppermint and mommy-note.  If he’s lucky, I’ll grab a couple of pieces of chocolate or Swedish Fish left from Valentines.

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But this morning, I thought of something.

Sadly, I’d never recognized it before…. Ethan is the only boy of our three who has a surprise treat sack in his lunch.

It’s not that I am being neglectful of my others, or ever showing preference.

But the reason is simple as to why Ethan gets a treat everyday.

Ethan asked me.

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”  Luke 11:9-13

As I prepared lunches this morning, I reached for Ethan’s treat bag and thought, “God loves to fill my life with surprises, too.  He longs to fill my sack with little details and delights.  But am I asking Him to do that?”

Even if I don’t ask Him, does God still fill my life with gifts both big and small?  Yes, of course He does.  But do I miss the KNOWING that “this giddy-gift is from my Father?!”

Everyday, Ethan is on the look out for that vintage bag.  He anticipates opening it because he knows I’ve filled it with something that says, ‘I love you, buddy.’ I have no reservations asking for BIG requests and entreating God’s help with life-altering decisions, but what about the little things?

The tiny gifts are often what encourages me most about my God.  He will shower us with every need and fill our lives with ‘I love you’ gifts, too.  And it’s ok to ask Him!

Some days I need something as simple as a word of encouragement from a friend.  Maybe I need help searching for a new outfit for an important speaking event.  Maybe my boys need new school pants, but the budget isn’t budging.

You know, the little things.

Maybe that will be the day a friend brings me a card out of no where.  Or I find shirt on sale and then an additional 50% off.  Maybe that’s the day a bag of school pants are brought to me by a friend whose sons have outgrown theirs.  Coincidence?  I say not.

And just like Ethan asked me, the surprise “doesn’t have to be big.  Just a little something that [we] can open at the end of the day.  Just a little treat.”

Because if we give our children Swedish Fish to show our love for them, HOW MUCH MORE WILL OUR HEAVENLY FATHER GIVE TO US!? He has already given us ALL of HIMSELF.  The Holy Spirit who fills your life with POWER and AUTHORITY and VICTORY…. but don’t forget about the smaller things.

God cares about school pants, too.

Today, go deeper with God by asking Him for the details.  Hold up your vintage bag and look forward as He prepares a surprise for you.

Lord Jesus, thank you for caring about every detail of my life.  I love it that Your “goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life! (Psalm 23:6)”  So without hesitation, I ask you today to fill my life with good things.  Will you surprise me,  Father?  Today I ask you for a tangible expression of Yourself in a small way — a small enough detail that only YOU could have known.  I love You Lord!  Help me to live extra aware of Your presence with me.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

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