With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it’s hard for a girl not to get giddy about all the “lovie-dovie” movies, plush animals, and sentimental cards out there.  Only, a very special person to me helped me determine something so much more valuable than all that stuff. Yes, I know that God has His hand all wrapped up in this one too, but I tend to be a bit hard-headed and sometimes need a good “talking to” by someone who has a different perspective than my own sometimes, misguided tunnel vision.  I’m grateful for the much needed input.

Over the passed few years, I’ve had it a bit hard financially and while every “need” has always been met, my wants and “desires” had been a bit lagging to say the least. I’d had a stint with unemployment and just plain consequences of bad decisions that have left me at times literally penniless. Though I’ve had my days that were not as desired as most, I got through them, but not having additional money to spend for myself was never a big whoop for me.  My biggest issue with unemployment, clipping coupons, measuring gas mileage, and just being a better steward in general was that I felt that my children were getting short changed.  Pride left me in a place, where despite my need, I’d clammed up.  I’d even shut the door to family and close friends because, let’s face it…with today’s commercialism floating about…no one wants to be “without” and no one definitely wants to “admit it.”

Of course I know that this kind of pride is wrong, but it has been just one more thing that I’m grateful for God’s mercy.  I’m not quite there yet!  Well, long story short, nothing could have revealed how “not there yet” I am than my conversation with the one who shed knew light on my crooked ideals.

He stated, “You’re a stranger in your home.”  Generally speaking, the conversation stemmed along the lines of my hectic schedule and how even when I’m home, I’m not really there because I have so many “other” obligations. He basically stated that no matter how many commitments I have for “good organizations” (yes, even the church), family comes first.  He’d mentioned this after I’d admitted how burnt out I’d been feeling.  I realized he was right years ago, but I had to keep up the pace. That’s what I said in my mind. For some reason, I had willingly become a “yes man.”  Except, where I needed to be the most was suffering.

Last night and this morning, I realized that though I can afford to do more for my children now and I have a lot lately, the presents I provide can only provide a moment of gratification.  If only the thought that counts—in that, they light up knowing that I took the time to think of them amid my rigorous duties—that moment fades, the moment, I decide to attend a game and bring a book to “keep me occupied or when I allow myself to get lost in a game of “Greedy Spiders” on my phone instead of watching my son reach a goal on a video game that I really don’t understand, but that he asked that I watch him play. My intentional effort is what matters most to my children and likely to anyone for that matter. I realize more than ever how much my children need me so from now on the main gift I’m offering is my presence instead of a present.