Saturday, October 27, 2012


It was a real tough thing to ask her and it hurt me to watch the world tug so hard at her flesh. The past few years we've made the decision to not have gifts at her birthday parties and it was time to let her make the decision. So we asked "What do you want people to bring to your party?"

"Presents." [LONG PAUSE] "For me AND the kids in Africa."
We had said this was going to be her decision completely - but I wanted her to have all the facts. So we told her how incredibly rich we are. And how her family will ALWAYS give her presents no matter what... And I reminded her that we want to be the type of family that gives and finds joy in it and that it takes practice but it's just something we do. And then I asked her to pray about it.

I am pretty sure she prayed right then and there. After a few minutes... and close to tears - she looked at me and said
"No daddy - I don't want them to bring me presents. I want them to bring formula for the babies in Africa."
And that's when it hit me how hard doing the right thing is sometimes. Meron had just sacrificed gifts. Things she really, really wanted. The world competes for our flesh so hard and I had just watched it in real time.

We huddled up and prayed - cuz tough tough sacrificial decisions deserve prayer - and sweet Meron prayed this:
"God - thank you for the people coming to my party to bring formula for the babies. And God... not all families do this kind of stuff. But we do. In Jesus name. Amen."

Doing the right thing often goes directly against what we desire. If giving something up was what we wanted to do - then giving it up wouldn't hurt. And it wouldn't be a sacrifice. One of the dictionary definitions for sacrifice is "the surrendering of something for the sake of something else."

And that's what our girl had just done. This stayed with me for the next day - how big a deal it actually was - this decision of hers. So I talked to Laura about it and we decided it was worth it for Meron to see the repercussions of decisions. See - we're so quick to jump on learning opportunities when the negative is focused on. But this deserved something bigger...

That next night I called Meron in to her room and said I had to talk to her about something. I told her I wanted to talk to her about decisions and how there is always an outcome from the choices we make. I am pretty sure she thought she was in trouble for something.

I popped her sweet little 4.9 year old self up on her bed and looked her right in the eye and said:
"Meron - that choice you made the other night - to give up presents for formula instead - that was a huge sacrifice. And I want you to know that sometimes in life - God asks us to do these things and He wants us to be faithful. God has offered us eternity with Him in heaven and that is the ultimate reward. But oftentimes, He rewards us here on earth too."
She looked at me like I was speaking jibberish.

That's when I told her how much her decision revealed about her heart to me - and that her sacrifice and tough decision was the reason that on the saturday after her birthday I was taking her to Toys R Us with $100 and she could get whatever she wanted. I reassured her that sometimes - not always but sometimes - decisions that seem so so hard on the surface - are really the right decisions and they can come with a reward.

She realized now she wasn't in trouble. And in one of the biggest and sweetest big-girl moments to date, she slid off the bed, wrapped her arms around my neck and said:
"Thank you Daddy. Thank you so much..."

No... thank YOU Meron. For yet another lesson taught to your old daddy through God in you...

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