By Robin Parton

FOR 20 WONDERFUL YEARS, I was privileged to be a stay-at-home momI went to work part-time to help our daughter through college and then to help pay for her weddingAt this writing my current job will end in a few days, and as I have contemplated the positives and negatives of being unemployed for the time being, God taught me a lesson.

I have enjoyed giving small gifts to our church ladies and realized that this practice will have to be put on hold for a whileAs I was thinking about what I could do for them, I reluctantly thought, “Well, I guess I’ll have to give them a gift of words.” Almost immediately God rebuked me, “Why would a gift of words be your last resort?”

I thought about all that God gives meI love it that He sends me deer when I need to know He cares or that He gives me a sunshine-above-the-clouds day here in the mountains after a night of heartacheWhen I was feeling a bit overwhelmed with my schedule, my lights hit our pine tree as I pulled out of our driveway, and I saw the most beautiful pine conesI had never noticed any in that tree before, and these were the nice round ones that I love so muchI knew that God had my husband park the van like he did so I would get to see one of my favorite creationsThat simple gift lifted my spirits as I headed out to be a blessing.

God has given me many wonderful gifts over the years, but none of them have meant as much as to me as the words He gives meI often get so excited at some gift He gives me, but it is His Word that sustains me when the excitement wears offMy heart can be so warmed by the ways He shows Himself to me, but it is His Word that keeps my heart warm or kindles the fire when I allow my heart to get cold.

Psalm 119:49 and 50 says, “Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.” That word quickened means “to sustain life, to be restored to life or health,” and that is exactly what God’s Word does for me.

I think God likes it when we give gifts to one another, but I think He likes it even more when we give words that restore and sustain lifeI know I have been given some very nice gifts through the years, but often the thoughtful words in a card bring me the most joy and challenge me to be a better person. I am ashamed that I looked at giving the gift of words as a last resortMay I never let a tangible gift be a substitute for the gift of words, and may I always remember that the gift of words may be the very best gift I could give!