Carefully she counted the stitches, pulling the soft cotton yarn in and out of the loops with her steel hook. She smiled and held up her project to see how it was looking. This would be the other hand and arm for the doll she was making. She couldn’t wait to see how the doll would look when it was finished!
At twenty-three, many people wondered that Lea would spend so much time on such an “oldies” hobby. But Lea recognized it not only as a hobby and a special craft, but also as a patience builder and a way to bless others.
The warm smiles and incredulous comments “you made this?!” to the many blankets, ponchos, and other things she made were very rewarding. Homemade gifts were fast fading, and Lea realized the gratefulness that showed when she gave her gifts were not only for the gift, but for the hours of love she put into them. Yes, she was young for such an old craft, but she was old enough to realize the value of it.
Meticulously she sewed the limbs to the body of the doll, “firm and fast” she reminded herself with a grin. This doll would have to stand up to a lot of wear. There was a lot of love and care going into this particular gift!
Lea’s baby sister, little fifteen-month-old Faith, was to be the recipient of this gift. Faith had a very special place in Lea’s heart, and she wanted to give her the best gift this Christmas. She thought long and hard about what she was going to give, and when she came across a doll pattern she realized that was it! Faith LOVED dolls, and she didn’t really have any of her own yet. Yes, a doll would be the perfect gift.
Hours of hard work and love went into this doll. First the doll was completed, then the clothes. It was a beautiful doll. Lea almost wanted to keep it herself! She had never made a doll before, and she loved to hold the precious little thing in her hands. But no, she knew that the look on Faith’s face would make all that work well worth giving it away. She imagined the love Faith would have for that doll, and could see her little sister tottering around with her doll dragging behind, held fast in that chubby little hand. Eagerly, she anticipated the day that she could see the doll in Faith’s arms.
Two weeks before Christmas, Lea was in her room cleaning out her desk. She had left the door open, and little Faith toddled in.
“Hello Pumpkin!” Lea used Faith’s pet name, but didn’t turn around to see what she was doing. Suddenly she heard Faith exclaim,
Lea whirled around, and Faith was looking at the doll, accidentally left out by another sister. Faith’s eyes were as round as silver dollars, as she looked in awe at the doll.
“Oh Faith!” Lea swept up the little figure, and took her from the room. Faith looked up into Lea’s face with begging eyes.
“Baby, p’ease? Baby, p’ease?”
Lea’s heart jumped, she couldn’t wait to give her the doll, but Faith must wait until Christmas.
“No Faith, you want to read a book?” She asked, successfully distracting her.
Christmas came, and Lea’s greatest anticipation was giving Faith her doll. She couldn’t wait!
Faith opened her gifts first, and Mom reserved the doll for last. Faith pulled out candy canes (her favorite candy), a baby book, a little cloth doll, and some other things.
She was fascinated by the candy and the baby book. She didn’t want to put the book down, and Mom had to take the book away in order for her to focus on unwrapping the doll. Lea sat forward in her seat.
Faith pulled off the tissue paper, and looked at the doll.
“Look Faith, a baby!” Mom encouraged her.
Faith picked it up, looked at it, then looked around.
“Book? Book?” she asked, and as the doll dropped to the floor, Lea felt her heart drop with it. All those hours, she was so sure it would be the favorite gift!
Her sister Dawn looked at her.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know she would like the book better.”
“That’s okay.” Lea told her, struggling with her tears.
Over the next couple days, different siblings tried to get Faith interested in the pretty doll, but she always left if for her new baby that talked, or her books, or something else. Lea felt hurt and disappointed. She loved Faith so much, and worked so hard to give her something she would love!
This reminds me of what is it like for God with us. Think of the many, many things God gives us, life, friends, family, even simple things such as a beautiful day, or a perfect flower in bloom. The list is endless. God has given us so much, and has put so much love and thought into each and everything He gives us. Many times only to have it dropped or not recognized for the true beauty and symbol of love it is.
Just as Faith didn’t see all the love and work the doll represented, we often neglect to stop and think about all the love and individual interest represented in each blessing the Lord gives us.
The special aspect of this is that though we may not recognize all the gifts God gives us, He still loves us. Isn’t unconditional love a wonderful thing?
I think a good challenge for all of us in this next year is to try to see and recognize just how much God has and is giving us. Let’s begin to truly appreciate and thank God for His many gifts.
Yes, Lea was disappointed, but Faith still would toddle up her, say her name in that sweet baby voice, and reach up for her favorite big sister. As Lea cuddled and kissed the precious little one, she realized that yes, she spent a lot of time and love on Faith’s gift, and Faith rejected it, but she still loved her. Very much.