Naming God’s Gifts

We have a black cat that we have never named. That is a strange phenomena in a household that names strange things like knives and computers and blankets.

I thought of that black cat today when I read a quote from C. S. Lewis:

Now, in the Bible a name . . . reveals the very essence of a thing, or rather its essence as God’s gift. To name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it, to know it as coming from God and to know its place and function within the cosmos created by God. To name a thing, in other words, is to bless God for it and in it.

Poor kitty. He wasn’t supposed to stay at our house. His siblings were claimed by family and friends, and he, one single kitty, didn’t attract much interest on Craigslist. No one called. So he has stayed.

But we hadn’t invited him. We didn’t really want a new kitty, especially one who is determined to live in the house, sit on our computers, hang from the curtain rods, and systematically shred all the furniture. We haven’t exactly viewed him as “God’s gift,” so we’ve never given him a name.

Thanks to a generous book-loving friend, I’ve finally been reading  One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp (more on this in a later post, when I’ve finished the book, at least when I’ve finished what I’m sure will be the first of many readings). As I read, I’m starting to give names to God’s gifts in my life, recording in a journal what I’m quickly discovering is a continual bombardment of grace in my life. I’m finding that the mere naming of “warm cup in cold hands,” “the smell of bacon cooking,” “a lazy Saturday morning,” helps me see God’s gracious gifts and give thanks.

I find myself struggling to see the gift in some areas of life. I haven’t invited these tests into my life. I don’t want to name them, just like we haven’t wanted to name the black cat. I don’t want to acknowledge them as God’s gifts. But when I choose to name them by writing them down, when I choose to look for the blessing in them, I am learning to embrace them as the gifts they truly are from my loving Heavenly Father. And I’m learning to thank Him for them.

Time to name the black cat . . .

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  1. Good idea! We can never be too thankful…

    We had a cat we named “Cat”. She was precious to us in the end, but we took her for granted most of her life. How about Blessing or Gift?

  2. Might I suggest naming the cat “Gift”? That way every time you see him/her in the house (a gift), sitting on the computer (a gift), hanging from the curtain rods (a gift) or shredding the furniture (a gift), you’ll be reminded of this valuable lesson—which itself is a gift. Thanks for sharing it!

  3. I agree with Collin although changing the language may be more creative. Like naming the cat Regalo, which means gift in Spanish.
    Thanks for this post. It’s a great reminded that every good and perfect gift is from above, even when we don’t see it as a gift.;)

  4. He looks like a Lewis to me 🙂

  5. Wow, our family received the same gift you did – looking at your photo is like looking at our own kitty. On October 1st a little black female cat showed up while we were out back getting ready to light our chimena. She was so skinny that I could feel every bone in her body. The vet said she was between 6-12 months old and we figured someone had abandoned her. God knew I was not about to turn away a little black cat that close to Halloween, when she was at risk of being treated cruelly as part of some sick prank.

    We weren’t looking for her, but she found us and we are so glad she did because she is smart, sweet and fun. We named our gift Fiona, which means shining light, pure. I know God will give you the perfect name for your gift as well. 🙂

  6. wow, I’m seeing this book everywhere – how awesome! I’m in my second reading of it – life changing! 🙂

  7. Yes. I’m sure it’s going to make my list of life-changing books. I’m looking forward to writing a review on it when I’m done.

  8. Wow, what a beautiful post. I really like the idea of naming blessings… “sweet toddler drinking bottle in my lap,” “little hands holding mine to dance,” “meals ready in the freezer”… it seems a great way to be more purposeful in thanking God.