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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