My Mum has a vivid imagination and a gift for putting spiritual truths into stories. Years ago she told me one that has stayed in my mind ever since, so here is my retelling of it!
Imagine a little girl and her Father. The child has a small doll which is her most treasured possession. Her Father gave it to her as a gift when she was just a little toddler, and she has loved it and carried it everywhere ever since. Inevitably the doll no longer looks as she once did, her curls have flattened, her skin has grown dull, and her flowered dress is crumpled and faded. Yet the little girl ‘s affection is undiminished.
One day, as the child and her Father walk to school, hand in hand, the little doll clutched tightly in the crook of her arm, they notice a toy shop. As the little girl looks with wide eyes at the array of shining toys, her Father smiles, his little girl is growing up. He wants to buy her a new doll, a grown up doll to suit his growing daughter. “You’ll have to give up your old doll first” he says.
“No I cant!” the little girl wails, “I love my little doll too much, I know she’s old and I can’t really play with her anymore, but I just can’t let her go!”
She gazes wistfully at the sparkling promise of the toy shop window, but still she clutches her little doll.
Her Father puts his arms around her and says “Have I changed little one? Do I love you any less than I did the day I bought you this doll?
I made sure that she was perfect for you, just right for your age, wearing a yellow dress – your favourite colour. Will you not trust me to take away what is old and worn, and replace it with something new and better in its place? I love you and I will always give you good things, but you cannot fully enjoy a new thing unless you trust me, and surrender the old one!”
My Mum first told me this story as I struggled to leave behind a job that God had blessed me with. It had fit me perfectly; I had grown to know it well and clung to it as my security, my blessing from God. I couldn’t bear to give it up, even though I had began to sense that God was calling me to something new.
Like the little girl I wailed, “I cant give it up, how do I know that this new path will be better?”
Yet hadn’t God given it to me in the first place? It had been a wonderful blessing in its time and place. But If I am honest, I had begun trusting in the gift, and not its giver. I had to trust that my Father would again provide a good thing. To open my clenched hands and surrender to him the blessing he had given me to use for a time, ready to receive something new.
I thank God often for the wisdom he has given my Mother! I hope this story will encourage you – as it did me, to follow your heavenly Father with faith, allowing him to lead you to a new thing in his timing.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.