I’ve discovered that I’m not very good at surrendering the pearl necklace. Or, more accurately, I’ll surrender it, but the process is SO much more painful than I ever had any clue.
Let me explain.
Sometime growing up I heard the story of a father who gave his young daughter a pearl necklace. You know the kind – the pearls are just plastic beads and if you rub them too much the pearl paint wears off so it’s just a white plastic bead that doesn’t shine at all. The father’s daughter LOVED the necklace. She wore it everywhere. She didn’t even want to take it off at night, or to take a bath. And, of course, the pearl paint was wearing off. So the father decided to do something crazy – he went out and bought her a REAL pearl necklace. Now, what father gives their eight-year old a real pearl necklace is beyond me; I definitely do not know any fathers like that. But, that’s not important for the story. The point is that he got the necklace for her, and when he got home, he asked his daughter to come sit on the couch with him. She did with joy; she loved spending time with her daddy. But then the unthinkable happened. He asked her for the necklace back. She was heartbroken. She couldn’t imagine why her daddy would want the symbol of his love for her back. But he asked, and, eventually, with tears spilling from her eyes and her whole body trembling, she did as he wanted. I like to imagine she was so worked up that she couldn’t undo the clasp of the necklace, and so her daddy had to undo it. And, while her back was to him, he pulled the real pearls out of their velvet pouch in his pocket, and gave her a kiss on the top of her head as he clasped the precious necklace in place.
And the point, of course, is that sometimes God asks us for those things we love most, the very things He’s given us. And, whether or not we realize why He’s asking for it, we should surrender it back to Him. He has something better in store.
I’ve always loved that story of the necklace. I think partly that’s because I love pearls (They’re my favorite stone!), but mostly because I love the idea of a daddy loving his daughter so much that he bought her (and then trusted her with) something so precious. And she loved him so much she did whatever he asked.
But it hasn’t been until recently that I’ve realized why the daughter was so distressed about giving the pearls back to her daddy. Call me a late-bloomer, but it’s only been in the last couple years that I’ve become attached to my dreams. When I was a girl and through my early twenties, I never dreamed of my future – or I wasn’t aware I was dreaming. And then God started giving me dreams and desires for myself.
But, being the broken girl I was, I didn’t believe they would ever actually happen. And so I didn’t get very attached to them. I didn’t dare. It would’ve been too painful when they never happened.
Until this summer. I was in Portland, on a youth group mission trip, and I had it out with God one night. I was completely heartbroken about how I saw the trip going, and about how God never gave me any good stuff (which is ludicrous, God gives me amazing things all the time). But you know those verses that talk about God giving us our heart’s desires? (They’re all over Psalms and in the New Testament). Well, I never believed that God would do that for me. I figured my desires were probably sinful and so of course He wouldn’t give me them. And there were so many other people needing things in the world, why should He give me what was in my heart? But that night He reminded me how much I love giving gifts to my friends, and then He told me that as much as I love giving gifts, He, who is perfect, loves doing the same for me SO MUCH MORE than I could ever imagine. And would I trust Him to give me the desires He’s placed in my heart?
So I started trusting. And over the last four months a couple of the desires have grown crazy-intense. Painfully so. Like sometimes they’re all I can think about.
And now He’s asking for those dreams back. Asking that I trust Him with the timing and the setting and…everything. Which should be easy for me. I know the pearl story. But… but now that this crazy dream is so alive and consuming in me, it’s hard to trust that God’s taking care of it. I mean, I KNOW God’s taking care of it…but I want to control things just to make sure that my dream actually takes place.
Isn’t that how we’re raised in America anyway? If you want it to happen, you have to make it happen. And KNOWING that God is taking care of it is so very different than trusting, and even further from believing. AND, it’s so very painful. I’m rather attached to this dream at this point. I don’t want to give it up. I’d much rather be in control than sit back, do nothing and just trust. (Heh. “Just trust” – it’s like “just pray” – trusting and prayer deserve anything but the word “just” in front of them. They can be HARD!)
So, with my heart splitting in half, I’m taking off the pearl necklace. I’m trusting that what God told me in Portland is true, that He wants to give me good things. And that He will. And maybe you need to start trusting Him to do the same for you. He does, after all, love you better than anyone in this broken world can.
And so, Daddy God, I love You. Here You go. Take good care of this dream for me.
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!