Gift Cards and Grace

My husband has a history of losing things–or at least not keeping track of them as diligently as I would like. On one of the most legendary occasions, he lost our checkbook and couldn’t find it for weeks. We scoured our house and when it didn’t turn up after a few weeks, we decided we’d better close our checking account. So we went to the bank and went through the rigmarole of closing the account and opening a new one, letting the checks clear, and starting over. About a week later, we went somewhere in the car he drove to work. Guess what? There was the checkbook, sitting on the dashboard right in front of him. He had been overlooking it for weeks.

Yeah, that went over well.

This may be the most legendary of my husband-losing-things stories, but it does not stand alone. Stories of what he has lost and forgotten are woven through our 20-year history as a married couple. Those 20 years have been quite happy, and he’s a fantastic husband. But when you need someone to keep track of something, remember something, or make sure it gets done, you might want to find someone else. For a more recent example, my mother-in-law sent $50 gift cards to our daughters so they could buy some back-to-school clothes. Guess who lost them? Yeah, that’s right. He threw away $100.

Anyway, with a history like that, can you blame me if I’m a little quick to get irritated when something goes missing? For example, as we were doing some Christmas shopping, we picked up some Starbucks gift cards for our kids’ teachers. A couple of days later, as we were checking our list and checking it twice, he realized he didn’t know where those gift cards went. He hadn’t seen them after we got home. Since my husband had bought the cards with the kids while I was playing sneaky Santa in the toy department, I had never seen the cards at all. Somehow he had lost them.

You can imagine my irritation at the prospect of replacing the cards–not a huge expense, but wasted money nevertheless. My husband, who of course felt pretty bad, searched the house and the cars to no avail. Great–gone. And just to make sure he really felt the remorse he should, I made sure he felt my irritation and heard my martyr-like sighs.

Now imagine my surprise the next day when I saw an email announcement at work, saying that the local community center really appreciated the toys our staff had donated, but they were wondering about the Starbucks gift cards and teacher appreciation cards that were included in the collection. Maybe they had accidentally tagged along with someone’s donation?

Yeah. A big pie in the face for me. I had brought the donated toys–which we had purchased at the same time as the gift cards–to work and put them in the pile without checking to see whether anything else was in the bag. Oops.

I’m thankful that my husband is a wonderfully forgiving man, and we had a good laugh. But I learned a thing or two anyway. Pride, indeed, “goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). And love “keeps no record of being wronged” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Two lessons I already knew but would have done well to remember.

How beautiful that God is not like me. For those who have embraced Christ’s atoning sacrifice on our behalf, he does not hold our sins against us. He doesn’t shake his head at our weaknesses and sigh in irritation when we fail–again. Instead, he offers us grace at his own sacrifice. He covers our sins with that grace and makes us his children. How undeserving I am–and how grateful to be called his child. Looking forward to the start of a fresh new year, my shortcomings and sins once again remind me of our tremendously forgiving God and the tremendous grace he gives freely to all who believe. Happy new life!


This blog post first appeared here on Today’s Christian Woman.

  1. Linda Rae says:

    A similar thing happened yesterday. My grown son lost his iPhone, which made me inwardly fume. Later I went shopping without a check. I realize that I had no reason to fume! God forgives and so should I. Later the iPhone was found. It was at the coffee shop.

  2. heather says:

    i love this story–it sounds soooo familiar….(just the other day i had to apologize to my daughter for blaming her for some missing paint markers…) –it really is all about grace. thanks for sharing 🙂

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