An ordinary woman with an extraordinary story


Presence or Presents

November 20, 2019

Presence or presents? Which gift matters most?Two words have been on my mind lately: Presence and Presents.

Only 35 days left!

Of course, I’m thinking about Christmas. It’s time to buy presents. I always stress over finding just the right thing for each person. As nieces and nephews get older, I find it particularly difficult to come up with something creative. They don’t mind simply receiving money, of course, but that takes the fun out of it.

On the Webb side of the family, we have a tradition. My adult nieces and nephews delight in the simple gift of chocolate chip cookies. It reminds them of Grandma Webb (my mom), who made the best cookies in the country, of any kind.

It’s my honor to give these presents, because I miss her presence.

Christmas brings a longing in my heart. I love to celebrate with each of my families here on earth, but I can’t wait to be in the presence of God with my heavenly family. One by one we will each arrive for the greatest of family reunions – together in the presence of God.

Thinking about it gets me to daydreaming. Which isn’t such a bad thing. It gives my mind a break from all of the lists of things which need to be done. It’s been a fabulous year, but it’s been so busy I’ve hardly been able to keep up. I simply prepared for the next thing on the calendar. If I looked forward any further, I got overwhelmed.

But sometimes I had no choice. When the speaking calendar required me to be gone for four consecutive weeks and prepare for 3 retreats and 7 speaking events during that month, I had no idea how I could possibly do it. (You wondered why I’m blogging less? lol)

Two friends enjoying the gift of each other's presence.That’s when I started pondering presence.

Have you ever found yourself looking into the face of a friend and realizing that they are expecting an answer to a question you didn’t hear? Yeah, I sure have. Have you ever realized you are looking at someone and they are talking, but your head can’t stay present where you are because there’s so much on your mind? Yeah, me too.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap. I’m afraid I’ll forget things, so I rehearse them over and over in my mind. Or I’m struggling to figure out how to accomplish what’s left to be done before the next event or trip. Technology keeps me continually interrupted, so I can’t finish one thing before a beep commands my attention. We all know how frustrating it is to try to have a conversation with someone who keeps looking at their phone, and yet sometimes, I find that person to be me!

My prayer became, “Lord, help me be present where I am. I don’t want to miss what you are doing ‘here,’ because my mind is ‘there’.”

It made all the difference. My stress level reduced. I enjoyed the traveling, the adventure, and the individual people in front of me. I became more aware of God’s presence, and I saw His hand at work. He made sure I didn’t forget anything – or made a way when I did.

Oh, I’ll never stop daydreaming of the day I’ll enjoy the presence of God and my heavenly family, and I’ll probably always have a list of things to do. But for now, I’ll seek the presence of God on earth, and strive to keep my mind focused on the person in front of me.

This season disconnect from your list and your phone. Be present where you are. Everyone deserves your full attention. Maybe it’s the best gift we can give our families – all year long.

Not presents. Presence.


When you get to my age it sure is presence. We have really all we need and if we don’t we buy it. I truly like the presence of family and close friends. To have fun eating, sharing our dreams, playing games(not me but like hearing the other people play games) and laughing together. It is getting hard for me to fix and get everything ready for get together and I believe this will be our last year of hosting it. Time now for younger more able bodies to start new traditions…but also to remember old traditions that are so much apart of our lives.. I miss the presence of my mom and dad but know that soon I will be with them and most of all to be at the feet of God…What a joyous day that will be….That will be the greatest presence. but truly it is a present that God sent His Son to save each and everyone.

Such a good reminder of what I know, although I am easily distracted by other thoughts. Being present with our family has been especially precious as various health concerns remind us our day’s together here are numbered.
Wow, what a time you had to be gone so long! That was a lot of blessing people along your way. It was so good to have you here with us a few days. Yesterday Linda and I visited Chapters for a craft sale benefiting an overseas ministry.
Awhile ago someone brought it to my attention that we tend to be distracted as others serve us. At the fuel station, a restaurant or coffee drive through. To think about it, it feels good when someone takes the time to look me in the eyes to say hello. Now in those occasions it ends up blessing me when I speak with that person serving me, truly Interested in them and hearing a bit of their story.
Now to work on that with my family and workmates…….instead of thinking of my response.
Thank you for the reminders!
Sending hugs,

Your words remind me of my mom. She loved to listen in as we told stories, and watch us play. It always brought a gentle smile to her face as she quietly watched. It’s hard for us youngins when traditions change, but I understand your thoughts. I miss my momma too, and look forward to the day to be together again. But, oh my, how amazing to be at the feet of Jesus! Truly, the best present of all.

Mary Lou,
Thank you so much for your reminders. I think it will always take effort to make sure that i am present where I am. lol. Not thinking about the next things on the list, or the people I look forward to seeing next – but instead to be present in the moment, with whoever is in front of me – no matter where I am. It’s so easy to be distracted! But so worth it to be present.

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