living generously

[Sorry for the radio-silence on Monday. Major internet-angst here. I am constantly- and I mean this whole heartedly- flabbergasted at how invisible things like air cards and wi-fi(s) and broadband(s) can cause so much trouble and heartache and time-suckage. Flabbergasted.]

Lost somewhere between blaring alarms and bloody gums, there was a beautiful story of faith last Monday.

It started, remember, when we decided to give a friend our used high chair.

And it continued when we decided to buy them a new high chair.

And it peaked when we bought them the best high chair available.

Not because they needed it or because they would name their dog after us, or even because we see these folks all the time… we don’t. Option A was all that was asked for and all that was needed, truly.

But the JOY on my child’s face when she got to PICK the prize. “Which one, Rylie?” If there had been a purple one, that would have been her choice. Perhaps she liked the baby on the box, I don’t know. But I gave her the choice and I followed through and I was rewarded…

once with her thrill of giving

and twice when the clerk announced it was radically on sale

and three times when the family was shocked to get something different

and infinitely when my oldest was literally bouncing off her seat on the way home, re-living the whole experience.

I want to live generously

And I don’t mean giving the most expensive or the loudest or the most often.

I mean giving, generously, and feeding the joy that comes from surprise and spontaneity. Listening and watching for needs around me. Giving time, giving money, giving kindness.

I mean I want my children to be disciples, not donors.

I mean I don’t want to always look for the tax credit or file receipts… though those things are holy and responsible and often available. But, sometimes, it’s just about giving- no expectation, no explanation.

A couple months ago, Curt and I were blessed to be invited to a small retreat in Lake City with friends and mentors. The purpose, simply, was to talk about money. What did we think about money? What did we do with our money? How did we grow up thinking about money? How do we want our kids to grow up thinking money?

I thought it was about boosting the 10%, you know? I thought it was sitting down, looking at finances, and figuring out the budget again. I though it was numbers and straight faces and making it hurt… because giving should hurt a little. It should be uncomfortable. If it’s not uncomfortable then we probably aren’t giving enough.

Eh?

It’s what we think, right? It’s the measure of Doing It Right these days.

I don’t like it.

They don’t, either.

There was no sales pitch, no forms, no requests to increase our tithe. It was simply a retreat for us, as parents and friends and adults, to examine the role money plays in our life and to see if there was any room for improvement. For bring joy back into giving. For  modeling a healthy and easy attitude towards the dollars that pass through these hands.

I spent a very short 24 hours listening to stories about moms who didn’t want help and parents who were paralyzed by faulty charities and men who wanted to learn how to down-size… they wanted to learn how to not up-size. Smart, right?

Lots of learning for me. So much learning. Lots of tears, from everybody. It was lovely.

And, more importantly, it has changed the way we live with and think about money.

It is not about the hurt, it is about the joy.

May it bring me nearer to the cross.

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About texasnorth

TexasNorth is a little farm in Western Michigan. It's home to 5 chickens, 25 longhorn cattle, a coonhound (Banjo), 1 barn cat, a husband, and 3 ridiculously funny children. The mom of this zoo has been known to mow the lawn in a skirt and roast marshmallows after dark. View all posts by texasnorth

3 responses to “living generously

  • Susannah

    this sounds like an amazing opportunity. it’s a hard one for me/for our family. one we have to keep thinking about and working on. because giving freely is constantly being challenged by this culture we’re both blessed and cursed to be a part of.

  • Penny

    In this digital day and age it is easy to become separated from the joy of giving! Your post makes me want to brainstorm tangible ways to teach my children to give.

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