It began as most typical days do, kids need breakfast, kids need clothes, dog needs to go potty. Funny how in the ordinary, thankfulness gets missed. I found myself thankful for the little things as I tried to sneak a few more minutes with my eyes closed this morning. I was thankful for the littlest one waking me, just to say, “I love you”, (even when she woke me up hours earlier with, “Mommy, I had an accident. I’m sorry.”) I was thankful for the other daughter who was excited for a simple swap – one tooth for $1.00 and a stick of gum (although I do hear the rate for lost teeth has gone up dramatically!) I was thankful for the furry one who tried to snuggle, even if for a brief moment.
As I had an opportunity to jog with my Jesus after taking our middle one to an added gymnastics practice, I found myself going over some details as to the celebrations over the next few days. This year, two of our children will be running a race with my husband and I tomorrow. They asked about this three months ago, and here we are! Also, they were digilent workers today as we created fruit turkeys, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie. Our son created name tents for each of the 23 family members that will arrive on Friday, and the little one created individual place mats for all the cousins. I’m so proud of their hearts, I love listening into their conversations, watching them work together, and I can’t imagine doing life any other way. With the addition of 2 kindergarten-class hamsters in the mix, life is full and fun.
And then, in the midst of it all, there’s my current struggle/lesson. Just the way it works for our family, I happen to be the “finance sorter”. I’m not extremely smart, I just pray about where to put what, when, and then I move on. As has been the lesson for many of us, no matter how we plan, things just happen. Things break and need to be replaced. Car payments that have not hit the books in awhile, need to hit the books again, just life. How I find myself responding to financial costs lately though, has been a “whoa-back” attitude. You know, that… hold-on-a-minute-this-makes-me-nervous approach to any thought of “extras”. My heart absolutely loves to give, no holds barred. I want to. I love to. My husband does to. Yet, the desire to be responsible has been holding me back. I had to pause a minute. In my holding back, am I telling the Lord that I can do a better job with our funds? Is this a trust issue? If I claim to know that he will provide for our needs, do I walk forward in peace, even when I have no way of knowing for sure?
Sure enough, my husband approached me with another opportunity to give just this morning. Pause. I want to. Should we? I made a choice. Somehow I uttered the words, “maybe this is an opportunity to trust God to provide.” And that was it. No expectations. Another opportunity to repeat what I had been choosing to say to myself the past few days. “I don’t know how. But I’m choosing to trust.” And then I move on. Why is this last point important to me? The old “me” would have rehashed, re-analyzing, regurgitating it over and over again, allowing it to consume my thoughts, and yet still not finding a solution, no peace.
Reminds me of a concept written about in Malachi 3,
10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.
You see, I immediately knew we were to give, again. I wasn’t going to think, I was just going to give. I returned from my run, and around the corner of our kitchen I hear, “No way”. My husband just read an email. He was chosen. We became the recipients of yet another way to give, and to receive as well. Friends at the Outlive Your Life Headquarters gave us a few options as to how to spend $500 towards a charity of our choice! As a result, the Conrad family are now the proud “givers” of 11 goats (even named) that will belong to a community of people in Uganda (which, by the way is the same country that two of our sponsored children reside in!) How about that! AND, not only that, but they blessed us with a monetary gift as well. That’s MY God! Feel free to click here for more information on Aaron’s site (he’s a much better writer than I am).
Lessons learned – God gives. What an honor to obey. I will “mark” His faithfulness in our lives and continue to build my faith.
What is God asking you to “give” this year? Time, money, an old habit, an old way, a bad attitude? God is a giver. Are we a receiver?