i want to share a little story.
weeks ago i received an email from a sweet hearted lady who i'll call Jane.
Jane had read about emi's peru trip and wanted to send her "a little something".
i'm fairly certain this was the first conversation between us.
we talked about names, the significance of hers
& the significance of emi's middle name
and a few other things.
and a few other things.
a few weeks later, emily received a large box
of many personal, thoughtful items.
she was blown away.
it was extravagant.
the next morning she walked into my room with an absolutely stunned expression.
while re-reading the very personal note sent from Jane
something had fallen out of the envelope
that she had not seen the day before.
a generous contribution to her fund raising efforts.
honestly, it was an emotional moment for both us.
i facebook messaged our sweet friend Jane
& asked for her phone number.
emi called & with tears in her eyes, thanked her for a gift
she could never repay
a gift she did not feel worthy of
a gift from someone who seemed very humble about the gift itself.
well, sweet Jane emailed a few days later & told me she wanted to send the other girls
"a little something".
she asked sweet questions.
every few days over the next few weeks
a large package would arrive for one of the girls.
it was as if Jane had spent much time with each of them
& knew exactly about them.
& of course, their middle name.
as their mom, i couldn't have picked out more perfect items for them myself.
i won't go through the response of each
but i will share about savannah's.
i was down stairs when i heard a shaky "mom......."
"mom, please come here...."
i walked in to savannah's room
where she sat, tears in her eyes
she told me she was overwhelmed.
overwhelmed at the extravagance & the thoughtfulness
by someone she'd never met.
she tried to verbalize her feelings.
she was more filled with humility
than she was backflipping over the gifts.
each & every item, something that she loved.
she was speechless.
so was i.
but only for a moment (wink)
we were sitting right in front of a teachable moment.
a kairos moment if you will.
i began to share with my 18 year old about a time in my life when i had the same emotions.
gregg had just passed away.
i had my hands full with a nursing newborn, a toddler and a 3 year old.
i felt vulnerable, afraid, and alone.
i had friends who during that time
would bless me in extravagant personal ways.
whether in tangible gifts, warm cookies, or acts of service.
ways that i would never be able to repay.
i told her about two families in particular
the Lewis's and the Bufton's
and the love they lavishly poured out on savannah and her sissies.
how weeks after loosing a hubby and a father
my entire family was invited to spend Thanksgiving around their table.
how the girls would spend the night at one of their homes
& come back home in new jammies
with a new stuffed Nala and Simba.
the list goes on.
i explained to savannah that i honestly feel like there are times in our lives
when the Lord loves on us through the hands and feet
& cookies baked by
& gifts sent by
some one else.
an extravagant reminder that He sees us
not only when we are vulnerable, afraid and alone
but also when we are excited and giddy
just prior to going on a mission trip
or heading off to college.
i encouraged her to tuck that feeling that she had
deep in her heart
& never forget how she felt at that moment.
in this day and age
especially around the teenage years
it's not uncommon to see an attitude of entitlement.
two of the characteristics dan & i have tried to teach our girls
is that of having a heart of gratitude
and that of being a good steward with the blessings
and gifts they have been given.
whether it be simple or extravagant.
we've encouraged them to journal.
hand write thank you notes.
we've had thanksgiving journals on our kitchen table.
we've played the tell me the high & lows of your day.
all in an effort train them to have a heart of gratitude.
i know for me personally
the times i was given something
something i could not have bought
something i surely didn't deserve
those were the very things
i took the most care of
the things i was grateful for.
the irony of the timing of the two previous posts was not missed by me.
one about a child who chose to give up half her summer
who bravely did something i don't know if i could do myself
followed by the story of a new car.
& one receiving.
while there are moments like this everyday
maybe not as grand as a car or a trip to south america
but kairos moments.
the ebb and flow of giving and receiving.
i want my girls to be a Jane to someone one day.
i want them to be a Lewis
or a Bufton
and love on someone
who doesn't expect it
who maybe doesn't even feel as if they deserve it.
i want them to be keenly aware of being available
whether it's spiritually or financially
to someone else who is vulnerable , afraid & alone
or maybe someone who is in a happy blessed time in their life.
whether it be simple or extravagant
a plate of cookies
or a ginormous check
but to be always on the lookout for an opportunity
to love on
from a cheerful heart
just like they were loved on
once upon a time.
to my "Jane"
i want to thank you.
thank you not only for the abundance in which you loved on my girls
but thank you for showing them
what the extravagant heart of cheerful giver looks like.
to the buftons and the lewis's
and those who i did not name today
i have tucked your gifts or your words
and the memories of how you have loved me and mine
deep in my heart
& i am forever changed.
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly,
and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give,
not reluctantly or under compulsion,
for God loves a cheerful giver.
And God is able to bless you abundantly,
so that in all things at all times, having all that you need,
you will abound in every good work. As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”
their righteousness endures forever.”
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food
will also supply and increase your store of seed and
will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.
You will be enriched in every way
so that you can be generous on every occasion,
and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
2 Corinthians 9. 6-11