Wednesday, October 12, 2011

failing to give

i think one of , if not the biggest, regret in raising my girls
is that i failed to show them a lifestyle of giving.

a few months ago one of my daughters pointed that out to me.
& it's ok.
i clearly needed the conviction.
she wasn't being rude or disrespectful
& since we're in a good place in our relationship, it was easier to take.
but that statement has simmered in my heart ever since.

at first i wanted to share with her how many unseen times i wrote a check
or made a donation
but honestly, any extravagant giving i've been involved in was just as a sideliner of my most generous hubby's actions.

i've often thought that i'd be a giver
if i had "more".
an arbitrary amount this "more"
what a joke. but it's true.
it's all relative isn't it?
& would i?
would i really give more if i had more?

the bigger picture?
is that i failed to give and make generosity a lifestyle.

while i love to lavish my own girls with cards & gifts
having a guest room available for someone in need
going on a mission trip to love on orphans
giving my money to someone who needs it more
those are the things i want to do.
i want to be generous.
i do.
i failed at showing my children that principle while they were young
but i want to change.

scripture calls us to give
especially to the widows and the orphans.
it's not a suggestion
it's a command.
whenever i ponder that principle i can't help but think of the friends and families,
some of which i don't even know the names or the specifics,
who helped me when i was widowed.

despite my failure
i've recently seen my girls give.
caroline has a generous spirit.
whenever she has cash, she loves to give it.
the picture above was taken on our way out the door to Passion City Church
(side note. if you are anywhere near atlanta, or south of the mason dixon line
i strongly encourage you to come visit there. seriously!)
she completely emptied her wallet & was taking that as her offering.
i tell you this because that convicted my heart.
i've never ever given everything i have. never.
& let me tell you,
i know the Lord rejoiced over her $7
as much as He rejoiced over the big huge check of the CEO or wealthy man that night.

there's so many details & stories woven in this particular post
that i hope to share soon.
tomorrow i'll introduce you to a friend of mine.
she wants to equip moms 
to teach their children godly principles about finances.
that's where the little jar caroline is holding comes in to play.

this morning i read a passage in mark.
it's not about me...i'm not comparing myself to the widow in this passage,
but what it encourages me
is that the Lord sees our hearts.
He loves when we give out of a cheerful heart ( 2cor9.7)
but He knows when that giving comes from a place of sacrifice
& He honors that too.
so whether living in abundance (which if we are holding a lap top or an iphone or an ipad
we are living abundantly. let's face it)
or living in a place where we feel our small donation isn't "enough"
or big enough to move mountains
He can
& He will
& He sees.

 Jesus sat down near the collection box in the Temple and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. 
Then a poor widow came and dropped in two small coins.
  Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has given more than all the others who are making contributions.  For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she had to live on.
mark 12.41~44 

&ps. jamie. YOU and your generous spirit inspire me to be a giver. i love you. xo. 


Stuff and Nonsense said...

thoughtful post

my husband and i
have recently been truly convicted
by the james passage you mentioned

that true faith
is caring for widows and orphans

which made us look in the mirror
and ask
is our faith true?

which is leading us down the
sometimes fearful path of obedience
in something that will change our family

thank you for these words of
conviction and encouragement.


Love Being A Nonny said...

oh paige, can we EVER give enough? not sure we did a good job of that either. but, i too am convicted of that and am now trying to be a better example. it's never too late. thank you for sharing your is precious.

Jan said...

The Lord will lead you to give the right amount. Look to Him for leadership, not yourself or others.

Ashley said...

So true Paige. It's funny that you write about this. Our sermon at church a couple of weeks ago was on giving. It's one that's been in the forefront of mind ever since. I think as Americans it's been ingrained in our heads to "work hard" so we can have more, but what we forget is that if we are blessed with more, we should give more. After all it is a blessing from him; his money, not our money. We should not use it to lavish upon ourselves or stock pile but should use it as he intended, to bless others. It's definitely a struggle for me and something I'm working on in my own life.

traci said...

beautifully said. i too feel i missed the mark on teaching that to my children. but it is not too late to start. xo!!

Deborah said...

Your post, as is often the case, a mirror of what's been on my mind this past year. I too missed the mark on showing how to be a true giver and having a servant's heart. I'm striving to set a better example now.

Thanks for the encouraging words that it's never too late.

Jennifer said...

Did you write this just for me?!?! I feel like I'm playing catch up for teaching my boys this but going to try my hardest to instill in my daughter. I am looking forward to the post tomorrow and learning ways!

Kelli said...

This touched me! I know that God was absolutely rejoicing over Caroline's $7...what a sweet heart she has. I love learning lessons from my children because they are not clouded by worldly things as much as we are. This is a great lesson to take away from this post today. Thank you.

Between You and Me said...

He wants us to give everything...
not just our 10%...not just the offering above our tithe...he wants EVERYTHING.

...our time...our talents....our gifts....our children...our marriages...our friendships...our homes....our wallets....

love your Caroline's heart for giving...praying it continues to increase in all of us....

Anonymous said...

That's good. My friend was telling me about her niece and husband who take several trips a year and then send out the annual Christmas letter telling about what they have done and where they traveled. My friend and her daughters called it their annual "brag" letter. I said, "I would never waste my money like that I would give it to the cause of Christ." Well, as soon as it came out of my mouth God convicted me that despite how much money I have, if I am not giving a little (above and beyond tithing) I am certainly not going to give a lot. Ouch! So true though. It's in the sacrificial giving that the blessings come. sadly, I am not there yet. I suspect most of "the church" isn't either. How we live speaks volumes or should I "I" live. Thanks for sharing Paige. :)

Kim said...

Being a Western Hemisphere dweller immediately sets us at a disadvantage to be givers. Living here it is far easier to be a receiver and consumer than a giver. I grew up in a family where generosity was certainly not the order of the day. Fortunately I married in to a family that sees giving as a priority.

A few years ago my man and I took Dave Ramesy's Financial Peace' course and through that we have learned how to really set aside money for the sole purpose of giving. We have used his 'junior' course to teach our kids the importance of saving, giving, etc. Last week our 13 year old brought $120.00 for the offering plate that he had set aside from his lawn mowing money - I was blown away. Not with how we parented him, but how he had developed that discipline and adhered to it.

I highly recommend Dave's wisdom. And remember, it really isn't too late to set the example for your kids. I didn't even have this example lived out for myself until my 30's!! :0)

is it too early for a mimosa? said...

We're givers.
Big time.
As a matter of fact...i just donated my old sunglasses to someone in need.
It felt so good.
Oh....and i took my kids around the streets of freezing chicago last year and handed out dollar bills.....that for sure gave me a gold star....but i definitely need to show my kids more.

Anonymous said...

praise the Lord! it's never too late to start. thanks for sharing!

Douglasfam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rebel said...

I love this post... and the timing....

Isn't it interesting how our kids can teach us about ourselves in ways they don't even understand? I love to give... but fail often times.

I am planning a garage sale at the moment - pretty huge one in fact - my family just retired after a thirty year military career.

In my mind, I was "counting my chickens"... planning what I was going to add with all that I was subtracting... spending the money that I was sure to take in.

My 7 year old, upon looking at the heaps of neatly folded clothes from my closet cleaning adventure yesterday - quietly asked about the many many piles of clothing. Wondering why each piece was being "discarded" - when - and she is so right - they are such "pretty" clothes. Shortly thereafter she came to me with such excitement and what she declared as her "best plan ever"... to have a "free garage sale" where anyone that has no money for beautiful and warm clothes could come and take the ones that they need and that we don't want anymore.
The kids that come could also pick out a toy or two from the toys that we don't need anymore.

How is it that I am the "old" one, but my child is the "wise" one?

Lulu and Co. said...

Great's something I need to be better at teaching my children. We've taught them to save..but need to be better about giving.
This is such an important message!!! Thank YOU,

Rachel said...

Mrs. Paige I know I never comment but Savannah tells me I should and I simply can not resist this one! Savannah and I are about to go to the Passion College Tour within an hour with our small group girls. This wonderful post has me even more excited and ready because giving is what Passion is all about. These past two months in college I have been completely rocked by peoples selfless giving and feel more blessed then I ever could. If I can do one thing in my life I hope to give this same feeling to someone else!
Sweet Caroline's offering warms my heart. Thankyou for all these posts, reading your blog has been a much more productive way to delay studying then facebook. :)

Susan R said...

The minute I started reading this, I immediately thought of the story about the "widow's mite"and how she gave more because she gave all that she had and those who were wealthy gave what they considered to be generous. I'm not as faithfull as the widow, but I would like to be.

Kat said...

Wow. What a valuable lesson that I need to learn and teach my girls as well. Love this post, Paige. As always, thank you for your transparency, thoughtful words and encouragement to make a difference.

I do want you to know, that you have given many gifts through your beautiful posts. You've given courage, strength and encouragement, wisdom and understanding. Love you, sweet Paige. So many times I have read your posts and they have been EXACTLY what I needed to hear.

Carol said...

my guess is that you are being hard on are always giving of yourself to your daughters and their friends and you give of your entire family to your readers...i imagine that over the years you have driven other kids to cheer, dance, school, etc...i think taxi driver counts as giving.

my adult daughter sent me flowers not long ago and wrote a beautiful card saying that as she was turning 30 she realized that she wanted to be the person i was...but we also talked about the fact that i sometimes give to others at the expense of seems like you have a balance and what you have given your daughters is also given to our country...i teach middle school students whose parents literally don't even know what grade their kids are in...i coach 6th grade volleyball (for free) and i have to borrow the head coach's expedition to drive 6 out of 9 of my players to our games because only 3 parents come to our games.

you have given to the world by raising 4 amazing girls who ALL give back...they obviously learned it somewhere.

Lemonade Makin' Mama said...

Beautiful sweet spirit Paige. Thank you for encouraging us to do likewise.