Spending the holidays away from family and friends can be hard. It can be even harder when you are on the other side of the world. Last Christmas my team and I spent the month of December in Namibia, Africa. (more…)
The joy of giving! This is a loaded phrase that until the past year of my life I never understood. I used to hold on to my time, money, and self with a tight grip. I didn’t want to tithe because I made such little money at my part-time jobs that I felt I needed those few extra dollars to make it through till the next paycheck. I wasn’t willing to go out of my way to help someone else or do something I didn’t want to do. (more…)
What do we want most of all for our children? Do we want them to be successful and prosper? Do we want them to be happy?
Sure, we want all of these things for our children and their children. But we also want more than that for them.
I have been raising children for 26 years and I am so super blessed by the adults my kids have become. But I can honestly say it hasn’t always (more…)
Fall comes slowly here in the South, but that never stopped me from wanting happy little pansies to begin taking root as soon as September came around. There is something wonderful about cultivating the soil in anticipation of growing something beautiful. Except I don’t have a green thumb and my visions of gardening have always been overcome by my reality of forgetting to water and tend to the flowers I plant. Nevertheless, I had spent time planting my favorite colors in the flower bed just outside our front door one day while the boys were at school.
Evergreen Street was a kid-filled street and our house seemed to be in the middle of all of the activity. Bicycles, balls, and boys go together like peanut butter and jelly and we had both on overflow most days. I have always loved being a mom to three boys and my heart is as happy as the pansies I planted that day when I remember all the crazy moments spent sorting socks, shoes, and sand from their pockets.
One specific afternoon comes to mind when I think back to our days living at 119 Evergreen; it was warm, sunny and the yard was filled with the voices of laughter, talk, and noise of little boys. I was making dinner or something inside while listening through the open door to the boys play outside. The doorbell rang and rang and rang. I knew who it was. Our youngest loved to ring the doorbell to let me know he was “home” and I would have spoken to him for ringing the door for the hundredth time in an afternoon, except this time was different.
Looking out the glass door as I approached, I could tell something was different; he had that look in his eye and I knew he was up to something. He was holding something behind him. I hoped it was not some kind of critter from the woods out back. But as I approached and opened the door, his hand presented to me in the most elegant fashion a fistful of happy pansies! With a smile as big as the sky and sunshine flushing his chubby cheeks, he announced, “I picked you purdy flowers!” He was so pleased to give me a gift. “I know you like flowers, Mommy!” And I do! But in that moment, I loved him more!
It didn’t matter that the entire root system and ball of potting soil was still attached to his gift. He was absolutely delighted to give his gift! It didn’t matter that I had bought the flowers, they belonged to me, I had planted them where I wanted them; he had seen them and thought of me and wanted to delight me with a gift. His heart was in the gift and I received it, dirt and all, with love, delight, and joy.
He helped me trim off the roots and dirt and we filled a clear vase with water to display these little beauties for as long as they would last. Then he skipped off to play with his brothers and friends and my heart was tender before the Lord as I considered what giving means.
These little pansies that were given back to me that day are what I envision when I think of the joy of giving. When giving our gifts to God, He is delighted when we do so with a cheerful heart.
When we stop to notice something beautiful, to acknowledge that every good and perfect gift comes to us from God the Father, when we give back to Him what is already His and we do it with gladness, He takes great delight in us! Even when our gifts are messy and dirty or in need of work before being placed on display before others, He delights in our giving not because the gift itself is special, but because we are special to Him.
Let each one give [thoughtfully and with purpose]
just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly
or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver
[and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift].
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 AMP
When you consider giving to God a gift of praise, thanksgiving, your time, talent or tithe, how do you feel?
Do you feel excited, joyful, and blessed, or do you feel resentment?
Please feel free to share in the comments below. We want to hear your stories of giving and thankfulness!
Just released by DeAnna Morris:
Simply Life; Live in Faith Every Day
As we begin our new series with Ask God Today we will be focusing on “The Joy of Giving.”
How do we give without being hypocritical?
These are a few questions that I sometimes think about, wondering how we can give without feeling like (more…)