Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thanks for Giving

A friend and I have been recording what we are thankful for in thankful journals for a few months now.  I haven't been extremely faithful in doing it, but I have noticed that I am more aware and thankful for small blessings than I used to be.

After a kind of rotten end to the week last week for us, realizing that our plan wasn't coming to fruition, I can not adequately describe how cared for we feel.  And the neat part is - I am thankful for the people that are doing this - but like never before I feel as though it is the Holy Spirit leading these people - God directly - Himself - wanting to bless us.

Saturday I reached out.  I enlisted a few close friends to pray.  I posted on facebook asking if anyone knew of any jobs in the area.  I also posted on our church's private women's facebook group - asking for prayer.  (I wrote down today in my journal that I am thankful for the ability to reach out and ask for prayer.)  I began getting encouraging texts and emails.  I also started getting job leads from people all over - people I didn't even know were taking the time to let me know of jobs they have seen open and that they are praying for our family.  This is such a display of community in our church.  I love it.

Sunday was an awesome time of worship, communion, and instating new elders at church.  God had tailored the sermon to be words straight to Jeff and I and our life right now.  We also enjoyed hosting our LifeGroup and two pastors for dinner and discussion at our home Sunday.  We enjoyed this so much and loved building into these relationships even more.

Monday God just took over and made Himself known to me.  Before I could even start my day, I got a call from my bestie in Indiana checking on me, followed by my dad for the same reason.  I got an email from another lady from our church telling me that when they picked up and moved to Charlotte following God's prompting - things didn't go the way they thought they would she's been there and has experienced the uncertainty and hurt that that caused...but know looking back how it has all worked together for good.  I continued getting messages and texts throughout the day checking on me and suggesting jobs.  Then, He moved in a way I will never forget.

I made my daily walk out to the mailbox that late afternoon as we were preparing for Evan's game.  There was a small envelope "Jeff & Amy" at the bottom of the pile of adds and junk mail.  An invitation, a thank you note, a note of encouragement?  What was it?  Don't you love getting cards?
I tore it open as I walked to the house, stopping in my tracks and overcome with emotion.

Amy & Jeff,
Please accept this gift as we understand you may need new brakes or your furnace fixed.  It is our pleasure to help our brothers and sisters in Christ out.  Know that you have friends praying for you!
In His love,
A cashier's check made out to us was enclosed - with plenty of money to get our brakes replaced.  (We think the furnace glitch is worked out - thank goodness!)  The front of the card saying "With God, everything is possible.  Matthew 19:26"  Wow...

That night, Jeff and I in disbelief asked 'why?' - so many other's need this.  Do we?  The fact is though - God put it on someone's heart to do this.  And we are beyond thankful.  We have come to the conclusion that it was not about the gift of money for us (don't get me wrong - it is a HUGE help and one less burden for us to worry about right now) was the gift of encouragement and love and hope.  We both, of course, were trying to figure out who this might have come from.  After an hour though, I decided I do not want to know.  The fact that it was completely anonymous makes me feel as though it was personally hand-delivered to us from God.  A 'keep your chin up' message.  An 'I will take care of you and provide' message.  An 'I have not forgotten about you' message.  And it has done several things in my way of thinking.

I am choosing to look at the good in people again.  Unfortunately there are times when you just don't agree with or want to be around some of your friends.  I think I've become a little cynical lately, questioning motives and hearts...  I don't know who gave us this, but man, we have a pretty awesome group of friends here, huh?  I will look at each one of them as the one who did this for us - each one is someone caring enough to have done so.

My attitude about giving has changed drastically.  The blessing, love, encouragement, and provision we have felt from this small act - I want others to feel this way too!  As soon as we can, I want to be able to do things like this with our money.

You do not have to receive a large monetary gift to feel loved though.  I got the hugest smile and warm feeling when we were 'booed' this October.  We'd never been a part of the Southern tradition of being 'booed' - ringing the doorbell and running, leaving behind a bag full of fall goodies and asking that you do the same for others.

The women at our church are on our second round of Secret Sisters.  It has been an encouragement each weekend to receive a card and/or goodie.   Just to know that someone is thinking about you is so special.

God didn't stop at that on Monday.  We rushed out the door to Evan's ball game.  Me, having a not great mom moment, only threw hoodies on me and Em and grabbed a blanket.  A few minutes before the game, sitting on the metal bleachers, I was wondering what in the world I had been thinking.  Can you say - COLD?  My friend Mary Kay, whom I've not seen at the ball field but a few times this season, walked up and asked me, "WHERE is your coat??  I have an extra down coat in my truck - let me go get it for you."  I assured her, don't worry about it, I'm fine.  She insisted, walking back to the parking lot...for keep me comfortable...and warm.  I hugged her.  This small act of kindness and love made me feel so taken care of.

Our LifeGroups Pastor, Kevin, said on Sunday evening - the Christian life can not be about us.  He told us how he scans the crowd on Sunday mornings looking for those who look uncomfortable or out of their element - newbies.  He then goes to them, offering a warm smile and a welcome.  He encouraged us to do the same.  I never even thought about it...  Wow...  Thankful God is teaching me about 'giving' during the thanksgiving season.

What can you do for others?  What can you give?

Thanks for giving!  You are God's hands and feet when you do!

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