I think I have learned the most about life, myself and God through this journey of being a mom to my four kids.
When my husband is away, I feel this pressure to not only survive but to figure out how to make it a special time for our kids. During one of these times, after my son Caleb showed me a hole in the bottom of his tennis shoes, I decided to give in and buy the kid some shoes.
Somehow word spread among my children that there is a Lego store near the Nike outlet, so everyone gathered their saved-up allowance. One (who shall remain nameless) came out with much more money than I knew he/she should have had, and it just happened to be the exact amount as a certain item he/she has had his/her eyes on.
I asked if some money from his/her “give” or “save” money had somehow made it in there.
Denial. Definitely guilty.
I sent the child back inside to reorganize and make it right.
That day we found shoes on sale for Caleb and everyone got a little Lego set (curse those cool little things that seem to invade our entire living space).
I was able to see the pure JOY of giving awakened within each of my kids.
That night I decided to clean out their banks and move their “save” money to their bank accounts and suggest some options for their “give” money, to make it less tempting to steal that money for their spending.
I asked them “why do we give? Does God need our money?”
We talked about how all we have belongs to God anyway, He knows our hearts and that we need to give. Otherwise it would be so easy for us to be selfish and ungrateful because that's what is naturally in our hearts.
I said they could give to church, or to several Cru students who have spent time with our family who are going on mission trips, and I asked for other ideas.
The kids got SO excited to grab their banks, count up their money and give all they had to a few students who have become so dear to them. We texted the students who all had awesome responses of gratitude, and I was able to see the pure JOY of giving awakened within each of my kids. That one who tried to spend the money at the Lego store was led to tears by the response of one of the students and I think began to catch onto how it is “more blessed to give than receive.”
Caleb gave me a big hug at bedtime and said, “Thanks for the best day!”
I said, “What? It wasn't anything special.”
But he was thanking me for the opportunity to give. And expressing gratitude for those cool new shoes that he normally would have taken for granted and felt entitled to.
Giving transformed my kids that night. And it does that to me.
It was so good for me to talk with my kids about how God really does know what's best for us. I'm in the thick of wondering if that is really true and feeling a bit (a lot) like He's doing everything wrong. But I can't deny the transformation in all of our hearts and so I humbly submit. My kids' lesson is my lesson - my yearning is for a house, not shoes. I've shown God the “holes” in where we live and how our performance isn't what it could be if we upgraded.
It's really the exact same conversation.
But just as God knows it's best for us to let go of what we have and that we are blessed when we give generously - which doesn't make sense - I can trust that He also knows best in the logistics of where we reside (which also doesn't make sense - to me). I need to be reminded that this is a daily battle.