What a crazy week. Isn’t Christmas crazy? But so absolutely lovely. One of the many reasons I adore Christmas is because Connor’s love for giving shines. :)
When we were first married only made $1000 a month (and our rent was $770) you better believe we ran the tightest ship possible. Like. Top Ramen all day-erry day.
It wasn’t until this time in our life that I truly realized Connor’s HUGE heart for giving presents to people. And I wasn’t happy about it.
My mouth about dropped to the floor one Sunday afternoon when Connor offered to buy a friend’s lunch while on our most extravagant outing in months…Taco Bell. I’m sure I burned holes in his head with my eyes. Say WHAT, my sweet sweet OBLIVIOUS husband?! We had maybe $30 in our bank account and here he was…offering to pay for someone’s LUNCH?!
Now, here is what Connor was thinking…The friend had driven about an hour and a half to come see us, was deep in the jungle of sophomore year of college, and in the same, if not more dire, financial position as us. (Why we all decided to go out to Taco Bell after church that day…I’m not sure. I could have made us a killer gourmet pot of Rice-a-Roni. What can I say though, we’re shameless lushes.)
So…we paid for his gordito and drink and I went home in a hot huff. I mean. Come ON.
When I cooled off and we started talking about it Connor told me that it was important to him that we always give. Especially in instances where it is not “required,” like birthdays and Christmas. He said that no matter how much money we had…we should never balk at paying for someone’s lunch when they don’t expect it, giving a gift just because, or helping someone holding a cardboard sign. Begrudgingly, I relented. Of course he was right. Matthew 5:35-36 puts it pretty plainly when God praises and welcomes into heaven those who help others,
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
All of those things above that Connor asked me to make a part of our marriage are hard for me. Not because I don’t want to be generous…I do. But because, authentically, I’m not a giver. My mind just doesn’t go there. And when I see people on the side of the street asking for money…to be really honest with you guys….I struggle. I REALLY struggle. Who know’s what they are going to use that money for? I sure don’t.
I have been blessed with a host of amazing givers in my life. My parents have a special “giving” fund that they use specifically to help those in need around them. My husband is always giving his time selflessly to others and blessing people by paying for random things (like lunches). I really could let the list of givers I know take over this post. Sadly I, however, would not be on that list.
But, because of the examples of selflessness in my life, I am slowly letting go of the need for control that has inhibited me. I think I need to control our money like a remote control drives a toy car. When I turn the joystick to the right, the money should follow and end up exactly where I intend it to. Always and forever.
Funny thing is, that never happens. The tighter I get with out budget…the faster it dissipates into THIN stinkin’ AIR! I have no idea where it goes. However, after we paid for our friend’s lunch that day and I made my big stink, I was shocked to find that we miraculously made it through the rest of that month unscathed. Since then, I have started to let go quicker. When Connor brings up giving/gifting something or other, and I start to get tense, I start thinking about the other times we’ve given and how that experience felt. Giving, when we do it selflessly, has always left me a little more full of joy and hope (after I truly let go, that is). And it has always left the receivers with a little more joy (and maybe hope?), which is the most important thing.
It doesn’t matter how a gift is received or whether the act is returned. It does not matter how a gift of money is used(that’s the one that’s especially hard for me). It matters that people are precious and created and on-purpose and it matters where my heart is.
All this to say, I am so glad I married a generous man. I am so glad he has helped me as gently and insistently as he has. I am so glad I am becoming a giver. More than anything, I want my little boy to have a life filled to the brim and overflowing with grace and generosity. I want him to grow with goodness and kindness around him always. For that to happen – I have to be better and more generous. Thank goodness I have so many amazing examples to teach me what I want to teach Noah.
In family news…
My favorite Christmas photo: Noah and his new toy car. :)
Favorite picture from this weekend: Noah shares his daddy’s love for sweet tea
Best moment ever: When you’re feeding your baby a 5 a.m. bottle and he grabs your pinky in sweet appreciation