Tag Archives: giving

He never stops giving

I was resting in bed tonight, head spinning with excitement knowing that our newly decorated tree and Christmas-a-fied house was on the other side of the bedroom door.

Finally I could stand it no more so I returned to the living room, opened all the windows, and now I sit facing the glow of tiny white lights while the rustle of palm leaves outside competes with the symphony of crickets (and a few guest appearances by the odd frog).

Gosh, I love this time of year.

Cliche? I don’t care. I love it. I so, so love it.

Today was a storm of a million emotions. Amidst the merriment of the holidays and the buzz that I get from the decorating kick-off, there’s so much going on in our little world right now that’s vying for headspace. Most of it good, but some uncomfortable.

At one point this afternoon I sat down for a few moments scrolling quickly through emails that I knew I’d not be responding to until later. But curious, I read a few anyway.

The first one I opened had some disappointing news. Understandable, and yet disappointing, deflating.

The second one was from a stranger. A woman who belongs to a people I’ve fallen in love with (PNG) who now lives in a place that I once called my own (USA).

We’ve been writing back and forth this last week and I teared up a few days ago when she told me her family thanked God for me and my family around their Thanksgiving table last week.

I don’t know her. But she knows Him.

And then today her email – the second email I opened – contained news so sweet and so personal and so unexpected I couldn’t control those big, hot tears, from rolling quickly down my cheeks.

You see, He is faithful. He really is so faithful.

And sometimes you think everything’s just fine and then grace comes in a million forms and you realize how much you really did need it after all.

I had grace in many different forms this week – friends arriving at my doorstep to mow our lawn and clean my floors, another bringing us dinner one night, another offering childcare, and now another (who’s face I can only imagine, and voice I do not know) with an offer so simple and lovely it makes me close my eyes and shake my head and whisper, “What did I do to deserve this kindness from a stranger? From anyone?”.

But it’s not a matter of “deserving” anything at all. I receive because they give. And they give because they want to. And they want to because they also know what it is to receive.

Because He never stops giving.

And that’s it – the way I want to start December and the preparation of my heart to celebrate – really celebrate Christ’s birth: I want to see Him around me, recognize Him as he weaves worlds together, hear Him through the noise, and breathe deeply of His of goodness.

I want to receive Him, all over again.

Thank you, dear grace-givers, for helping me to see Jesus. You represent Him so well.

STOP.

 

Q for you: How has someone’s kindness been grace in your life lately? 

 

Love,
A

p.s. Forgot to use the timer tonight. Definitely blew the five minutes… probably doubled it, but who knows, who cares.

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Every time we take up our cross

“Every time we take up our cross — we take weight off someone else.” -Ann Voskamp

How often do I view the “taking up of my cross” as a burden to myself? And yet really, it’s not a burden but a blessing.

Jesus said, “It’s better to give than to receive.”

Anyone who’s ever been a part of a Christmas celebration can attest to the truth of his statement.

And so taking up my cross so that I can bare the weight of someone else’s? It’s not a burden. It’s a gift given to another.

Which is ultimately a gift given to me.

And all of it is a gift given to HIM.

So hard to remember when we allow the daily grind to blur our vision.

I want to take up my cross, so someone else won’t have to.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Have you been challenged to take up your cross lately? Did it feel like a burden or a gift?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited.


Extravagance just because

It’s day two in America and we are well and truly in holiday mode.

Aside from some crazy jet lag, everything is as perfect as possible. We are enjoying being unscheduled and moving slowly and having time together with our family.

There was a bag waiting for us when we arrived, put together from our church to welcome us.

It was full of some of our favorite American goodies that we can’t get in Australia – Cheerios, cheddar Chex Mix, Payday candy bars, Sour Patch Kids, A&W root beer, Reeces Pieces, pink lemonade, and kettle corn. There were even a few little gifts for the kids.

None of this is stuff that we need. (Um, who needs junk food?!)

But that was just the point – to bless us “above and beyond” the necessary. And to make us smile.

It’s amazing how little things can make such a big impact.

Being welcomed with a package like that – full of the treats we adore and miss – made us feel so welcomed, cared for, and appreciated.

As much as God wants to provide for our needs, he also loves to do things just to make us smile.

Extravagance, generosity, hospitality, abundance – those are all marks of our God.

Apparently our church family knows that too.

They reflect him so well.

STOP.

 

Q for you: When is the last time you were blessed to receive something you didn’t need, but wanted “just because”?

 

Love,
A

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Serving people is almost always inconvenient

Serving people is almost always inconvenient.

So often I don’t feel like making the effort, giving the time, or dishing out the dollars. Even when I know I “should”.

But inevitably, when I’m able to get over myself and move beyond my feelings I begin to serve and my feelings almost always change.

Recently I was given the opportunity to do something that would require a big effort, a big sacrifice of time, and a huge inconvenience in terms of scheduling.

Believing it was the right thing to do, I said yes.

And now, having done the “thing” I’m so, so, so glad I did.

Yes, there was some sacrifice involved. Yes, it meant adjusting a whole bunch of life to make it work. Yes, it would have been much easier to just say no.

But if I had said no I would’ve missed out on an incredible blessing – the blessing of giving.

Jesus said it’s better to give than to receive. it wasn’t just some good idea when he threw it out there. It was (is) truth. And I can testify to that.

I’m amazed at what I’ve received simply by choosing to give.

Sometimes the giving is difficult at first, but always as I’ve chosen to give (serve) my sentiments have changed mid-stream.

The giving becomes “easy” in that it flows.

And as you pour out, you’re also filled. (A very strange paradox.)

The surest way to be filled up is actually to give first. After all, if you’re already full, what room is there for more?

STOP.

 

Q for you: Do you ever feel like serving is inconvenient? Have you experienced that feeling changing as you’ve stepped into it regardless?

 

Love,
A

p.s. By the way, I think if you give/serve in order to receive something in return… you’ve missed the point and your selfishness can hinder the blessing. The point here is that receiving is a beautiful byproduct of the giving.

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


We’re contending for the remote control while they’re contending for their lives

Mothers Day is in two days.

What an awesome holiday it is.

Hallmark holiday? Well, maybe. But I think it’s so important to take time to honor the amazing mothers in our lives. (Hi mom! *waving* Love you!)

I realized that although readers of my other blog are well aware of Bloggers for Birth Kits, I should probably post here too since some of my readers are different.

So here’s the deal:

In rural Papua New Guinea the rate of women dying in childbirth is one in seven.

Shocking statistic, I know.

But think about it as more than a number. Think about it in terms of faces.

How many moms do you know that are pregnant? How many do you know that have just given birth in the last year?

Divide that number by seven and then think again.

Ouch.

I know.

The good news is there’s a way to prevent many of these deaths through the distribution (and use) of clean birth kits. In the developing world the leading cause of maternal death is infection, and the kits provide things like soap and plastic gloves and a few other basic supplies that can help create a cleaner birth environment.

And the other good news is that these kits only cost about $2-3 to make. (Seriously.)

I’ve posted all about it here.

To date we’ve raised 3176 kits so far in the last two weeks. An amazing response.

Because the thing is, women love helping women. (And some men love helping women too!)

And every mother knows the love of a mama to her baby.

And no mother can fathom not living through the welcoming of that baby into the world.

So this Mothers Day, as you’re enjoying your breakfast in bed (hopefully!), I urge you to also think of the women in PNG and elsewhere that are contending for their lives (and their babies’ lives) as we contend for the remote control.

If you’re a mom, happy Mothers Day to you for Sunday. If you’re not, well then, happy Mothers Day to your mom.

STOP.

 

Q for you: Would you be alive today if you’d given birth in a developing nation? Would your mother??

 

Love,
A

p.s. The photo is of a package of birth kits I received today from a mom in America. Yay. Thank you. 🙂

 

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited


Why talking about money is fun, not boring

No one likes to talk about money.

At least not on a personal level.

We talk about investments and the economy and “out there” stuff, but most like to keep talk of their personal paychecks private.

Today I wrote a post about finances for another blog that’s soon to launch (where I’ve been asked to be a regular contributor – more about that soon). And, although I usually think the topic of finance is a little boring…

I was totally into it.

I mean, like really, really diggin it.

Because when you know God, and are connected to him, it becomes not just about numbers in a bank account or dollars in your pocket, it becomes about understanding him and his ways. (And, oh how I love knowing him and his ways!)

There’s a verse in Luke that talks about how he provides for the ravens and how much “more valuable” we are than them.

And that’s it! That’s the key!

God provides for us because we’re worth it. We’re worth it.

Did you catch that? Cuz it goes for you too.

He also provides for us because that’s who he is – our Provider. Capital P. That’s what he does. He can’t not be himself.

Money can be a difficult thing – when it rules us, when it seems we are in lack, when it’s squandered, when we idolize it, etc. But it can also be a really beautiful thing.

Jesus never shied away from talking about money.

So why do we?

We need it. We want it. We can even use it as a tool to worship him and bless others.

I’m so glad he thinks I’m worth it.

STOP.

Q for you: Do you struggle with talking about money? Did you know that God thinks you’re worth it?

Love,
A

Click Clink Five | Five minutes a day, unedited