My Struggle with Generosity

Hubby has one of the most generous hearts I have known. One year instead of receiving any gifts, he gave a family in need a Christmas. He thinks of others often and then he does something about it.

Here he is working on a house with A'mor Ministries in Tijuana (that is me on the far left, clearly having no idea how to hold a hammer)
We are blessed to be a blessing (Genesis 12:1-2), this is what the Scriptures that I seek to live by say. I am very good at blessing myself. If you look at where my money goes, I love myself more than anybody else in the world and the proof is right there on my bank statement.

I am a crier, a friend and I were just e-mailing this week and she said she is "an emotional being." Amen sister! I love that.

I cried during the entire 2014 Winter Olympics. Every time I heard a story about an athlete over-coming great odds to achieve their goal (aka, an Olympian) I would bawl. Those commercials about the mothers wiping their little snowboarders' cuts and bruises? The tears flowed. I barely watch television, read books, or scroll through a blog without weeping.

So my connection to people in need is emotional but with little follow-through. I see the need, I feel the need, but I do not actually meet anyone's needs because I am too busy crying in the corner about all the sadness in the world. I feel all the feelings then move on to the next issue.

Thankfully, we have people in our life reminding us there are many, MANY, less fortunate than us. But then comes up my next personal roadblock to generosity, I am a distracted creature. There are times I have listened to a speaker or a sermon and have felt that nudge, that deep stirring leading me to know this person or cause needs our money. Then I leave the room and forget. The letter requesting funds gets buried under another letter. I say to Mike, "Have you prayed about that, should we give to them?" And we keep having the same conversation for a few days until nobody asks the questions and we both move on. I know this happens in other households first-hand. I raised over $100k when I worked for Campus Outreach. Most people did not maliciously deny me funding, they simply forgot. Being outside of that sphere, I am now the 'forgetter.'

This quote from Hotel Rwanda directly applies to me, I think about it often.
It is in reference to Hutu extremists killing over 800,000 of their fellow Tutsi citizens, over the span of 100 days, in 1994:

Paul (Rwandan hotel owner and humanitarian): I am glad you have shot this footage and that the world will see it. It is the only way we have a chance that people might intervene.
Jack (the journalist): Yeah, and if no one intervenes, is it still a good thing to show?
Paul: How can they not intervene when they witness such atrocities?
Jack: I think if people see this footage they'll say, "Oh my God that's horrible," and then go on eating their dinners.

This way of living has made Hubby and I very ineffective in furthering the Kingdom of God and in meeting the needs of the poor and desperate. We shop for new bedding, while people live without shelter. I buy my daughter designer shoes, while other mothers can't feed their babies. It bothers me that I spend so much money on my wants while others go without their needs. 
We love World Vision, they are doing awesome things!
Please don't feel guilty if you are like me, but ask God to make room in your heart, space in your life to notice what changes your generosity could make. We are our brother's keeper.

During the spending fast, I am realizing that removing something from my life is not enough. What will I put in the place of shopping? Will it be spending money on my children? Will it be food? Will it be great vacations? I hoped to see a change in my lack of generosity this year. And slowly, I have. I have been saying yes to those who have asked of my time and my money, and it has been a true joy.

Financially, it is easier to say "yes" to needs that come our way when there is room in our budget to do so. We always set aside a set amount each month to give away, but then if an additional need arises, we often cannot meet it because the flex money we have has already been spent on silly things I found on Pinterest!

Mike and I discussed a few different things last night. My brother is spending his college Spring Break floating down the Amazon River delivering medical supplies. Our dear friends' father is in the hospital. We did what we always do, talked over our thoughts as we loaded the dishwasher, got the kids ready for bed, and settled on the couch to watch tv. Then we did something we don't usually do. We turned off the tv and we prayed. We prayed for our friends, our families and our children.  

God, please help us be generous with our money, our time, our blessings.
Picture of Manaus, Brazil one of the places my brother stopped

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