Giving Passionately?

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I have a confession to share with you all.  (Could someone please stop me now?  Please???)  I’ve been a little overwhelmed this Christmas with all of the needs that we’ve been requested to give to.  Each of my children have families in their schools that we’ve been asked to donate items for, my Bible Study has selected a family in need to provide Christmas to, our Sunday School class has adopted another local family who’s also in need, and the list goes on . . .

 

Well this week as I’ve been planning and packaging and wrapping and baking and mailing and Amazon’ing. . . . (you get the idea), I’ve felt a little overwhelmed to say the least.  And on top of that, there are so many needs out there that I can’t help. I don’t help.  I choose not to help. 

 

So here’s the confession:  I think I’ve been feeling simply gived out.  You see, I truly am a penny pincher at heart (yup, way deep down to the very bone I’m a frugal girl!)  And while giving a few dollars of groceries each week to our food pantry comes incredibly easy to me, handing over plain old cash (and what’s been feeling like quite a lot of cash), is just painful for me.  I hate that!

 

Well yesterday after somewhat begrudgingly hearing about another need, I walked into my packed full guest bedroom (packed full of gifts for our families, of course) and picked up two inexpensive outfits that we purchased to give to one of the needs here locally.   As I began to wrap them, I thought about the mother of those little girls, who maybe couldn’t purchase two simple new outfits for her girls.  And then I considered that as I sat in my cozy warm home wrapping up Christmas presents, there are others even in our midst who go without the food, shelter, and the clothing they need.  Then I went one step farther (ughhhhh. . . I hate to even think it), and thought about all those not all that far away from us who live without clean water, enough food, and who spend each day simply hoping to survive.

 

Last night, as I put my littlest one to bed, she clung tightly to me for fear I might leave.  She simply wanted extra snuggle time,  some TLC, and mommy right there, chin-to-cheek with her for just a few more minutes.  In my mind I saw all those gifts stacked for her that she would completely forego for just a little more momma-time.  And all that money and time and planning and effort . . . that I’ve spent when she would have preferred to simply have me.  (ouch!)  I am determined to do better. . . to give better. . . to love better . . . and to make Christmas about something other than just the crazies, but what it was meant to be when it all began.

 

“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

 

Photo courtesy of carstenfonsdal at Flikr.

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Comments

  1. Thanks for this Laurie. It touched my heart. We are all truly blessed, aren’t we? Thanks again for sharing this. I felt the same way….after reading the Holiday Wishes, I just wanted to buy for all of them. Sad thing is that for all that we spend on family and friends, we could’ve bought for so many on the Holiday Wishes program. We need to do better and help those in need. Thanks again. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas season!

  2. Jennifer G. says:

    Awesome reminder. Thanks!

  3. wow..this brought tears to my eyes. Thanks.

  4. I have so felt the same way . . . while our family has been giving more, I have been taking for granted Jesus, my precious little ones, and my wonderful big one. Thanks for reminding me what the season is truly about! God speaks through you in so many ways!

  5. Nancy Broyles says:

    Very nice!

  6. TERESITA BABCOCK says:

    Laurie,
    I think at this time of the year, we all feel exhausted at giving our money away. When I was little, my mom and her husband lived off the state. They signed up for Sub For Santa every single year. Why? Because they would sell all their food stamps and WIC for drugs and alcohol. Every single time we walk out of the store and I hear that little bell and see the little red bucket, I cringe. Every single year, I drop so much money into those, especially if I have my kids. We have to be good examples right? I have absolutely no problem with helping out my family. I have a really soft spot for kids. I used to be that kid. Who went to school in the same clothes she wore 2 days in a row, who smelled like pee and cigarettes. Knowing that my parents got handouts and NEVER spent them on getting us kids food, warm coats, and appropriate shoes for the seasons, I have a hard time giving money to those parents knowing exactly where it’s going.

    I am not a mean person, I try to help out as much as I can, when I can. All my kids really want is my time. To sit with them and read a book, watch a cartoon, show up at their field trips. My undivided attention.

    I don’t think it’s okay for people to expect hand outs. They shouldn’t expect that since you’re a couponing queen that they can just come to you and ask you to help this family, and that family. Thanks to couponing and blogs like yours I am so excited for Christmas this year. I am able to afford a very humble Christmas for my husband and kids. I have donated toys that I have gotten for free. My almost 6yr old twins have taken it upon themselves to go to their room and fill bags and buckets full of toys for “kids who don’t have mommys and daddys” I LOVE that. Makes me feel like I’m doing something right. I think if we show our kids that it’s best that we give when we can, and that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed about it, then we are doing okay by them.

  7. Thanks for the reminder :)

  8. Kandy Duncan says:

    I love this song and I play it everyday to remind me that “I will take a shack on a rock rather then a castle in the sand”. It really helps me prioritize my family. Casting Crowns http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DumlIIHSrsQ

    This year God sent children to my door collecting for the homeless with their youth group. The day after one of my $80 trips to Walgreens and only spent $6. On my way home I remember thinking I should really donate some of this stuff. You should have seen their faces when I filled their bags with goodies. I was able to even send good diapers that I had bought for someone else. I sent good stuff thanks to you and your coupon help I donated over $300 dollars worth of food and nice toys this year.(Something I had never done before) I give you credit for my donations because if you had never started this site I would have never started couponing and would have had nothing to give. I am sure there are lots of others that give so much because you give so much time helping us. So when you feel like you did not give enough remember it was you that day standing with me when those kids knocked at my door and you that gave so much too.

    • I just listened to the song Kandy and it’s such a great reminder for us! Thank you for sharing (I’m so excited about all you could give – WOW!) We truly are a blessed bunch, aren’t we?

  9. You all are so sweet to make me feel better about struggling with giving! I thought about it throughout the day, and I think that part of my problem is that my frugal nature doesn’t always know when giving is “in the budget”. We budget to give our tithe and portion of our grocery budget, so I know where that’s coming from. But we never actually budget for extra Christmas giving . . .I’ll be adding that to the plan next year!!!

    But I want to give with a happy heart- we are ABUNDANTLY blessed (really, crazy blessed), and I wish my knee jerk reaction wouldn’t be to get anxious over giving when someone is in need. We have so much more than we need, and when I think of those without anything I am so humbled.

    Thank you so much for your encouragement (and for reading this crazy stuff!), and hopefully we’ll all remember to slow down and enjoy Christmas!

    And btw, Teresita – I completely understand and it’s so sweet of you to share your story! I’ve struggled with whether there are “legitimate” needs out there or not, and my dad has reminded me that God will take care of that – but it’s so hard to remember when you know there are some out there who do take advantage of things. I still stress a little over finding the right place to give, but I guess I have to trust that ultimately we serve a God who’s got it all figured out. And what an AMAZING example you’re teaching your children – I LOVE that!!! (You’ve changed your family tree!!!)

  10. From what I’ve seen you do give passionately. The funny thing is that the few dollars you may spend each week on food items you donate, go so much further than if you had donated 4x as much in cash. You really inspire me to give more, and looking at my growing stock-pile I can’t help but feel a little bad about all this food that we now have, when there are others out there going hungry.

    You probably paid half the price for those two new clothing items as the parents of those little girls would have paid themselves, or those little girls would have gotten used items. Growing up with a single mom,I can remember how rare it was to have something NEW, something that wasn’t a hand-me-down or something my mom made. I never realized how lucky I was when I was a kid to have a mom who could sew like my mom can (I do realize it now and take advantage of it whenever I can), all I wanted was something new from the store. You may not get to see the smiles on those little girls faces when they open their presents, but know they will be there.

    You “give like no one else”, and you helping so much more than you know.

  11. Kandy Duncan says:

    I just wanted to say this too! I use to really like the Hip2Save site and others like it but there is always so much on there and you can tell that you really need a lot of time to keep up. There are tons of ads and I can never trust the stuff they put on there to be a good product. I always have a hard time trying to figure out if its a good deal for us or is it a good way for the site to make more money off of us. I really feel like you are in this to help people and not take advantage of us. So thanks for that because you could be making lots more money if wanted.

    • Kandy – I stress so much over not being able to keep up with the deals like many of the big bloggers do – I would love to do more but somewhere in all of this I have to keep up with my family. I do really try to watch out for deals that are only legitimate deals for you, and if they earn me any money I’m thrilled.

      I do think all the big bloggers post loads of legitimate good deals, it’s just important to always use your own discernment to make sure they’re really good deals for you too!

  12. This is so timely! I have been feeling alternately stressed out and scroogish this year, which is not who I am. This is the tightest Christmas we’ve ever had with my husband’s job having changed this year and leaving us bringing home a LOT less than we used to, which is how I came to value your blog and others like it, but it isn’t the not giving much to my kids that bothers me this year…truly, I feel like they will be fine without much, they are getting stuff they need, coats, shoes, jeans, undies…nothing exciting, but we know what this season is about and it ISN’T what’s under the tree, but what hung on the tree that’s the real gift we celebrate..what’s getting me is all the other time commitments, caroling, extra youth group events, extra youth group events that require a gift exchange, or plates of cookies at the last minute, or just extra “holiday” events in general…and a lot of those do seem to be asking for money in some form…and the thing is, I don’t want my kids to feel like they are the only ones not participating in them, feeling excluded, so I buck up and put out for the gifts, or food, or whatever, but I have been feeling pretty resentful about it and grumbling inwardly…that isn’t who I want to be either. If I am going to go along with it, I need to be that cheerful giver…
    thanks for the reminder I needed once again! I am off to bake cookies now!

  13. Kathy Eberly says:

    As I was reading this I had been feeling the same way. Never ending requests for giving. I really felt I have been giving so much too. This brought me to tears. Thank you for sharing.

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