I have a confession to make: we didn't go to church on Sunday. We had spent all day Saturday driving to and from Yakima delivering wedding flowers I had made for a bride whose "wedding coordinator" turned out to be .. well, missing in action. This bride called me crying on Friday night asking me if we could bring the flowers because the wedding coordinator wasn't going to be coming - thankfully I had vases and extra stuff because there were no decorations since the coordinator was missing. We got home at midnight and were exhausted. When we woke up Sunday it was past time to get to church so we stayed home.
I found out that the topic of Sunday's sermon was on generosity (blogs.nsb.org) - the topic for this whole month apparently. It made me think about our weekend. I must also confess that in our delivery to Yakima I was kind of freaking out - because for one thing the "wedding coordinator" had ordered flowers that the bride and groom knew nothing about - so we were out a couple hundred dollars. Heading to Yakima meant that Joshua missed a day of work. The sweet bride offered to pay us for gas etc. but we still weren't getting any profit from this wedding. Since it was my first wedding of 2011 with my new home business, I was feeling defeated. I had been so excited to help provide income to help get my husband through school, and begin saving for adoption. But it was like God kept telling me that we just needed to do this and show His love to this young couple by providing more than they paid for and making their wedding beautiful - even though it meant we would have to tighten the belt so to speak even farther this month to make ends meet. Part of me didn't want to be generous - but a much bigger part of me knew that God wanted me to show His character by being generous. I knew that in going on this trip it would cause my body to suffer extra pain, but I could hear the pain in the bride's voice and alleviating even some of her pain became more important to me than keeping myself from extra pain.
My husband and I have been the recipients of so much generosity over the years - with help with paying medical bills for me, and just gifts that always seem to come at the exact perfect moment. At Christmastime we were feeling home sick for Whidbey Island and feeling alone in our new life and even in our new church (because we were used to being in a small church where everyone knew each other especially since we were in positions of leadership there). One day we found a huge package on our doorstep. We opened the box on our way to church one morning in early December to find two beautiful and cozy blankets (one of which I am laying under as I type) - an Albertson's gift card and some coffee. A note with no name and an address we didn't recognize. We knew that it was someone in our new home church. We instantly felt accepted in a way that we hadn't felt yet (since we have felt it more and more as we make friends in our married class). We felt loved and we felt that even though our new life held challenges - we would make it though. Just a couple weeks ago after some more challenges we were feeling discouraged. I got the mail and opened yet another doctor bill - then I opened an envelope which had no return address but was full of gift cards - $400 worth of gift cards to be exact! Again, at a time when we were feeling so discouraged, God used someone to be generous to us and remind us of His love and provision.
We are still a long way off from what we want to be when it comes to being generous. But, we pray that as every day passes we become more and more like God in showing love through giving. Giving our time, our resources, and our love.