Legacy of Generosity

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

For the past several years I have been some what alone on my birthday. My husband Tony has always been working and while I've had friends no one has ever really taken time (outside of my family) to make it super special. Being frank, I would whine inside. I wanted my birthday, the most favorite time of the year, to be SUPER special. Why couldn't anyone do that?

This past year as my birthday rounded the corner my heart changed. I have come to really dislike the selfishness of this generation. It is beyond bad, my friends. Someone cannot even hear about anothers birthday without hearing of all the things the person plans to do for themselves, or what others should do for themselves. This includes the major holidays. I hear more of "I want, I want," then anything else.

Not saying wanting to be loved on or feel special is bad. It's not. In fact, I think it's important for everyone to feel this way. But. Are your wants clouding your judgment in seeing how much need is out there?  Proverbs 11:25 The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself.

What is it saying? Rich in what? Watered? It's not just talking about money. Someone who lives a generous life is rich in many bigger ways than a fattier wallet. He is rich in so much more and is blessed because he sees others blessed.

I really felt God's pull to do something different. To leave a legacy of generosity to my children and my family that would mean much more than money. To reach others despite the fact that many would say, "But it's your day..." Take a moment. Read my experience as I chose to be intentionally generous and see how it changed my life, not just theirs.

My prayer, to start, was that the Holy Spirit would guide me specifically to whom I should bless and how I should bless them. At first my plan was to do 26 random acts of kindness but then God placed the Ronald McDonald house on my heart and this became my biggest act. I started asking for donations from their wish list after getting approval to come and tour the house and meet the house director.

The Tuesday before my birthday is when the generosity really began. I walked into a Chick-Fil-a to get donations for our church when I felt that I was going to be paying for someones meal. As I was walking in I noticed a younger couple. "This is it," I thought. I noticed they paid separately and as I went for my debit card to pay I felt the Holy Spirit stop me. "No, not this one." I waited. A mother came to the counter. Not exaggerating, she looked tired. She had sweats and a baggy t-shirts and ordered 5 or 6 ice creams. "Now." Like a wide receiver going after a ball I jumped over and handed my card and said, "On me!" She tried to refuse me but I wouldn't let her. She looked me square in the eye and said, "You don't know how much I needed that."

"No I didn't, but God did." I left.

The next moment would happen Thursday before my birthday. I received tons of donations from a few church people and friends (thank you all!) but still needed more to add. So instead of asking for a gift from my hubby I asked his permission to buy a ton of travel size products and pantry items. I also bought tons of cookie mix and muffin mix.

When I went to check out a young lady by the name of Stephanie was my cashier. She jokingly said, "Are you going on a long vacation to eat cookies and muffins?" I said, "Nah. I'm doing some charity work for my birthday." She was shocked and we began a really good conversation in which she opened up to me that she really had trouble with seeing the good in humanity. I shared with her openly that it was not me that was good, in fact I wasn't really good at all, but that it was God in me that really made me want to give. If God could give me life everyday, couldn't I in turn give someone hope? She just kept thanking me with tears as I walked away.

But. God. I felt the call to go and get her a gift card to Starbucks. As I did I got the pleasure to meet the store manager of that particular Target. I asked her to give that gift card to Stephanie after I left the store. I included a little note card our church had given us to hand out that said, "Just a little something extra to show how much God loves you." I ended up buying two actually and told the manager to give the other gift card to someone she felt could really use it.

Finally. The big day arrived. I barely slept that night. It was like I was waiting for Christmas! My first stop would be to Kaidance's school, but not after I took a morning picture with her!

We arrived at CCA at 7:30am. My best friend Christin would be joining me as I went about my day so we got there early to meet up. The only person knew that I was going to be feeding the entire faculty was the principal. When I got there and told them I needed space for muffins, and donuts, and juice and milk they were so surprised. Not to mention it was Friday and I'm sure they were all READY for the weekend!

The coolest part about the CCA project was that my daughter and her two friends (whom we carpool with) got to experience giving and generosity too. They helped us carry all the supplies in and set up. They were eager to help and were excited to feed their teachers! It was a huge success! There was lots of conversations and lots of, "We should be doing this for you," but please let me remind's not about me. It's about sharing God's love and HIS generous spirit!

Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. Psalm 51:12 

I appreciate all that the principal and staff do for my child and the other students!

Next, after a half hour search for my keys that were in a trash bag (and binding up the enemy ha ha!) I headed off to Starbucks for breakfast. The neat thing about having my best friend there was that not only did I have camera help but I got to spoil her! It's about not just being generous to other people but to those around you who impact your every day life! She was the one in my world I wanted to share generosity with too!

After grabbing a cup ourselves and some breakfast (I was too excited to eat, ha ha) we met Kathy. Kathy had a daughter just slightly older than me and cried when I paid for her coffee. She kept saying, "We need more people like you in this world," and I semi-agree. What we truly need is more Christ-like behavior and love. We need people who aren't afraid to share God's goodness with others. Don't be a goodness hoarder. Give it away.

After Kathy we met "in a rush guy." I didn't get his name, didn't talk to him much, just paid for his coffee. He was shocked and surprised and said, "What an awesome thing. Thank you. I didn't have time this morning to make it at home." God's got him.

Then we met Candy. Candy had just come off a night shift working. She looked exhausted. She was there for a quick pick me up on her way home to do a few things and then sleep. She was so appreciative. I am so glad she got a little smile after such a long night.

Next, we went to visit Jen. Jen is a teacher at Newell Elementary school. She rocks. 

Jen is not just my friend. She's a hard working student and a rock star volunteer. I bought her a bag of gifts and then surprised the faculty staff with freshly baked cookies! They even let me tour the back area and I got to meet the principal (who so kindly offered me a job!). 

After an awesome time laughing we headed over to the Ronald McDonald house. We were going to bring a ton of donations and also get a tour of the house. We are so thankful of all that we got to deliver! So was the house. We met a ton of beautiful people who devote their life to serving. They understand what it means to be moved with compassion and to live a life of generosity everyday without complaint.

Debbie, one of my favorite volunteers, was crying as I shared my story. She was so moved that it was my birthday but what she didn't realize is that she touched me and moved me with her story. She's never worked. She's devoted her entire life to volunteering in hospitals in the areas she has lived. What a true leader and inspiration! 

The tour of the Ronald McDonald house was fantastic. I've personally decided to volunteer once a month and do more donation funding for them (blog post on that VERY soon). The quote wall was beyond touching and I cried standing there (and now) just thankful for all God has given me, so that I could give it back.

At the end of the tour we got to ask Ari the director questions. She answered them all truthfully and lovingly and then I took a picture with her and another volunteer Marty. Marty is a replica of what I am going to be as a senior citizen. She was so fun!

This was our last stop. And it was well worth it. Throughout the rest of the day I was able to do little deeds (like leaving an awesome tip for our waitress at lunch) but truly I was the blessed one. God has given me way more than I could EVER ask for. He doesn't ask for much in return. 

I received this card today from Ari. It touched me because it will be a consistent reminder of how important it is to be intentionally generous. Someone needs you and someone needs your obedience. 

This 26th birthday was by far the greatest birthday I've ever had. It was because I decided to take the focus off of me and put it on Him. I have decided to make this an annual thing and will trust that God will make it bigger and bigger every year. I hope in 2014 to do a deed once a day, even a small one, so that others will learn to pay it forward and my children will learn about generosity. wasn't about me. It wasn't about, "Hey! Look at that wonderful girl." It's about Him. It's always been about Him and it's about others knowing that God cares for them much more than I ever could. Lets ban together folks. Lets ban together and leave a legacy of generosity. When people look back on this generation and those to come let them see a noticeable change in our giving. Lets do this intentionally and with joy. It will change YOUR life.



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