There are countless examples of generosity in the Bible, and frankly, the opposite. There is nothing sharper than the shock of learning what you’re not supposed to do the hard way. Those lessons we find are valuable and necessary to learn more about Jesus and ourselves. In the process of going over some of those, this story along with some other sentiments bubbled up needing to be told.
With that preface, this isn’t going to be a lovely and touching story about that time when someone was so generous to me that it changed my life forever. I do have those experiences in my adult life. My husband has shockingly lost his job twice in our 16 years together. He is the hardest worker I know, but the world is harsh, and things don’t always go our way. In both of those instances, we have had kind people who reached out and helped our family in ways that I will never forget. I truly saw the love of Jesus through those who helped and I am forever grateful. What I want to share is about my journey in generosity; the real and raw that comes from honest self-reflection.
A little background about me will help you understand my journey. My parents divorced when I was 3, and I am their only child. I lived with my mother for most of my childhood, where I experienced alcoholism and sexual abuse. It wasn’t all bad, I gained two amazing step-brothers who are now great parents and husbands. But, we were poor in more ways than one and struggled a lot growing up. When I look back, I can’t remember one person who stepped out in generosity towards me. I am sure that there were, but I couldn’t see past the pain and hurt in my situation. If their generosity didn’t make all the craziness end, it didn’t enter into my view. I didn’t realize this until much later in life, so I grew up thinking that there were no generous people in the world. In fact, if there were, I would never know them. I became hard to the world, on people, and on myself.
Living with a hard heart worked for me until I became a parent. Having kids changed my point of view. I didn’t want to have a hard heart, especially to my children. I wanted to be sweet and kind and tender. My children deserved to have a mom who was a break in the generational chain of dysfunction. I wanted them to be kind and generous people, but how can I teach them without doing it myself?
Let me tell you, I am wired to be selfish. In some ways, we all are, but with my beginnings and the anger I had about my childhood, I couldn’t be who I wanted to be. In my heart, I wanted to be generous, but I was afraid, not a little afraid, a lot afraid. It makes me vulnerable with my heart, my mind, my time, and my finances. With my previous experiences, I thought for sure I would be taken advantage of.
Where do I start with all of this?
Luke 6:38 NIV “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Counseling! Because I had to get to the source of the issue. I won’t go into great detail about this since we are focusing on generosity, but know that this is often the place to start, and Peace Restored can help! I needed to reanalyze my relationship with Jesus, other people, and myself.
My counselor taught me generosity doesn’t have to come straight from me. Generosity comes from experiencing the generosity of Jesus. His forgiveness, grace, mercy, love, and understanding that provides me with what is necessary for me to be the kind of person I want to be and who my children deserve. If I relied on myself only, for a pool of generosity to draw from, I would come up empty every time. This is one of the many gifts that Jesus has given me! When you feel that unconditional pure love, your desire for others to feel it too becomes a reality. This is the core of generosity.
There are still times that I should have been more generous than I was. I am a work in progress. Being generous with your time and money takes trust. Trust that God is a part of our world and that your gift isn’t in vain. It takes learning to listen to the Holy Spirit and the gentle way he communicates with us. These both are learned habits just as generosity for some of us, is a learned habit.
This is sincere encouragement from myself to you. Examine what you do and where your finances go. Are they different from what you want it to be? Take the first step in changing that by reengaging with Jesus. Work on your relationship with Him and trust Him! Listen to the Holy Spirit’s gentleness in your life, in your head, and through others. There is a special place just for you, where your time and finances can make the biggest difference. And when you fall back from it, don’t beat yourself up, just restart the process. I love you big, and myself big, because Jesus loves us all BIG!
The writer for this piece wishes to remain anonymous. They want the words to help someone but as the information in this blog is sensitive, the writer will be kept anonymous for confidentiality reasons.