God is teaching me to hold my things with open hands.
After buying a van in March and paying delayed medical bills in June, our savings account is as bare as it was when Eric and I began it. My wonderful budgeting husband says no worries–we’re fine and he’ll have it built back up in no time. But my savings account discourages me, and when I opened up the account last night, I thought with dismay, “God, look how much we have!”
One of the things I love about Eric is his faith in God’s provision, so he is committed to charitable giving, reminding me that we must return God’s gifts. I agree wholeheartedly but struggle to share Eric’s faith in the matter. One of my parenting goals is instilling generosity in my children, and teaching them that they are literally the luckiest children in the world–they have never gone hungry, drunk dirty water, suffered cold in winter, or lacked education.
As part of teaching Stephen charity, he helps me bring boxes of food to church and yesterday he helped me buy double school supplies to fill an extra backpack to donate to the Springs Rescue Mission. I love that giving is a part of our family culture, but there is selfishness in my mind as I pull boxes out of my pantry to give away, and as the cashier rings up the pencils, paper, folders, glue sticks, markers and pens that will go to other children.
As the offering plate passed this morning in church, I couldn’t help but think, “I don’t have enough for all this! I keep giving away too much!” as I tossed a $20 in the tray. But I suddenly realized, God doesn’t want pieces of me. He wants all of me, freely given. I can’t keep anything, because nothing really belongs to me.
I thought through the heartache of the summer, remembering the tears of my patients who miscarried their babies. Remembering the pregnant women who, in their second trimester, ask with longing voices, “It’s ok now, right? I’m out of the first trimester, so my baby will be ok? Right? Right?” And I think of women I know who lost babies at 36 weeks, and 40 weeks, and during delivery, and in the first month of life and I have to think of a nice way to say, “No, there is never any guarantee that your baby will be ok. Being a mother is terrifying because you create something you love more than life but could lose in an instant.”
I thought of how I watched fire tear through homes in Mountain Shadows, bullets tear through bodies in Aurora, and neighbors tear open their wallets to shower generosity on the wounded; I was reminded once more that the world is a terrible and a wonderful place.
I have never gone hungry, drunk dirty water, suffered cold in winter, or lacked education.
When I got home, I kissed my children, opened my bank account, and thought, “God, look how much we have!”