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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Give When It Hurts

As a gift for entering middle school, we bought our daughter a cell phone. She is allowed to text her friends, but phone calls are prohibited to non-family members. The idea was for us to stay in better contact with her while she enjoys her new independence. She is away from us much more than ever before.

Earlier this month the youth group at our church participated in KU cleanup to raise money to buy Christmas gifts for some families in need. This required around 6 hours of picking up trash at a KU football game. Not the most glamorous way to earn money, but when you have a large amount of people it gets the job done quickly and has a huge payoff.

Of course, my daughter wanted to help. She is always willing to lend a hand, and the fact that it was done with her friends was a bonus. Unfortunately, while she was at the game, her cell phone mistakenly slipped from her pocket. After three months of freedom and a new social outlet, it was snatched from her.

We are under contract for two years for this phone of hers. Whether she has it or not, we pay for it. We gave the phone as a gift. It was sad that she lost the gift, but we wouldn't be replacing it for her. She would need to earn enough money to buy a new phone herself.

Responsibility. She earns a dollar a week for chores.

I grieved with her, but I also didn't want to take her problem upon myself. It was her negligence that caused the issue. We prayed for help from God.

The next day I was approached with an opportunity for babysitting, and agreed to help out a friend. I didn't need the money so I offered the work and money to my daughter. I told her she would be required to do absolutely everything, diapers included.

The terms were set, and she performed beautifully. By the end of the day I had one exhausted daughter. She had no idea taking care of a baby was so much work. I thought it was a good lesson for her to learn. She loved nap time! Now she knows why I push in the summer to have a rest period.

He fell asleep during her story. So sweet!

After over 9 hours of labor, the 25 dollars was hers. She was so close to getting a new cell phone... on EBay.

A week went by and it was proving difficult to find the phone for the price she had. You must understand she was not permitted to spend the entire 25 dollars, God was given some first.

We set up a Christmas tree in our commons area at church. On it hung some brightly colored ornaments with the names of children living in Mexico. Each ornament represented a present that needed to be purchased for a very deserving boy or girl. On Christmas Eve, myself and 4 other ladies will be traveling to Mexico to deliver the gifts.

My daughter was drawn to the tree. She has been very helpful in this entire endeavor. If you remember she lost her phone at a work day that was raising money to help out these families. At our church Thanksgiving dinner, she walked around and asked for donations for a Billy Vanilly cupcakes drawing we were having. (With her help we raised $95 for tickets!)

My daughter has a desire to serve. If I ever need help, my daughter is the first to jump in and work with me.

As we were closing down our Christmas tree for the day, I noticed on one of the signup sheets my daughter had signed her name. She chose a girl, Jazmin, who is the same age as her. Ariel agreed to buy her clothes. This touched me because right now clothes are very important to my middle school daughter. Just a couple weeks ago she made the comment to me while we were shopping, "I can't believe I want to spend my money on clothes instead of stuffed animals." She is growing up.

Once we left church I explained to my daughter that the present was supposed to cost $15. She didn't have any money; how was she going to afford that?

"I'm going to use my cell phone money."

What? Did I just hear her right? My daughter just said this to me? My son has always been known for his generosity with money. My daughter has not.

God has called us to give when it hurts. Sacrifice. The best gifts are the ones given when it costs us something. If it didn't hurt the giver a little, is the gift worth as much to the receiver? I know I always appreciate the gifts the most when you know the person had nothing left to give, and they gave their all for you.

It will be a beautiful sight to see Jazmin receive her gift from my daughter. She may never know how much the gift truly cost, but God does.

God loves it when we do this, especially when it's done with a cheerful attitude. "I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving."
2 Corinthians 9:7 (The Message)

I was so proud of my daughter; I couldn't contain the tears.

Earlier this week my daughter stayed home from school sick. She had thrown up the night before. I hate to say I enjoyed her being ill, but I really felt blessed to have her home with me. I don't get many days like that. By late morning she was feeling back to normal and we had a fun girl date baking caramel popcorn and watching a girly movie.

She was also able to have prayer journal time with us again. I miss having that with her. I wanted to share what she wrote.

    Please help everyone to have a good day. Help me to not throw up for the rest of the day and help me Gabe and Zech to have no cavities. (Dentist appointments) Help me tomorrow that I will not throw up.

    Thank you that I have a family and that Mom has the chance to go to Mexico. Help mom that she will have a safe flight to Mexico and help her to have fun at Christmas in Mexico.

    Thank you that Christmas is getting closer. Please help me to have enough time to make Christmas presents 4 everyone. Also help me to get enough money to buy a new cellphone (maybe a Samsung gravity).

    Please help me to not have very much make-up work at school. Thank you that I have the nicest teachers at school. Help Mrs. Singh to like my recipe for jello cookies. Thank you tomorrow's intramurals even if we play Mrs. Blakely's class again.

I believe God was very proud of Ariel too, and rewarded her for her sacrificial obedience. Last night she won the EBay auction for the Samsung gravity cell phone she really wanted, and I didn't have to pay a penny for it. We had to put a bid in before she went to bed, since the auction ended close to midnight. She prayed about the amount she was willing to spend. She won by 21 cents! Thank you, God, for answering my daughter's prayer and blessing her right back!

I challenge you to take a look at your giving this Christmas. Are you giving out of your surplus? Or are you giving to the point that it hurts? We cannot out give God; He loves to give it right back to us. I say this from experience. This Christmas let's try to be a blessing to others rather than expecting to be blessed ourselves.

“I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.” John 8:12

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