Jesica Swanson: Brave Generosity

generosityI’m a hypocrite.

You see, I read books about simple living and generosity and yet I have a LOT of stuff. I basically live like a king.

Then Debbie Savik comes to our last MOPS meeting and reminds me that my messy house and mountains of laundry are merely more indicators of my obvious excess. I have so much stuff that I can’t even handle it.

Throw in some Ann Voskamp quotes from friends, plus entering the season of thankfulness, and here I sit counting my BAZILLION blessings.

But shouldn’t all this thanksgiving result in generosity? How can I count all my blessings and not remember my sisters and their babies, around the world and in our town, that are in need. If I want to raise thankful, generous kids, I’d better start walking the walk.

Sometimes as moms we begin to think things like I’m JUST a mom or I can barely handle my own needs and those of my family without adding to our budget or our schedule or I’m not significant enough or I don’t have means enough to give…

Don’t be mad, but those are flat out lies.

In our group of 64 moms, world-changing things are happening.
-One mom, with the help of many women in this group just raised $15,000 to help her bring her sweet adoptive daughter home from China.
-One mom works with YoungLives to encourage and educate teen mothers.
– One mom helped organize a free closet for foster parents, so they can get the things they need for these vulnerable children in our own community.
-One mom just returned from 2 weeks serving, and being encouraged by, the people Rwanda.

Not to mention the innumerable other ladies in our group that serve their neighbor, their families, serve on boards of non-profits, or volunteer for community events.

You see I bet each one of you has the means to send a card to tell someone that you are thinking of them. You probably have enough money to put a few pennies in the red kettles at Christmas time. You probably have enough stuff to rummage through and find your BEST hand-me-downs or old toys that could benefit a struggling mom who needs them. I’d venture to say that most of us even have a few things with tags still on them that we could give away.

We have incredible opportunies to give, not just money, but time, or prayer, or encouragement to people. I think we are minimizing the power of moms to change the world when we shut ourselves off to that opportunity.

I’m preaching to the choir, ladies. I’m right here with you, so this year I’m making a game plan. I’m choosing to be intentional this holiday season, with my time, my money, and my energy, because I want my kids to know what giving looks like, because thanks to their grandma’s they sure know how getting feels like.

  1. Get rid of the old – This looks different now that my kids are getting older and understanding that we can’t keep EVERYHTING. When they were smaller it looked like me sneaking things out of their toy boxes in the night while they slept. Now it looks like us doing it together, recognizing that this or that never gets played with or worn, or we never really needed that snow cone maker anyway.
  2. Find places to give elsewhere. I have included at the end of this post a list of opportunities, but I bet if you just looked around your neighborhood you could find one on your own. Raking leaves for your elderly neighbor is just as generous as sending your tax refund to Uganda. Find a need that fits your family’s capabilities, but don’t be afraid to stretch yourselves a little. For us this also means being very rigid with our time and saying “no” to some things that we may have felt obligated to in the past, to make room for the best things for us this season.
  3. Receive with gratitude. Our extended family never gets the memo that we want to have less and do more, so receive with joy, because who are we kidding, everyone loves getting a gift.

So lets, count our blessings, one by one, and then practice some BRAVE GENEROSITY in the weeks ahead.

Resources: (Feel free to leave your favorites in the comments!)

To help you get in the giving spirit:
The Advent Conspiracy
How Rich are You?

Local Charitable Organizations:

YoungLives
Hope Pregnancy Center
The Samaritan House
Intermountain
Ray of Hope
The Abby Shelter

Global Charitable Organizations:

Operation Christmas Child
Blood Water Mission
Compassion
The Exodus Road
Mercy House
Bring Love In

JesicaJesica Swanson currently serves as Coordinator at Bigfork MOPS. She is mother to Boden & Isley, and wife of Norse. You can find her random thoughts on spiritual life, marriage, motherhood, fun products, and whatever else pops into her head at http://www.atleastwecanlaugh.com.

header photo credit: youngdoo via photopin cc

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