A lot goes on behind this blog of mine…
Hearts are lifted in prayer, poured out in tears, and shared in deep and lasting ties that are made in this worldwide web. Oh, how I love that so very much.
You see, words can be the bridge that builds gaps, both far and wide. In reaching out and taking risks and stepping forward- and sharing pieces and parts of ourselves~ we grow, we are inspired, we are moved.
So many precious people have touched me deeply and I have this incredible honor to know and love many that I have never met in person. It’s amazing to me how deep a friendship can dive despite the absence of hugs and facial expressions and the sound of a voice. There are those rare and raw moments shared that are as real as they come- and I have discovered the profound power of connection with hearts all over the globe.
I have this treasure abroad, over at Considerings. A true gem. I swear I love her so much it hurts- you know that ache of sheer joy and crushing sadness and all the emotions that come alive when you live alongside a true friend? Yeah, that.
Oh, how I adore her.
We’ve had more “talks” than most of my ‘real life’ friends really. That close.
So she sends me an email sharing the latest revelation that hit her heart. And I want to share it with you…
Because I believe we could all stand to be challenged and charged if we are open to God’s gentle nudges, and what she shares here is the perfect rendition of the response to His Call.
Oh, how I love that.
Soak it in, would you? Let Lizzi take you through her heart and thoughts and as you read this…
“Something happened today and it sent fireworks through my soul and I need to tell you about it. Well, I don’t need to. I won’t die if I don’t – but I want to, and I’d appreciate your feedback, because it has me terribly confused.
At church this morning we had the passage from (I think) Luke’s gospel, about the parable of the man who tried to store up all his worldly goods in a big barn, and then died; and then Jesus’ words to his disciples about considering the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, and how they don’t work nor worry about their appearance or where their next meal is coming from, but that God looks after them, and how much more precious WE are to God, and accordingly we get more looked after.
My initial, knee-jerk response was that people (and birds, and flowers) still die and atrocious things happen to them, so perhaps God wasn’t always the best at this. But then I thought a bit more, and I realized something – WE are charged with this – kind of on His behalf. As His followers, we have the responsibility for looking after each other, and this world. Which kind of gets God off a hook and us onto one, but more of that later. Perhaps.
Anyway, whilst I mulled these thoughts, a lady got up and talked about the headmaster of a school in Bupadengo, Uganda, which is our link parish. The man had been badly injured in a car accident recently, and she spoke a little about all the wonderful things he does, and how he makes such a difference, and that without any kind of social healthcare or welfare system there, this will have a devastating impact on his family in terms of finance. So she took a collection, right there and then, telling us that while it was easy for the church to write a cheque, what she was looking for was not this, but for us to give of our hearts, from our pockets, right now. Just whatever spare change we had on us.
All I had was a tissue and a set of keys. I tend to travel light, when I can. So I had nothing to give, but she said that people could donate later in the week, or contact her and pledge via email, so that wasn’t an issue, and I thought I’d definitely like to do that. Usually I’m more invested in supporting the very poor in my own city, but this felt right, because potentially this man’s entire family could have the balance tipped and end up in even more extreme poverty than they already are (cos it’s rural Uganda, after all…).
Then the sermon happened, and I thought about the man and his money and his big barn, and his death, and the vicar was telling us about how yes – we should make provision for the years ahead, and not to be irresponsible with our money, but that to build up treasure in heaven – to INVEST there, with our hearts and souls as well as our finances, is to put money into something which we WILL be able to ‘take with us’ when we die (and here I thought of that bit somewhere about doing works of silver and gold, which survive refining…do you remember that bit?). I also remembered a bit from a sermon a while ago, about our treasure being where our heart is, and to see where our heart is, look at our bank statement – look at what we invest in. I really liked that and I wondered what I might do.
I started to feel a bit guilty about my trip to America, and the money going into that, and that actually what I give is nowhere NEAR what I spend on myself. But then I thought a bit more about what I HAVE, and the juxtaposition that abundance is a state of mind rather than the amount of possessions we have, and into my mind popped my coin collection.
I don’t know how coins work in the US, but here in the UK, they have a habit of taking the £2 coins and the 50p’s and putting little wonderful designs on the ‘tails’ side, with a new design coming out every few months or so, with runs of special designs for e.g. the Olympics. My lovely, late Grandad used to collect coins, and I remember the magic of looking through these stern, austere folders filled with magical treasures from days gone by, and collecting coins was one of the ways which I enjoyed to feel close to him. He even gave me my first ever set of old money. SO I had built up a folder with probably not much value of current coins, but plenty, yaknow? And it struck me that here I was, not only greedily NOT sharing my money, but actually paying to STORE it and SAVE it. Because it’s pretty.
I have no social responsibility to maintain a coin collection – the Royal Mint do that.
I will likely have no granddaughters to show the coin collection to, and to reminisce about how coins were in the old days, and to show her how they’ve changed over the years. My Grandad is long dead and won’t know any of this – I was just trying to stay close to his memory, which I can do without actually collecting coins.
There is a man in Bupadengo who is seriously injured and whose family finances are on the line and who needs urgent financial aid.
This man is my brother.
I was convicted.
So at the end of the service I went to the lady and asked if she had ten minutes to spare (thinking that I’d nip home, grab all the coins and bring them back to her). She didn’t, but said that I could give her the donation later in the week, and in the back of my mind, I felt like God was looking at me with a bemused smile, saying “No, because it’s not good to make a show. The point isn’t to go and BE RADICAL VERY NOISILY, or to publicly give up the coin collection, which had such meaning to you, to help this guy. The point is to do it quietly, with one hand not knowing what the other does, otherwise you’ve already had your reward.”
So I stood and chatted with friends instead, and hugged my Goddaughter and decided to sort the donation out later. As it happened, it took me 15 minutes to even find the folder, which contained the coins, because clearly they’re not even important enough to me to KNOW WHERE THEY ARE! And this pleased me, because it seemed to make me think that they can DEFINITELY be donated and I won’t even miss them that much.
It was done, then, and put them in an envelope, and I thought that maybe instead of running back to church to tell what I’d done, I’d write about this and see if you wanted it for one of your Devotional Diary posts.
But then I got to thinking about a conversation I had last night with another blogger, when I told her about my plans for Christmas gifts. (Again, it’s another occasion for giving, and she said she thought that if I wrote about it, it would be a really good thing, because it might inspire other people as to a way that they could use the season for Good, and that it would bring people’s thoughts back to Christmas as a time for showing love to others.)
I was worried because I thought it might come across as judgmental of what other people were doing with their Christmas plans. Or worse, preachy, as though they should be doing what I was, or EVEN WORSE, as humble-braggy – a post full of “Look at me and all my Goodness”, none of which I’d be happy with.
And then after that, I thought that this might be the case if I wrote for your Devotional Diary on this subject – that it would be doing this act OUT LOUD and thereby getting all the applause or backlash which would follow, and then it would undermine the point of the act – to give quietly, just between me and God, because that’s what counts. (Well – that and looking after my brother in Uganda; we all belong to each other, don’t we, and life is SO much better if we all help and support one another, especially in our hour of need.)
So here’s the part where I’m shirking responsibility, Kitty, and where I need your feedback and advice – IS this a good thing to share? Is it something, which might prove to be a good testimony of how incipient greed is, and how easily it can creep into our lives? Or is it just me wanting public recognition and applause for something which should be kept quiet?
I know that potentially I’ve already tarnished this a bit because I’ve told you, but I think in my own little way, I’m willing to take that risk. It matters to me SO MUCH that we all look after one another in this world, because I think God *has* made it our job to care for each other, and to enable each other to thrive, knowing we’re loved by other people. THAT is what counts. I want to get behind that as an attitude to promote, and if it means potentially coming across as braggy or judgmental (which I still REALLY hope it doesn’t) then I am willing to have this published, Out Loud, for people to look at and…I guess just absorb how much importance I place on DOING THINGS for other people. I also guess it might help to hold me a little accountable to continue living in a manner which is consistent with that, which can only be a good thing.
But as I say – I don’t know, and I’ve cleaned the house and prayed about writing this and I got nothing. So I’m foisting the responsibility onto your shoulders, dear, because I know that you’re good at listening to God and hearing what He tells you.
I don’t know what He’s telling me, but I know that this morning He told me a few good things, and showed me some good ways which I can make changes in my life to give more support to those in need, and that matters to me, so I’m going to be doing them.
Let me know what you think. Love you HUGE xXx
I didn’t edit ANY of this- well aside from her odd British spelling errors… (hee hee Lizzi!!!)
It’s perfect as is.
The profound path a heart can take to be challenged, changed and charged.
Dare I ask you?
Open your heart.
Allow the change.
Take on the charge.
There is a brother or sister out there in this world needing you.
And Lizzi my dear love,
I couldn’t think of a more powerful testimony than reading how you processed a message, opened your heart, and followed God’s call.
I see Purpose all over this.
Ohhhh bless your heart and your boots and your soul, Kitty, for this. Thank you – your last bit actually really clears things up a bit for me, although I’m still a bit anxious.
THANK YOU for wrapping this in such lovely words of yours 😀 You are a wonder and a star and all things shining bright 😀
Oh, Lizzi, this was beautiful! You are such a lovely person. This is truly inspiring. God bless you (or your boots, whatever). 🙂
*grins* Boots. Boobs. Whatever. Don’t mind really as long as it gets blessed 😉
Thank you, though. I’m not a lovely person YET – I just try to be when I can. I’m learning.
For some reason I couldn’t post my comment separately, so I’m commenting as a reply…as long as it posts! I just wanted to say that the fact that Lizzi took so much time to write her thoughts to you Chris and so eloquently expressed her challenge about that was huge. After being in a position where we needed lots of help last year, now all I want to do is give back too. I never thought about the “quiet” vs. “out loud” aspect of helping others. I think if we are helping for the right reasons (not for the recognition, but for the people/cause in need), whether it comes across as public or private isn’t as important as whether it was truly genuine, which in your case so obviously is…
Thanks so much, Emily. Intention does come into it, I’m sure. I can’t think of any other reasons for giving than for glory or in order to help. Perhaps some people also give for tax breaks though. I just thought of that.
But I definitely think that helping other people and recognising the humanity and the worth in people we don’t know or may not meet or just hear about or…who somehow end up in our emotional world and matter…that’s vital because we all need a hand sometimes, in whatever capacity.
None of us can go it alone – we’re definitely all stronger together.
Well done you for giving back having been in a position to receive. I know that I’m a far worse and less gracious recipient of help than I am a giver of it.
Janine Huldie says
Aww, Lizzi is truly one of my favorites, too and loved how she shared this recent challenge to change here with all of us. Definitely can say it isn’t easy and have been challenged myself in the past, but looks like Lizzi is on the right path and hope I am too most times! Hugs and thanks for sharing with us today 😉
Bless your boots, SantyKid 🙂 Well, take up the challenge, if it happens again. I bet you’d rise to it really well *hugs*
I think that my favorite sermon on this topic is one from King Benjamin. He starts by telling the people that he has served them, not to boast, but because when you serve others, you serve God. (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/2?lang=eng) Then he continues by teaching that we all should serve each other, but that we need to serve wisely, as “it is not requisite that a man run faster than he has strength.” (https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/4?lang=eng)
We can not judge the strength of others, but we can, with God’s help, decide how to best serve others using our time, talents, and material goods. As we do, we realize our own helplessness–we are not enough to save everyone–and we rely more on God–who is enough to save everyone–but we can also know we are doing what we can to help relieve suffering here.
Thanks Kristi, for leaving this comment. I like the idea that this service towards others really counts for something, and that it’s okay (ish – I’m still wavering, really) to say that it’s happening.
I do wonder sometimes, about it all, but I think in the end, my heart wants to love, and part of that is recognising the humanity and the need in other people – particularly those who are marginalised or in trouble, and DOING something.
I know I think a lot, but I act, too.
I’m so glad you shared this, because it really touched my heart this morning. I know there are things I’m holding onto in my life that could be put to better uses, and could help others. I’m off to think about them now.
Tracie, you’re AWESOME, and thanks for sharing this, too. I hope that you have good thinks and come to some helpful solutions. Bless your boots for taking this in the spirit with which it was meant.
another jennifer says
Love this! I have always wondered if I should write about philanthropy and my part in it. I certainly don’t share everything I do, but I do share a lot. I also share what others do to give back. What I’ve found is that it does inspire others to think and do some good.
Yes – that was my struggle, and one of the reasons I was so hesitant but also so keen to share my intentions and thoughts behind the action.
It is a hard line to walk. When I give money or objects, I always try to do it anonymously. I don’t want the person to know it was me for a variety of reasons, one of which is I don’t want to be flashy in my giving. No one needs to know what I’m doing.
When we see others doing good, we are more inclined to do good. There is so much bad in the world, we need to combat it with good. I don’t want people to stop doing good deeds simply because “no one else is doing it”. We must show that there are people doing good deeds and helping one another. (Because yes, it is our job to do take care of one another. It’s why we were put on this earth.) So I have written about the good we do every once in a while. I am uncomfortable every time.
It’s why I like our thankful hop. In those I can highlight the people in my life who are doing good, letting them be an example instead of writing only about the good we do. (Although, I do realize I wrote about Mrs. G’s yard this week. I really felt like I was braggy when I wrote it, but people keep telling me they like hearing about it.)
Keep doing good, dear friend.
I didn’t think you were braggy about it at all, but I am right there with you on the discomfort. I still have a nagging feeling that I did the wrong thing here, but…who knows. In the end, I know that seeing other people doing good things is something which helps to inspire me to get my act together and do some, too. That, and seeking the opportunities.
I want as many people as possible to take care of as many other people as possible, and if that is achieved or even caused to be thought about by me sharing what I’ve done, then…that kind of seems to make it worthwhile.
But I don’t like it much.
I’m glad you share in the thankful hop though, because it does inspire me to do better, and thinking about Mrs G’s pleasure in the willingness of you all to come back year after year and rake her yard, and how she thinks of you as ‘hers’…it clearly makes SUCH a difference to her, and that’s so worthwhile, and so lovely to read about.
I’ll keep trying to do Good 🙂 You keep on being a good role model 😉
I’m so glad you shared. You two are something else! I hope her US trip includes a big hug from you. Or 17,000 hugs.
I would think… yes…
Doing something loudly or quietly.. something so good. I guess I’d be a fan of either thing, because in the end, you’re still giving.
Hehehe I’ve been reliably informed that I’m going to be tackled to the ground with one of the famous ‘Chrissy Hugs’ and be kissed all over my face, and we’re going to have peanut butter crackers and cocoa (to be fair, we’ll probably share with Cass and Cade and Derek) and am going to be thoroughly mauled to pieces with love.
I can’t wait, and I definitely think that 17,000 is going to be nearer the mark!
As to the giving – yes, the good thing still gets done, however I go about it, and that’s great. I guess I was worried about what kind of judgement I’d be on the receiving end of, for trying to appear like a do-gooder or a bragger.
What Lizzi writes is beautiful and thoughtful and true, and Lizzi, how wonderful for you to quietly give what you have to give. No fanfare, no holding on to what can help another.
But you know what really touches me? The friendship here. The way the two of you value each other so highly, the way you converse so honestly, the way you each help the other become better at doing good in this world.
You two are both gems! Sparkly ones!
It’s only quiet if I don’t keep publishing it, Sarah, and that’s why I was so hesitant to share this with anyone…BUT it has started some good conversations, and if anyone dares to think I’m too good, I’m sure that I can rustle up some historical things which will restore balance 😉
But thanks for the encouragement 🙂
Chris’s friendship is SO important to me. I can only say that if anyone is fortunate enough to find themselves on the receiving end of her affection, it is an unstoppable force. I think she’s been one of the key people in teaching me that it’s okay to be open and honest with people about my feelings, especially positive ones (which, historically, have often been rejected, and so hidden). Gradually I am learning to admit deep affection for others, and use that tricky ‘L-word’ which trips me up so much because I’m always afraid of it being wrong or unwanted or mocked. But Chris…she just loves SO many people, SO much, all in capital letters, out loud and without qualm, and it’s inspiring to behold and incredible to be on the receiving end of. And it teaches me 🙂
As to the sparkling, my dear – you’re good at it too 🙂
You KNOW what you’re doing right? UGLY CRY over here!!!!
I want to climb through this computer and SQUEEZE YOU SOOOOO HARD!!!!! Yes- suffocate you with the ENORMOUS love I have for you…
Not gonna let you go….
Holding on for LIFE. <3
You KNOW I know, Kitty. But as fun as it is, I also mean EVERY word.
Get yer butt through this screen and hug me then 😀
*hugs back, just as hard*
All of this is precious and I think it is great that you were able to ‘share’ your heart with the encouragement of a good friend. That’s what this life is all about. Love and relationships. That is truly it. Loving people and connecting.
Personally, I just want one thing……for someone to someday say ‘bless your boots’ to me. Now, that is precious! 🙂
Ohhhh really TRULY bless your boots, Candice, because you made me smile all the way up to my eyes with your comment 🙂 😀
Yes. Called to love others…that’s where I increasingly find that my heart is leading me.
And Chris – SUCH a fabulous encourager and a wonderful source of support and understanding. I’m so very blessed by her friendship 🙂
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
What a beautiful, wonderful, testimony and post. Lizzy… and thank you for sharing Chris.
God KNOWS where your heart is at. You’re not giving for applause or accolades. You’re giving because you were called to give.
It’s so funny because I recently struggled with a very similar (do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing) moment too.
Thanks again for sharing.
Without saying what it was, once you had decided what to do about that moment, did you feel peaceful about it? Because I still feel a bit conflicted about this.
And no – the LAST thing I would do is do this for applause or recognition (hence the conflict, because I can see how it could easily be misconstrued that way) but because I know for myself how very easy it is to invest in ourselves and the pretty little treasures which take our fancy, sometimes to the detriment (actively or passively) of others. THAT was what I wanted to demonstrate, and I know that I’m absolutely very guilty of this on many, many counts.
Thanks for the encouragement though – I really appreciate your support.
Hi Chris and Lizzy! I think it’s always an issue to decide if what we do is worth talking about, or if it seems ‘braggy’. But if we don’t speak out, then who will be inspired? There’s a way to spread ideas of helping in a humble way, and in an overbearing way, like “Yay for me.”
I think it’s wonderful to tell people how they can make a difference through real examples of gratitude and giving. I appreciated this a lot!
Ceil, thanks for your response to this – you’re right, there’s more than one way to go about sharing this kind of thing, and I don’t think I came across as the ‘yay me’ type, but…still that anxiety nags that it could still be misconstrued as false humility. That said, if people still take from it how very easily I get caught into investing in myself and my wants and desires, then perhaps there’s still a lesson which can be taken away.
I’m glad you found it inspiring though, and thanks for taking the time to comment and say so 🙂
I love this. Every loving, innocent, giving word of it! I absolutely agree with the other comments that sharing what we are giving is a great way to inspire others. I have certainly been inspired here today. Thank you so much, Lizzi and Chris!
Ohh thank you Candace, for such straightforward encouragement. Despite my waverings, it seems to have been okay, which is a relief 🙂
I love the story that Lizzie shared about the storing up of treasures and the whole idea she had and the way she gave.
Also, I’m so glad that you shared this because I used to follow Lizzie’s blog and then I just realized that I haven’t been getting them in my feed – gonna check that out right now!
Aw HEY THERE Kim! 😀 How have you been?
And thank you – I’m glad that you took this piece the right way – that’s kind of the part I wanted to highlight – how easy I find it to ‘treasure’ entirely the wrong things *sigh* STILL, this time I noticed and sorted it out.
And thanks for missing me a bit – that’s lovely! 🙂
Sarah @Thank You Honey says
So beautiful and touching. You both inspired me today! Love that! (((Big Hugs))) to you both!
Hey Sarah – sorry this took so long to get back to you! Eek! I’m glad to know you enjoyed this, and I really appreciate you taking the time to say you liked it. Thank you 🙂
there’s such a good message here!
In our home – we have already told our kids that there will be on Christmas list this year. (but I mean of course, their father and I will buy them a present – we aren’t that mean! we just don’t want the Greedy Gimme List done.) Also, each child will be given $20 and they have to come up with a way to spend that money for someone else — someone in need.
We aren’t doing this to look like awesome parents – the coveting was getting way too big in this house. The demands expensive and outrageous. Nay, Nay little ones. You have what you need, and that’s more than many. There is a lesson to be learned.
I really like the way you’re using your money and engaging your children to care for other people. That’s pretty awesome. I know that in my house, as a kid, there was a time when all of a sudden, ‘token presents’ were instilled, with the extra money going to charity, because my sister and I had become grabby.
It’s been a good lesson – Husby and I are doing that very thing this year.
sisters from another mister says
So glad that I stopped by here today .. .what a find and a blessing.
My heart feels good just reading these words xxxx
Thank you for taking the time to leave such a lovely comment 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed it
It sounds like you are I are cut from the same cloth. I struggle w/ this all the time. I call it wealth guilt. I drive up to my lovely home and feel guilty that there are so many in our town who are probably freezing tonight in theirs. We give to several charities and our church and I volunteer but I still have a feeling that it’s not enough. On the flip side I am constantly trying to figure out how to pay for home improvements or go on vacations…things we don’t have to have but I would like to have.
I think that the fact that you are willing to let go of material possessions that mean something to you to help others speaks volumes. I also struggle w/ how much to reveal about what I do/give for others. I don’t like to humble-brag…but we have to be examples of Christ’s love in deed and word. I think we can do it w/ grace and in a way that puts the attention on others instead of ourselves. If your generosity inspires someone to do the same then it was worth it.
Stephanie, I nodded my head in agreement to EVERYTHING you said. That’s such a good way of putting it. And I’m pretty sure that the way to assuage the guilt is to give – probably more sacrificially than either of us manage at the moment (hence the residual guilt?)
But no – it’s not guilt, is it – it’s…greed? Because I suppose in a way, the money, opportunity to make it and chance to spend it on lovely things, is all BLESSING, but then it’s our responsibility to share….
Which we are. I guess there’s always room for improvement though, or we’d be perfect and the world would break.