I want to share with you an experience I had last month that brought me to tears and pulled me closer to God. I want to share it with you as my testimony, my faith story, so that you’ll be invited to be pulled in closer to God as well.
I bought some boots.
More precisely, I bought boys’ snow boots, size 2 for a Kindergartener (with big feet!) who is in my son’s class and needed boots.
I was bundling my kids up one cold day and sending them on their way puffy and protected in their coats, boots, hats, gloves, and neck warmers, and I felt grateful. I said a prayer of thanksgiving that we have the means in our family to provide for the needs of our kids so they don’t even think twice about running out to play in the snow when it arrives. Then I had a heart tug for the mommas and daddies that were gathering their kids that morning and worrying about frozen little fingers and toes during recess later that day. I said a prayer for those families too, asking God to reach in with comfort and help. Then I sent a quick email to my Kindergartener’s teacher telling her that my husband and I would like to help make sure all the kids in her class had what they needed to safely and comfortably play in the snow this winter. (Well, actually, my first email was to my husband asking if he would join me, then I emailed the teacher.)
I don’t know what I expected to hear back from her, but my mind started spinning a bit. I wondered if I’d made a promise too big for us to fulfill, what if her list was longer than we could afford? What if there are rules or privacy laws I’d be asking her to break and making her uncomfortable by asking? Maybe she’d think something about us…just what I wasn’t sure, but I was instantly a little anxious.
She replied quickly with a very kind note and told me that one boy needed boots. She’d purchased everything else for him recently, but didn’t find boots in his size while she shopped (dear God, we are blessed by the teachers of our world!). So I bought some boots.
Here’s the testimony part: buying those boots had an effect on me that still moves me to tears as I type this today. Those boots have hopefully kept that little boy’s feet warm and dry this season, but those boots did a lot more than that, they stretched my heart to the next bigger size.
I have known for a long time that giving is a spiritual discipline. The act of giving is important for the giver, not just the receiver. And I was reminded again, profoundly, of that truth, by those boots! One Kindergartener has warmer feet because of our gift. But I went home and my husband and I revisited (again) our budget and giving and made some adjustments to a few things here and there to make sure we could give more to the organizations, projects, and people to whom we feel God inviting us to give. We had to rearrange our planning and spending to make sure there was room to give more. Today. Not later, like after we’ve saved more or have more or paid off more or (insert another reason here). We are giving more today.
My heart stretched because of those boots. More people and places will have what they need because of those boots. I have a story to share with my kids (and the readers of this blog) because of those boots. God pulled me (and maybe others?) closer because of those boots.
Give some more.
Give until you feel it.
Give until you are stretched into a little bit of fear and anxiety and have to rely on God to make it alright again. Hearts are stretchy and God will make it bigger to hold the next size.
Give. So you can feel how warm and cozy and lovely those boots are too.
Blessings for the Journey,
Brigit Stevens, Associate Conference Minister