Last week my final babies turned two. Wow. For eight years I've held on to high chairs, infant bathtubs, totes of clothes, strollers, and countless other baby items. But they are two. And there are no more coming. Five is good for us, thank you very much! No one in this house needs an infant bathtub again. There's no need for an entire tub of 6-9 month clothes. Not to mention the giant tote of baby girl clothes from the sole girl that is almost four. Oy. Let it go!
This summer I started sorting through all of it so we could get it out of the house. I belong to several local buy/sell/trade groups on Facebook and I'm part of a few local mom groups as well and I knew if I listed items for sale I'd eventually get rid of them. But God prompted me to give generously instead. We had several friends expecting kids and both of Micah's siblings have boys younger than Cade and Anders. I packed up everything into various piles and gave it all away to those that expressed an interest. Several tried to pay me but I declined. I wasn't in this for the money, I was in it to be a blessing to others.
You see, back when we were first expecting our oldest, Parker, lots of people poured out blessings to us. Some gave us their gently used baby items, items that we got lots of use out of until we passed them on again! Others bought or made amazing gifts for us. I'm not sure where we would have been without the generosity of others! Obviously you don't need every contraption under the sun for baby but it was such an incredible feeling to have people that were willing to bless us in that way.
So back to this summer. When the chance came to pay the blessings we had received forward to others? There was no doubt that this was what we were supposed to do. I remember how grateful we were to get items for the baby from others and they expected nothing in return. And now I love seeing those items being put to use! I smile every time I see one of Mercedes outfits on a different little girl knowing it's getting loved again.
As I was thinking about generosity and giving this passage from 2 Corinthians came up.
I decided in my heart to give these things and did so cheerfully. I could have made a profit but instead I gave what was extra to us and wouldn't you know but God blessed us right back!
Last week there was a knock at the door. One of our neighbors came to ask if we were in need of a bunk bed. She had bought one for her girls but they no longer needed it. We had been thinking of getting a new bunk for the big boys but knew it was something we needed to save up for. I asked her how much she wanted for it and she said nothing. Nothing? She just wanted it out of her garage. I talked it over with Micah and within a few days we had it in our garage and over the weekend we put it up in the boys room.
This incredible gift from our neighbor saved us at least $200! That's $200 that we were slowly starting to save up for but were no where near having. We had planned on buying them a new bunk so we could put their current bunk/loft into Mercedes room so she'd have more floor space to play. Now she has her new bed with a little play space underneath.
I didn't give our friends and family the baby items we were done with in order to get a blessing down the road. It wasn't even on my mind! My heart wanted to help others with what we had and to pay forward what others had done for us. God has continued to "increase [our] store of seed" so that we can be generous with what he has given us. His word is true!
Decide in your heart what you will give, whether it be your time, physical items, money, or some other way, and do so with a cheerful heart. Delight in the act of giving and watch as God uses that generosity in amazing ways!
In what ways do you delight in giving? Have you seen God increase your seeds so that you can sow even more abundantly when you cheerfully give? What prevents you from being a cheerful giver?
I'm linking this up with Kristin Hill Taylor for Three Word Wednesday.