Welcome to 2013!
I’d like to start off the year by telling you the story of our December:
Somewhere near the end of November, Handsome Hippie Hubby came home from work acting squirrelly.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Nothing,” he said.
“Did you have a bad night?”
“No. It was fine.”
“You’re sure everything is OK?”
“Yes. Everything is fine.”
Finally, he worked himself up to it. “There’s something I need to talk to you about.”
Oh boy. I never know what’s going to follow those words.
I never could have guessed.
“I think we should give away 50% of our income in December.”
We had a day or two until rent was due and we weren’t going to make it. Electricity, water and the car payment were all falling behind. 50%, eh?
We already gave 10% to the church. That was something we’d agreed on years ago. But FIFTY?!
“I feel strongly that I’m being led to do this. I think about money all the time. I obsess over it. I worry about it. I lose sleep over it. I need to let it go and feel good about it. I can feel good about doing good things for people. I think it will help me.”
I knew this was one of those times I needed to be quiet and let him lead our household. Giving so much seemed counter-intuitive in every way and in all honesty I was a little scared. But who am I to question the still small voice, whispering in my husband’s ear?
So we embarked on 31 days of extreme (for us) giving.
We gave to the local food pantry and bought toys for Toys for Tots. We gave to a young single mother we’d once seen give to someone else. We gave to co workers and neighbors and the Salvation army. Sweet Hippie Daughter helped us decide where we should give. It’s sort of a lot of work to give so much!
We kept everything anonymous as much as possible. It was important to both of us that people not feel “weird” about getting a gift from us and we weren’t doing it for the recognition. We were just stepping out in faith.
It got really scary when we got shut off notices and demanding phone calls.
We kept reminding ourselves and each other that “today we have everything we need. Tomorrow will work out.”
We kept giving. We gave to United Way and we bought gas for strangers and we paid tuition for music students.
After a while it started to be more exciting than scary.
An odd thing happened. HHH started earning more. Not every night, but as Christmas approached and his restaurant got busier he would end up making so much, many nights, that “our half” would be as much as he would normally have made anyway.
We got $1,000 for food! That’s a lot of food!
We received a letter that our water bill and half of our electric bill had been paid!
We were able to make a payment on the van (only 4 more to go!).
Rent was late, but it did get paid.
Then the Free Stuff Train rolled into our world…
We got a new sofa and recliner for free! The young couple down the road had just purchased it a few months ago and they had split up and no one wanted it. Would we like it? Yes, please!
A friend said, “We upgraded our old-style flat screen to an LED. Want it? You can have the stand too.” Yes, please! (Our old TV was one step past the days of 2 knobs on the front and you had to use a special adapter to hook up the DVD player. It was an OLD TV)
On Freecycle someone offered a ridiculously nice telescope, something that Sweet Hippie Daughter had been asking for. Thanks to Freecycle we also found a Stitch doll she had asked for. We found skis at a consignment shop for $7, and a snowboard for $12. Santa’s work was done and he’d spent less than $20! We’d saved so much, HHH couldn’t help but bring home a new bike for our slightly spoiled girl on Christmas Eve. It was certainly her most “prosperous” Christmas morning ever!
There have been moments when we’ve wondered, “are we really doing the right thing? Is this irresponsible? Was this really a prompting by God or just a random thought we followed?”
With one day left to go, we got the best possible answer to quiet any remaining doubt. HHH said that he felt we should give to a family we know. They were having car trouble. We had $215 to give so we handed it to them. They were stunned. They had just gotten the estimate for the repairs. It would be $200.
HHH and I just wept. God had answered our question. Yes, we were doing the right thing. We were following His voice.
A former pastor of mine used to frequently remind us that, “your life may be the only gospel that some people ever hear.” This is a comment that has stuck with me in a very life changing way.
How can I tell the Good News of God’s love for us and of our redemption without using words?
Giving of our financial resources is certainly one way and we have been truly blessed beyond measure by having the opportunity to give radically this past month. I’m not saying that everyone should do what we did, but I am suggesting that if you are clinging to something in the material world and you find a way to let go of it, God may bless you with something even better. Have faith. Your Father (or Mother, if you prefer) has promised to provide for you.
As the old saying goes, though, “money isn’t everything.” What can I do to “be the Gospel?” What else can I do to grow my faith and have a better relationship with my Creator? What else can I do to bring glory to God?
I’ve been thinking about ways I could refine and focus my blog this year, so when WordPress challenged bloggers to start a 52 week project in January these ideas all ran toward each other like the people in the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Commercials.
In 2013 I’ll be blogging about “52 Ways To Be A Better Christian.”
Each week I will do something (or refrain from doing something) in order to strengthen my faith. Then I will share what I’ve done and, hopefully, start a discussion about how we who believe that Jesus’ message of faith and love and peace and redemption is truly the greatest Good News that has ever been given can help one another grow into the men and women God would have us be.
I invite you all to join me for this discussion and others at my new blog, “The Curious Theologian.”
Hope to see you there!
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort? Why not follow LazyHippieMama on WordPress, by email or Facebook to get all the updates. If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!