As a parent I am constantly having teachable moments…”don’t play with the computer wires cause they can shock you”, “don’t touch the hot oven”, “go down the stairs this way”…teachable moments are not uncharted territory for this teacher mama, being a first grade teacher came with all sorts of teachable moments
and I’m not just talking about the phonics and math, but the throwing rocks on the playground and writing on the underside of their desks types of teachable moments…what did come as a little bit of a surprise to me in this parenting business, is the innumerable amount of teachable moments my 1 1/2 year old daughter would have with me…she is CONSTANTLY teaching me lessons and for this I am grateful. This topic of giving from our lack has been on my heart for quite some time now and we just did a family photo shoot for Mother’s Day, so I thought this would be a perfect time to share two wonderfuls with you all, these precious pics taken by our resident photographer and a current lesson my daughter is helping me learn.
If you have spent any time at all with my girl you have definitely seen her eating a banana, my girl LOVES her some bananas…so you can imagine that when she sees anyone else with a banana she thinks “they must want to share it with me”. While waiting for the tram to come a couple of months ago she spotted a banana eater and gave him a smile…instantly this banana eater was breaking a banana off his bunch and passing it our way.
The thing is this banana eater was homeless, wearing his only clothes that he owned (the tattered, stained look of them and the smell gave it away), carrying a plastic shopping bag with his only earthly possessions, and a bit under dressed for the cooler temperature.
I imagined these bananas were his food for the day
while my precious daughter would be happy to live on 3 bananas in a day, I don’t know any adult who would find that to be a satisfying diet or maybe even for the next few days, and he was willing, HAPPILY WILLING to give one third of his food to my smiling 1 1/2 year old little girl.
Agnes found this whole exchange normal…she is in complete trust that her needs will always be met and that all bananas have her name on it…she isn’t being selfish about it, it’s just a fact of life to her “have a banana, share a banana”…at home everything my girl has she shares selflessly with mama, including lots of pre-chewed items strait from her mouth to mine…she often tries this sharing approach with others, mama and daddy’s friends, strangers even
they usually are more reluctant to partake in the pre-chewed offerings…so this banana exchange was so natural and normal to my girl.
We kindly declined the banana that day
and still I am not sure if that was the right thing to do, we had our own banana in the diaper bag and I couldn’t justify taking one third of this man’s nutrition for the day. The whole situation has stuck with me. It reminded me of the widow’s mite in the Bible. This man was so willing, happily willing to give to us in his lack…am I willing to do that?…are you? Why was he so willing, and why was the widow in the Bible so willing?…I think the answer to that may be similar, if not the same as the answer to why my daughter is so willing to give…
This man was cheerful, much like my little Agnes, about his bananas…he was grateful for them…he maybe it was that he felt he had nothing to lose by giving the banana away, maybe he felt he only had a cheerful exchange to gain…Agnes brought joy to his life
a life that perhaps isn’t chock full of joy in those moments after he offered the banana, they smiled and laughed at each other and made funny faces…it was all in innocence.
Fast forward to about a month ago, we were on a tram and had a similar experience with a homeless lady this time.
The homeless lady had a couple of torn bags carrying her wears and possessions, her clothes were dirty, and her face was worn and weathered…but her smile was bright when her eyes met Agnes’. In one of her bags the lady had some cookies
they looked cheap and I would guess they were much of her meal plan for the day and instantly she began offering Agnes some of her treats. I politely refused again I’m still not sure if that was right, was it polite to refuse? Lord lead me in this in the future, I don’t want to refuse out of fear and explained that Agnes didn’t need the sugar.
The kind lady then began offering Agnes things she had in her bag, like an old magazine, a piece of paper…the lady so wanted to gift my sweet girl when really we should have been gifting her.
As we were leaving to get off the tram I asked my husband for the change in his pocket and gave it to the lady. While change here in forints is worth more than change in America, it wasn’t a lot of money…we weren’t really giving from our lack, that was from our abundance.
Since moving to Hungary, selling our home and almost all of our possessions (furniture, kitchen stuff, decorations, clothing, bedding, you name it we sold it), taking missionary teaching positions with low income we have NEVER ONCE gone without our basic needs!
God has provided for us every step of the way…we always have food in our home, we have an apartment, we have clothes, and God has gone above and beyond and allowed for us to travel and do so many amazing things.
It was easy to give that lady the change in our pockets that day, that little bit of money wouldn’t be missed…but how often do we give from our lack?
Being our only child and our first, Agnes doesn’t lack for anything…I would like to say she is not spoiled
you can form your own opinion on that, but keep it to yourself haha but just loved and cared for well. She is fed, this mama is a feeder (and she needs to eat lots to gain weight), she is clothed (quite stylishly if I say so myself, thanks cuzzies, aunts, uncles, grandparents for the sweet outfits), she has an abundance of toys, and is loved and fawned over by everyone who knows her.
My heart was definitely stirred and still is by the exchanges we had with the homeless people trying to give to us
us who lack for nothing out of their lack. I keep mulling this concept over in my head and heart…
I keep thinking about the widow in the Bible and her mite that she gave…
I keep thinking I want to give from my lack, how can I be more like these selfless homeless people we met or the widow and her mite? I want to learn from this…Lord teach me to be more generous, teach me to give even when it might hurt to give…
Watching Agnes and being with her day in and day out I have learned a more valuable lesson from her about all of this. It’s not about giving from our lack, but about knowing that we have no lack and that at the same time all we have is lack. It’s about knowing that all we have comes from the Father and therefore it’s not ours to give, but He who gives to us so that we can give and share freely.
My sweet girl feels safe and secure with her parents (PRAISE GOD) and knows she will be fed
maybe even fed more than she wants to be fed and clothed and played with. She has no problem popping that soggy chip that she wanted so badly out of her mouth and into someone elses…she gives hugs that come with a grunt cause they are so tight and strong and kisses that sometimes hurt, but she gives and gives and gives…she gives joy to people literally everywhere she goes…she isn’t stingy with her smiles…my girl gives life and love and all she has to give because she is secure that she won’t go without.
All this time that I have been mulling these givers over in my mind I was focused on the fact that they have nothing, and while I still feel there are much needed lessons to learn in these stories I also have learned that in the big picture I have nothing, I am nothing.
Giving from my lack is also giving from HIS BOUNTY. All that we have is from above and it is given to me freely so that I can freely share it. We have definitely had times when we tangibly felt like we had lack, we were low on cash and ends were hard to meet. We have had times when we felt like God was blessing us tremendously with adventure and financial abilities. In good times and bad times all that we have
not just financially is from the Father.
Like my daughter is secure in her home, I should be secure in my Father’s plan…I should be secure in knowing that the Lord will take care of me and provide for me…I should be secure enough to pour out and give to others because all I have is His.
My baby girl is showing me how to trust. She trusts me completely! She trusts her daddy completely! She knows she doesn’t have to worry, because Mama and Daddy have got her and got it all covered. She is carefree and trucking around like she owns the place
little does she know, Mama and Daddy don’t even own the place hahaha completely sure that she is okay!
If my precious girl is so sure of us mere mortal human beings to protect her and provide for her, why shouldn’t I be so much more secure that my God will protect and provide?!?!
I’m learning to trust God more and more each day. As I look into my sweet girl’s big brown eyes and see her trust and love I want to be like her…I want to love and trust God like she loves and trusts me.
In all this learning to trust Him more, I want to also be more free to give. I want God to teach me how to give it all…He gives it all to me, can’t I trust Him to take care and keep providing even when we give it all away?
I am so thankful for how my tiny peanut of a girl lives life so LARGE and in CHARGE! Look at her smile, it covers her whole face. She shows me daily
hourly, minutely that God provides and loves us, I mean He gave her to us. Agnes is an answer to many prayers and she made me a mama, but now she is teaching me…she is teaching me how to be selfless, how to give from my lack literally giving from my lack of sleep when she keeps me up at night haha, how to love like crazy…but most of all she is teaching me how to own it and walk proud that I am a daughter of the king! Agnes is walking, almost all the time now unassisted, proud all over the place, proud that she is a daughter who is loved. I want to be like her and walk and stumble and get back up again knowing that my Father takes care of all my needs and I just get to live in JOY. I have a whole lotta lack but at the same time I lack for nothing, cause my Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills, my Father reigns, my Father redeems, my Father provides, my Father…
I pray that we continue to recognize our lack and at the same time recognize our lack for nothing…I pray that we/I continue to grow and learn from my baby girl…I pray that God helps us/me to give more and worry less…