“Tomorrow is Tia Rach’s birthday.”
I looked down into those ocean blue eyes and watched the sparkle of excitement dance into them. “Tomorrow?” His eyebrows arched high. I could tell his mind jumped into high gear.
“Maybe you can make her a birthday present,” I suggested.
“Or BUY her one!” His idea was apparently much more appealing.
“Like what?” I wondered.
His eyes shone, “A knife.”
There it was. The ultimate. The longed for item.
“Oh,” I responded slowly, wondering how to direct this. “A hunting knife!” he added triumphantly.
I could tell from his glowing face that he had just landed the best idea. Ever.
What more could Tia want, than a hunting knife?
“Well, Buddy, know what? Knives cost a LOT of money. More than you have.”
I thought of the prized coins in his piggy bank. Not even a dollar.
His face fell. “Even a hunting knife?”
“Especially a hunting knife.
A few minutes later he came to me with the contents of the piggy. 76 cents. In his mind, it was an awful lot. Money doesn’t come to his fingers quickly, so what he gets is prized.
But tomorrow was Tia’s birthday, and I knew he would spend every last cent without a second thought for her. Because he loves her. And because his expression of love is worth more than those precious pennies. Because people are more important than things.
“I have an idea!” I smiled and squatted beside him. “Why don’t you make her something?
You could even PAINT her something.”
His eyes widened. A smile lit up his face.
Minutes later he was deep at work, stripped down to his underwear so paint wouldn’t get on clothes.
Paint got on the underwear. On the window sill. On his eager fingers.
But carefully, ever so carefully, over the traced word.
I was quite impressed, especially since it was the very first time I let him loose with paint and a brush.
“This is a ‘must repeat’ activity,” I told myself.
But this thing of giving so eagerly, so sacrificially, so willingly
has been following me around in the weeks since then.
Sometimes these little moments stay in my heart for a long time as they speak to me.
God uses them to illustrate himself to my heart.
These children are some of my most powerful teachers.
Giving. How do I give to those around me? Somehow, I felt God whisper quietly, ever so quietly.
And I knew he was right.
It was this thing of energy. Attitude. Heart commitment.
You see, sometimes I feel tired. Like I’ve given and given, poured and ministered.
Even if it is just at my kitchen sink, bending over the washer, or combing a child’s hair.
This thing of constantly doing the mundane with so many other responsibilities and heart burdens.
And the times of adult interaction where someone just needs a listening ear,
and they don’t know that I have 14 other pans in the fire.
Or that my child is misbehaving right behind their back and needs some attention.
Or that I just feel exhausted.
This thing of needing to be strong. To have energy for each moment.
I look down at the 76 cents in my hand and feel like stuffing it in my pocket,
and pretending that I don’t have any more.
That I’m not available. It’s like I subconsciously ration myself emotionally. Like I want to protect myself.
Sometimes God asks us to give, to become vulnerable, to follow him down a trail
that others think is crazy.
We get laughed at. Or gossiped about. Or just forgotten.
And so when God asks us to follow again, or to just speak to someone, it’s easy to think,
“But I don’t have a dollar left. I’ve spent so much.
Don’t you remember how scorned I was last time I did that?”
It boils down to the right to ownership. Is my energy mine?
Do I wake up each morning with a fresh 24 hours to spend, however I feel?
Or do I have boundless energy and endless grace for each moment, because it comes from God?
One second at a time, to be lived at 100%.
Today I am reminded that I am given more than I need, to live fully. To live abundantly.
To give every one of those 76 cents each minute, knowing that in the next moment,
God already has provided what I need.
To lavish on those around me GOD.