Thursday, November 21, 2013

Overwhelmed by Generosity

Thanksgiving 2013 will have a new richer flavor. My eyes wide open to blessings (like our home) formerly taken for granted. Motivated by Ann Voskamp’s 1000 Gifts, my thankfulness list has exploded since June. I am overwhelmed by generosity.

As I drove into the free farmers market for Black Forest fire evacuees last summer, I didn’t know what to expect. And the thoughts that did rumble around my mind didn’t come close to reality. 

There was a twinge of guilt—we had grocery money. My plan was to pick up a few apples, maybe some oranges, express my thanks and continue on with my day. I knew our community wanted to help; I wanted to return the favor by being an appreciative receiver of their generosity.

And a receiver I was! The experience drew tears; it was overwhelming. My thanks seemed feeble. Our pantry overflowed. I shared with neighbors.

Generosity also displayed itself in the prayers of our friends. I am not a good pray-er in emergencies; thank you to all who stood in the gap.
Friends opened their homes to us; others, sometimes people we didn’t know, provided meals. 

There were emails, texts, phone calls, and notes that daily ministered to our souls—each a breath of fresh air to our smoke-filled brains. 

The gift of time and energy came through the lives of many from our Sunday school class who offered their chain saws, pick-up trucks, and muscles on a HOT Saturday morning helping clear away burned trees and rebuild our stack of firewood. Some I was meeting for the first time.

Then there were the firefighters who valiantly fought the flames that threatened; who dug fire lines around one side of our home and pulled the lawn furniture away from the house. Thank you to our military for dropping slurry (we wondered what that orange stuff was in the yard); thank you to our sherriff, his crew, The National Guard and other law enforcement agencies.

Thank you to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army who provided quick lunches for us—and the best hot dog I ever ate. The tools and clean-up kits met a practical need. And, and, and …

Generosity displayed itself in many creative ways reflecting the creativity of our Savior. It continues to be overwhelming. 

As I’ve pondered what was most helpful, a few generalities surfaced:                     1. Those who told (instead of asked) us how they were helping.                             2. Scripture shared without commentary.                                                                                                            3. Friends who identified with our emotions without offering wisdom.                    4. Technology—communicating from a distance.                                                     5. Our pastor’s sermon from Romans 8.                                                                  6. Lamentations 3:22 ~ my go-to scripture this summer.

“The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help.”                Acts 11:29

2 year old Marianna wanted to get in on the helping too.

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