the cycle of giving and receiving is something i have always been interested in, how it works, how one end affects the other, how expectations and circumstances can warp it...etc. i am a person that enjoys giving, from small to big, in all variety of forms. be it actual gifts, or sharing of resources, or giving of time or money or compassion...there is something in me that God has called out to give...because i believe that the things i have, that anyone has, are simply God's things, and He just chose to give you whatever portion you have so you can manage it. The fun part is seeing how when you use what He's given to bless and support and encourage you find all sorts of delights pouring back in.
living in Nicaragua has changed this a bit. not the desire, but the form in which i express it. and it has taught me how to receive, and graciously. (this i believe to be very important...its extremely uncomfortable to give to someone unwilling to receive). at first, it was embarrassing...humbling, actually, in the midst of a humbling time. and it made me take a look into my reservations about receiving.
in the end, it's this: we all need to receive. and we all need to give. and my husband and i have learned to trust the Lord's provision, always knowing He will meet our needs and obeying when we feel we are to be a part of meeting another's needs.
but this receiving became a deeper thing for me on our trip to the states. the hospitality, generosity and giving in general was a salve to places i didn't know were raw. we were received into a home where the family is struggling through a time of illness, and yet we felt like celebrated guests, made comfortable by each member of the family, all when they could have shut their doors and said, right now we just don't have anything to give.we entered into my home and received there like we had never left, like my husband had always been a son, complete with good talks and great food and precious prayer. we had numerous people invite us to eat a meal, covering the expenses because it was more important to them that we enjoy our time together in sharing life than worry about a few extra dollars. we were received in many a home with hugs and delighted smiles and accepting hearts. we were welcomed into a diverse church and a home, all because we are family in Him. we were carted around Chicago by various people and welcomed into an acquaintance's home, only to leave as friends and truly bound as brothers and sisters. we were given space and invitation into a community, allowing us to see how they strive to live out the gospel together, in all its drafty, messy, interesting and diverse glory. we were given monetary gifts like you wouldn't believe...not because of their quantiy but how they were always quietly given at just the right moment.
what i see in all this is the immense love of my Papa for two of His kids...and how He works through His body to do it. do you ever stop and wonder how your giving (in any shape or form) allows Him to meet His beloved's needs? or how if you don't, that it might hinder? certainly God always finds a way, remember the lilies and sparrows, but wouldn't you like to be a part of that holy giving? i know i do.
i want to thank you, brothers and sisters, who made us feel so welcome, loved, cherished and cared for in our time stateside. your support and prayers and time mean so much to us, and on a very personal note, i so appreciate how you all made my husband feel. i can't thank you enough.
He is always good.