One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.
Proverbs 11: 24-25 ESV
Sometimes it feels like motherhood is a journey of never enough…an endless poverty of time, energy, sleep, capacity. The needs don’t stop coming, and social media says everyone else is doing it better, and somehow we missed the memo that every mom is actually supposed to be Superwoman.
When I’m tired and I start to feel like I’ve given enough, I tend to get a little stingy with my children. “Just one book tonight.” “Ugh, are you sure you really have to go potty….again? Right now? Really?” “No, we can’t go to the park today.” “No, you can’t play that sport, go to that birthday party, do that thing, make that mess, have that snack right this second…”
Just “No” because I’m overwhelmed and tired and I need the world to stop spinning for a little while, please?
Of course, there is a healthy and appropriate place for “No.” Of course, we have a responsibility to teach and shepherd our children, as well as show them that the world does not revolve around their needs and desires. However, the types of “No’s” I’m describing are not in pursuit of healthy boundaries, they are plain and simple fatigue and exasperation.
My grip tightens, my patience shortens, my capacity shrinks, and I just don’t want to give anything else. And you know what? The tighter my grip, the more miserable I am. Every request is an inconvenience. Every need is an overstep. Every touch is an annoyance. Every bump in the road is catastrophic. I get to where I’m just over-touched, over-noised, over-stimulated, over-needed, over everything.
Tell me I’m not alone?
From this fraught and empty place, I have eagerly looked for another way… I have looked for the wealth of riches, the endless wells of grace, the renewed strength, the joy and life I’m meant to find when I give it all away. I have looked for God’s promises in this sacrificial and often invisible life. The way I’m finding is impossibly simple and profoundly obvious and completely life-altering. And I don’t think I could have found it until I ran completely out of myself.
The other way is simply this: Cheerful giving – the kind that requires faith.
Once in a while, when I run out of myself (which happens quite regularly, now) I step in faith and give from the places that I think are empty, and I watch the Lord keep filling me up.
I’m not really talking about giving of our finances, though the Bible has a lot to say about that, specifically. I’m talking about this powerful thing that happens when we give out of the places where we feel most impoverished.
When I feel impoverished of energy, I can choose to bring my measly offering and give of all the enthusiasm I can muster for our breakfast song of blessing, or our evening dance party, because we all just need to smile… and I reap bountifully of joy.
When I feel penniless in attention because my brain is full and my inbox is full and my calendar is full, I can choose to bring my offering and listen generously to that little one’s nonsense story, with the same fervor I would bring to the most critical subject…and I reap bountifully of connection.
Friends, in whatever ways you are feeling spent today, I invite you to join me in this different way of parenting generously.
Because we have a generous God who has great riches in mercy and mighty power to restore us, we are free to cheerfully throw our two copper coins in the bucket, and trust that we will reap bountifully in our hearts and homes.
Mama, may you sow bountifully and reap bountifully in your home today.
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one much give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9: 6-7
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)