Last weekend was my birthday, and as my sister so sweetly reminds me often, I am on the downhill slide to 40. Yes, I'm getting old, and I have the wrinkles to prove it! Ha! The morning of my birthday, I woke up and decided we would BE the gift! Others like Ann Voskamp, author of A Thousand Gifts, have spent their days giving to others, and I wanted to do the same. Instead of the day being all about me, we decided it would be full of random acts of kindness. I should have done a little more advanced planning, but we just jumped in with both feet, and got busy!
We started at the tiny local laundromat, and left baggies of quarters to be used by whoever needed them!
Then it was on to the Dollar Tree where we handed out dollar bills to the children we saw. Interesting story, Natalie gave a dollar to a little boy who wasn't quite sure what to think. As we watched, he took it to his mom, and after reading the tag which said "Be the GIFT...Give It Forward Today", they decided that instead of spending the dollar, they would pass it along. He sweetly walked over to another little girl, and passed the dollar along to her. Absolutely precious...it was all I could do to hold myself together and not cry! Of course we made sure that the little boy got another dollar! But what a great lesson for my kids to see how quickly one act of kindness can spread!!
While we were at the Dollar Tree, we stocked up on liquid laundry detergent, and we were off to another laundromat to drop off some more blessings. We left the laundry soap on the washing machines, as well as sprinkled a few more baggies of quarters around for people to find! Natalie even doug through her purse and found quarters...she put them in the slots on the washing machine so the next user would simply have to push them in. Love it!
After we dropped our goodies at the second laundromat, we went to a local grocery store that caters to low income customers. We purchased a few items, and then quietly gave the cashier the money to cover the person in line behind us. I simply told her to use the money to cover his bill, and if there was any change, to give it to him. She smiled and we went on our way. As we were leaving, we saw the man in the parking lot and my sister remarked that he seemed to have a little pep in his step. I hope he was blessed, because we sure were.
We went through McDonalds and left money to cover the bill for the next people behind us in the drive through.
And that evening, we paid for the dinner of a couple across the room for us at the restaurant. We left them an anonymous note sending them blessings and well wishes.
I tell you all of this NOT because I want to brag, but because I want to encourage you. This made a huge impact on my kids, and we made memories serving together as a family. Natalie even remarked that she felt guilty because she loved doing it so much because it made HER feel good and she wanted it to be about others. We talked a lot about how through giving, we too receive. The blessings come around. We don't do it for what we get out of it, but God blesses our socks off anyway! Levi is convinced that we were blessing people because it is 'what Jesus would do'. Yes, sweet boy, you are right!
It was wonderful, and so much fun. Nothing we did was expensive, but we felt like in a few little tiny ways, we were able to hopefully bless those around us. I pray that God used what little we did to bring BIG blessings to those who received our gifts.
In no coincidence at all, the blessings didn't end on Saturday. The next morning on the way to church I decided that I would get a Starbucks coffee as a belated birthday treat. We drove through the line and I ordered my usual...a DECAF Skinny Vanilla Latte, for those who are curious ;) With money in hand, I pulled up to the window and was greeted with a smile...and the girl sweetly said, "The people in front of you bought your coffee this morning. Have a great day!" The entire car was full of smiles as we pulled away. Seriously, we were blown away. Levi screamed, "They are doing what we just did yesterday!" yes, the blessings just keep coming!
As you read about my birthday fun, please know that I am sharing it NOT to brag, or to appear special or holy or better than anyone else. I am simply sharing to say that it is in giving that we receive. Will you consider giving it a try? It doesn't have to cost a lot...in fact, it doesn't have to cost a penny. You can leave notes of encouragement, or scriptures for others to find. But will you do it? Will you find a way to BE a gift...to bless someone today? Trust me when I say that God will bless you richly in your giving of love, time, encouragement. Oh, yes, He will!
PS - If you take the challenge, will you share with me what you did? I'd love to hear how God is at work!
PSS - The idea of BEING the GIFT came from my wonderful blogger 'friend' Ann Voskamp. Though we have only exchanged emails a couple of times, and she doesn't know me, I read her daily, and am encouraged. She challenges me and makes me want to be better, to do better, to live wild for Jesus. The GIFT printables I used can also be found here on her blog. Check it out...you will be blessed!