Today is a very exciting day for me [Ginny] because I am launching my new personal blog, Joy from Grace. Awhile back, Mandy (or amazing leader) encouraged us to consider starting our own blogs. The idea terrified me. How on EARTH would I have enough to write about to sustain a blog of my own? I sat on my hands and ignored the call for weeks. During that time, God kept prodding me and filling my head with idea after idea. Finally, I couldn’t ignore His clear calling any longer, and I also realized that this was NOT going to be my blog. It was going to be God’s blog. I was just the vessel, and if I was willing and ready, He was going to provide me with the material.
I thought about the title of the blog and asked for feedback from others. One name kept screaming at me for attention, and I am not surprised. I wanted to have a blog that would inspire other women to discover the joy in their lives that they may not even realize is there. As a mother who sat in the trenches of depression for the first two years of motherhood, I understand what it is like to feel like there cannot possibly be any joy in my life. I understand what it is like to want to run away from it all. I understand what it is like to cry for hours on end because life is overwhelming. Girls, I get it! And if that is where you are, I want you to know there are others just like you out there, and there is a woman right here who understands and wants to put her arms around you and love up on you. Why? Because God has given me grace, and He pulled me out of the trenches, and I now have experienced the JOY he wants for me. I want that for you. I encourage you to join me at www.joyfromgrace.com and join a community of women seeking after the love and joy of the Lord.
BUT that is not the only thing I am excited about today. I wanted to share with you something that brings joy to my life on a regular basis. And the best part? It brings joy to those around you as well!
We are called to do it, and the Bible is very clear about it.
Deuteronomy 16:17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.
James 2:15-16 If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
We give, not to glorify ourselves, but to glorify God. There are times when we need to be direct as givers, and the person will know we did it. At those times, we should be very humble and point every thank you to God. He gave us the money. He called us to give. To God be the glory.
However, there are times when I look around my community, and I see a need that I just can’t shake. It follows me and pushes harder with each minute, hour, or sometimes days. I have long ago learned who is doing the pushing, and that is the Holy Spirit. I bring the need to my husband (or vice versa), and we pray for the means or the direction in how God wants us to address the need. Sometimes the needs are small, and sometimes they are great, but we keep in mind that all of what we have is not truly ours – it is God’s, and if He calls us to give it away, we must be obedient.
Matthew 6:3-4 But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Why does anonymous giving bring me joy? It brings me joy because it is fun! I love the thrill of figuring out how to give to someone so they don’t know it is me. I love the thrill of delivering it secretly (i.e. through the mail or ding dong ditch style!). I love the thrill of knowing I just made the day of someone who needed it. I may never get to see their smile, but I know God did, and that is all that matters. And an added benefit is that my husband and I have felt even closer together through each gift. There is something about following God's call and getting to be creative that just brings the romance!
What does anonymous giving look like? It might be leaving an envelope full of cash in the front door of a family who Is struggling to make ends meet, it might be sending a gift card for a massage to a single mother who never gets to pamper herself or it might be paying for the person behind you in the Starbucks drive-thru. There are so many ways you can do it, and I would love for you to share your ideas in the comment section!
As Valentine’s Day is approaching, I wanted to share with you one way that my husband and I have chosen to make Valentine’s Day special.
For years, on Valentine's Day, we joined the thousands of couples who venture to nice restaurants. We always picked a restaurant we couldn't normally go to. Because it was out of our price range, we made this our Valentine's Day gift for each other instead of jewelry or other lovely gifts typical for this holiday.
Then one Valentine's Day, we decided to change everything. My husband came to me with this idea that we would give up our fancy Valentine's Day dinner and go to a fast food restaurant with a budget of 10 dollars.
That went over well.
Then he explained that we could give the money we normally would have spent on dinner to a family in need. And we would do it ANONYMOUSLY!
At this point, any brownie points he lost for wanting to take away my fancy dinner were won back by ten fold! Ladies, he was exploding with attraction points, too! Oolala!
We both really loved the idea, and we immediately began to think about who could use the money the most. God led us to a family, and they became the first recipients of the Great Valentine's Day Give.
Since that year, we have continued this tradition. My favorite part? Putting the money in an envelope and sending it (or one year, I put it in the door and dashed!), knowing the person on the other end has no idea who gave it to them.
Does this sound like fun to you? Go to http://www.joyfromgrace.com/#!great-valentines-day-give/c22dh and scroll down to learn more of the details. I hope to hear all about your incredible stories of how you made Valentine’s Day the most romantic yet!
Friends, there are needs all around you. Just open your eyes, pray for God to reveal needs to you, and trust me friends – HE WILL. Be ready to be obedient and be prepared for an exciting ride and be ready for the JOY it brings!