I am reminded in July of 2000 my mother brought me to her bedside and told me, "Promise me you will always take care of your sister." Three months later she was dead from heart failure, no history of heart disease whatsoever. Some time later, I bought a small home in Stone Mountain, furnished it with things I liked, filled the fridge with food, and invited my sister (shown above) and her children to move into it here in GA away from struggles in CA. I gave charitably. She rewarded my giving by buying her first house less than ten years later. She is among the very best at giving til it hurts, as she co-raises her two grandchildren, with a hundred other good deeds she juggles on a single day. I am super duper proud of her.
My mother passed at the tender age of 55. For about six years, I asked 55 friends for $55 in honor of her death. With this money each year I took a female and her family from homelessness to a new home. My only requirement was the family must be actively doing something to help themselves. One such person we helped sent me a $55 check for five years until we lost touch. She gave charitably by paying it forward.
Another time in recent years, I learned of a family whose house burned down a few days away from Christmas. The mother, a custodian at my children's school, was raising her grandchildren and children. As soon as I learned this, I moved out of my office, a small bungalow style home/office space in Decatur, GA. I asked my secretary to work from home. We bought a welcome mat, Christmas tree with ornaments, put presents under the tree for the grandchildren and invited the family to live in this home until they could get on their feet. I gave charitably.
A couple of years ago my two children and myself went to Walmart a couple days before Christmas in a very poor neighborhood. We took with us $50 gift cards totaling $500. We dressed in Santa hats. First we stopped at Applebee's and devised our giving strategy. Who would receive the cards? While I was overthinking it as I do most things, my son interjected with, "Mom we will know, God will lead us to them." And he was right. We gave charitably. We saw a lot of surprised tears. It felt great! I was thrilled that my children gave freely and saw their giving being transferred firsthand. I hope it stays with them forever. I think it will.
I tell these stories now in hopes that you will be driven to give heartedly during this season of Christ's birth. There are so many around us struggling day to day and this pressure is felt more heavily with the pressures of the holiday season. Whether big or small I appeal to you to find a way to show your charitable side. The rewards will come back to you ten-fold. I guarantee it.
Want to help someone in need? I have such a friend in real need. Let her share her story with you. Her email firstname.lastname@example.org. God bless.