Thursday, April 26, 2012

Giving & Receiving- The Body of Christ

Today I was in the grocery store in the way back and I saw a lady looking at baby food. I stopped to look at something for Annabelle and the lady thought I was looking at her. Then I noticed she had WIC coupons and that she felt uncomfortable maybe even almost ashamed.

WIC stands for Women Infant and Children. It's a government program designed to help people who need assistance because they make below a certain amount of money.

The reason I recognized the WIC coupons was because my family has also used those same coupons. I don't think I ever mentioned it on here because well...I was kinda a little ashamed just like the lady in the store.

When we had Adelyn and she was so sick from her GERD and was allergic to everything we had to use super special formula that cost over 100$ a week. That might not sound like much to some of you but to us it was waaaay too expensive. We moved to Ohio to help plant a church and let me just say, we didn't move here for the money. We found out that if you made below a certain amount of money you could get on this program that would supply groceries and the formula we needed for free! We gladly took it but to this day I will never forget some of the looks people gave me when checking out at the store. It was humiliating when the cashier or someone behind me in line was rude to me because I was on this program.

Please don't get me wrong. We are so blessed in so many ways. We always always get hand me downs that we love! We have a beautiful house and every thing we need. We always get packages from grandparents filled with clothes for the girls and my step mom always takes me shopping when I go home! And most importantly we have each other and CHRIST, who is more than enough. To say we are "in need" would be simply untrue.

But for that season of time, we needed WIC and were and are thankful for that program.

Back to the lady at the store, I so badly wished I would've said something to her like, "Please don't be embarrassed I've used those too!" but I just couldn't. But when I saw she was embarrassed I just ran and maybe that was best...who knows...

I came home and was just thinking and praying and the Lord brought to mind the organization called "Soles4Souls" in which you give your shoes and they give them to people who don't have shoes in other countries. (I just included the link on my sidebar today.) I don't know, the Lord said into my heart "give what you can right now Ashley....whatever that is..." Seeing that lady just reminded me of so many things... so me and the girls spent part of this afternoon getting all of our old shoes together to give to this cause and then....

One of my friends called and said her daughter needed a formal dress for this weekend and I just happened to keep some of my dresses from college for some reason AND and had made a pile of high heels I've worn only once or twice to weddings I've been in. So I was able offer her a dress and shoes for her formal! She came and got them and it was WAY more of a blessing for me to be able to give than for her to receive. I promise. And then...

God kept reminding me of two people going on mission trips that needed funds. I have traveled overseas on mission trips several times and every single trip I raised support for. I know how hard this can be and I so badly wanted to support these two young girls but knew I had no extra money to give. I went upstairs to get some stationary to write thank you notes and amazingly there was extra cash in this drawer. I knew I had cash in there, I just had no idea there was this much! What a blessing to be able to bless these girls AND NOT A BIT OF ANYTHING WAS ME....IT WAS ALL HIM! I know when you receive money for a trip it's not just the money that's great but it's also a reminder that people are "with you" supporting you and I hope those girls feel that!

This is kind of a round about post. My point, first, God brings us to different places in life at different times to teach us what only He knows we need to learn.... maybe even to teach us or show us how someone else might feel. Second, God is so good and in His goodness has made us all different so we can serve different purposes in the body of Christ. I don't believe He ever blesses us with things so we can keep them to ourselves, whether that means using our time, money, energy, or a gift He has given us. Lastly, if you are in the place of need, ask for it, accept it graciously (no matter where it comes from), and without shame (which is from the enemy anyway- Psalm 35:26) knowing that everyone's has or is going to be there in some way, shape, or form at some point or another. And also remember it actually blesses others in the body of Christ to give to the needs of others.

For because of Him the whole body (the church, in all its various parts), closely joined and firmly knit together by the joints and ligaments with which it is supplied, when each part [with power adapted to its need] is working properly [in all its functions], grows to full maturity, building itself up in love.
Ephesians 4:16

Now you [collectively] are Christ's body and [individually] you are members of it, each part severally and distinct [each with his own place and function]. 1 Corinthians 12:27


Angie said...

Beautiful post! Giving is so good for the soul :)

Anonymous said...

This was the most beautiful post! I have never commented before, but I came across your blog from Kelly's Korner and read it a couple times a month. I really appreciate you being an example of a Godly woman. I appreciate that you remain consistent in your faith and that you're honest about real life struggles. And I love that you share your Bible studies!

Heather said...

Ashley, you have the most beautiful heart. Thanks for sharing.