My youngest, Alia, has always been very generous. She is the first one to make the rounds saying “hello” to our workers and giving hugs when we enter our restaurant. She always wants to take a little money outside with her on hot days so she can buy ice-cream treats for her friends. If someone admires something that is hers, she often gives the item to them. She likes to make special cards and pictures for others.
Today I told her that we needed to go through her clothes and decide what she really wanted and what we could give away. A friend often takes gently worn clothes to kids in orphanages both here and across the way. Alia made her way up to her room to get started while I finished up some cleaning.
When I arrived in her room, I was shocked to see a huge pile of clothes dumped in the middle of her floor. Trying to remain calm, I asked, “Is this the best way to sort through all your clothes?”
She looked confused and then said, “No mommy. I already sorted. That pile needs to be given away. Kids inside need these clothes more than I do. And I want to give them the best things, too, because they probably don’t get very many nice things.”
My heart rejoiced, but I also asked my Father to give me wisdom to speak without stealing her sweet spirit. She had only kept about 5 items of clothing for herself and that included pajamas.
She hadn’t just dumped the clothes either. As I went through the clothes with her (again), she explained why she had put each item into the pile.
I held up one sweater, “You wear this sweater all the time. Isn’t it one of your favorites?”
“Yes, ma’am, but it is really warm and they don’t have good heat there. So I thought it would be better to let them have it,” Alia answered.
“And what about this?” I held up new pajamas.
“Oh, I kept my old ones because they aren’t as pretty and warm as the new one. Don’t you think they will be happy to have pretty things to wear?”
She had been thoughtful about everything she placed in the give-away pile. It didn’t matter if it was her favorite or not.
My mind went back to a skit that I saw years ago. The skit told the story of supporters preparing a box to send to overseas workers and it was based on actual items that people had received over the years: ladies hose complete with runs, mostly used bars of soap and tubes of toothpaste, ratty and torn clothing, bent and rusty kitchen utensils, etc. Even though (thankfully) I’ve never received a box like that, I’ve been there helping others sort through these type of items.
Watching my daughter’s willingness to give away, not just the unwanted but those things that she cherished, my own selfish heart was clearly revealed. I have been blessed with so much; and yet instead of freeing me, those possessions often enslave me. My heart is so often tied to things. I want every thing I own to be a tool that my Father can use, not for my own personal satisfaction, but for His purposes. I never want my “things” to be more important than relationships, but that often happens. I have such a long way to go.
I am so thankful for the lessons my Father teaches me through my children.