"I have several boxes here, some clothing, and some home school stuff," she wrote in an email. A little later in the email, she wrote, "I would love to bring everything out and have you look through it at your leisure."
That Becky!! It's not the first time she's gone above and beyond to bless the socks off me (to see just one another example, click here). As a matter of fact, I can't even count how many times she has served and given and shown great kindness and generosity, way beyond my ability to ever return to her. She's just that kind of person.
From her, I've learned an important life lesson: it's OK to accept help from those whom you will never be able to repay.
This was a hard one for me. I was used to the normal give-and-take of friendships, where each of the parties in the relationship does nice things for each other from time to time and are roughly "equal." But with Becky, she's so far beyond me that I'll never be able to give back to her like she's given to me. Practically speaking, she has babysat my children (her children are older and don't need me to babysit them), she has given me hand-me-down clothing from her sons (I can't hand down anything her children need), she has passed along school supplies (her kids wouldn't be interested in the board books and preschool activities I might be getting rid of in a few years), she has painted in my house (I can guarantee Becky won't be calling me for painting help in her house!) ;-), she has brought meals when I've had a baby (I don't *think* she'll be having more babies, so I guess I can't take a meal to her in that situation) ;-), and so forth.
"What can I give her?" I used to ask myself. "How can I repay this debt of kindness?"
"You can't," my soul answered me. "But you CAN pass along the kindness and generosity to others. You don't necessarily need to repay those who give to you in the same way that they've given. But keep the ball of love and service rolling to those who can truly benefit from you; and in that way, the 'debt' of caring is paid."
Well, let me tell you, I have a LONG way to go until I get anywhere CLOSE to giving of myself the way Becky does. But someday, when my own little ones aren't as little and as needy, I hope to imitate Becky's manner of pouring out of herself in service to others.
Back to the boxes of clothing and home school stuff Becky gave us! :) One of the things that most delighted me was a collection of DVDs that will be fun and educational and will give me a break during the rest of this pregnancy and after the baby is born; the kids can still be learning, but I won't have to be teaching in those moments. :)
One of the things that most delighted my kids was this! :)
Besides Becky's generosity, we have been the recipients of gifts from so many other people recently; and each gift--whether large or small--is so appreciated. Let me see if I can remember all the unexpected blessings that have come our way...
~ One evening we sat down to eat supper, and I realized that the salmon we were having was given to us by Kevin the Painter, the asparagus was from my neighbor Wilma's garden, and the spicy dill beans were from Jennifer, one of Jeff's co-workers. I think the only thing I contributed to that particular meal was applesauce I canned last fall! :) (And by the way, neither salmon nor asparagus would ever rank high on my list of foods I would choose; but Jeff fixed them both in a way that was truly, truly tasty. He made a sauce that he learned from a Japanese friend of ours in San Diego; and it was so good!) :)
~ Another time, Wilma gave us an asparagus casserole that was really yummy! (You could barely taste the asparagus, since there was so much other good stuff with it; that's why I liked it.) ;-)
~ This past Saturday, Sally gave us a bunch of homemade cinnamon rolls which is always a huge treat!
~ From time to time, she drops by and has one of her kids run up to my front door with a loaf of homemade bread for us. SUCH a treat for a non-bread-baker like me! :)
~ A week ago, one of Jeff's customers hauled out to our house a trailer load of cut grass from his yard so we could use it to mulch our garden. (We usually use leaves, but they tend to blow away; cut grass is easier to work with because of that.)
~ A while back, another of Jeff's customers gave us some computer speakers; and they have been SO helpful this year as Josiah and David have done more of their schoolwork on the computer and as we've used some YouTube videos to learn memory verses. Before the new speakers, we could barely hear what was being amplified through the built-in speakers of the computer. After Jeff attached the new speakers, we could turn the volume way up and blast our fun memory verse songs! ;-)
~ Pam, one of Jeff's co-workers, has two boys that regularly outgrow their clothes (funny how that happens!). ;-) When she sorts through their too-small clothes, she hands them over to us; because of that, we RARELY have to buy clothes for the boys. Starla, another co-worker, and Nancy, yet another co-worker, give us hand-me-downs from time to time, too.
~ Speaking of clothes, Sally occasionally gives us pants that her son Paul doesn't need for our younger boys to wear.
~ And speaking even more of clothes, I was blown away this spring by the kindness of a family that we originally met through the Suzuki program our boys have taken violin lessons through. This family has two girls, and I had accompanied the older one in a recital one year. Before that, the mom and I had emailed back and forth a little, working out the details of when and where we would meet to practice, etc. We would see them from time to time at Suzuki events, group lessons, and so forth, but really didn't know them well. When Josiah and David started swimming lessons a few months ago, this family was there, too; and we were glad to see each other, exchanging smiles and "hello's" and chatting a little while we waited for the kids to finish. And then one day, Wendy asked me if I would like some hand-me-downs from her daughters for Moriah to use. Oh my goodness, would I??? ;-) A couple of weeks later, Wendy's husband handed off several boxes packed full of lots of clothes and some shoes and a little sleeping bag/blanket and a backpack. I could hardly believe the bounty as I gleefully took each item out of the boxes that night. I felt more elated than a pirate finding a treasure chest!! ;-) Because of those things from Wendy and because of some other clothes I had gotten second-hand for Moriah, she is basically set, as far as her wardrobe for the next year goes. I did have to buy her some socks--one of the few new things she's gotten. ;-) Oh, I also got a couple white shirts to go under jumpers and summer sundresses and things like that. But her wardrobe is basically complete for a long time (and much more extensive than mine!) ;-), thanks in large part to Wendy's surprising generosity!
I'm sure I'm forgetting something and someone that I really should mention here; I'll probably remember when I lie down to sleep! ;-) But let me conclude by saying this: I am genuinely astonished by the largess of others. It is continually humbling to be given so much!
But behind it all, behind all the kindness of each individual mentioned here (and the others that I will likely remember as soon as I hit "publish"!) stands a powerful reminder for me: God is Jehovah Jireh! And many, many times, he uses people to meet our needs--and sometimes, our wants. ;-)
We are surrounded by a group of very generous friends!!