This Christmas, Seth and I have decided to not exchange any "big" presents. We are only giving each other gifts in our stockings. We jointly agreed that it was a good idea for a couple reasons.
1. Since this is our first year being married and funds are a tad tight (no more cash flow from the parents!!) we didn't want to buy each other gifts because we'd rather spend it on necessities such as bills, rent, groceries...
2. We are going to Texas and didn't want to have to haul several presents in the car and then feel weird when all of my family was staring at us while we opened them. (yes, we could choose to open them before or in a separate room, but we really just didn't want to haul them in the car with a dog and two felines. Believe me, there will be enough chaos without the presents clanking around in the back.
3. Really though, the most important reason we wanted to just exchange stockings and not spend much on each other is because we both feel that our money would be better spent on people less fortunate than us.
I have SO many things to be thankful and grateful for...our beautiful home that we rent from a sweet friend, my husband who cuddles with me every single night (guys, i love cuddling. LOVE.),our furry children who are so precious, our families who have been nothing but extremely supportive of us, a job that may not be the most "ideal" job, but it pays the bills and puts food on the table...a God that continually blesses us and our marriage daily...and the list goes on.
That being said, we feel that our money would be better spent on a family who doesn't have all those things. A family who may not have food on the table or may not be able to heat their home in the winter...we decided to give our "adopted" child, Ronald, and his family a Christmas gift. (For those who do not know, we sponsor a child through Compassion International.) So this year we decided that we would give the money that we would spend on each other, to Ronald's friends and family.
We were able to give Ronald, four of his friends, and his whole family money and Christmas presents this Christmas. Just thinking about his sweet mother and brothers faces when they get that gift makes me smile from ear to ear. His family will use that money to help his mother with her job selling rice pudding and maize on the streets of Nicaragua. They will use that money for clothes and food. On Christmas day, Ronald and his friends will be able to open a Christmas gift that Compassion bought for them. He will get to experience the joy and love at Christmas time that he may not have been able to without our sponsorship.
Now, I'm not saying all this as a "look at me" kind of thing. I'm saying this because it's been on my heart and I wanted to share what the Lord is doing in my and Seth's life. I'm also not saying that buying gifts for each other at Christmas is selfish or wrong. This is just a personal conviction that Seth and I both have and so we chose to act on it. And I am also aware that there are families right here in America that need money just as much, if not more, than Ronald and his family, but this is also a personal decision that we made as a couple. Just wanted to clear that up.
As much as I don't want to admit this, I am going to be vulnerable and open. Since Seth and I got married, money has been one of the most "worried about" things for me. I worry that we won't have enough money saved up for when we have an emergency...I worry that we need to not spend money and instead save it for when we'll have student loans from Law School...we need to save money for our children, retirement, a rainy day..etc. But in reality, we do have enough money to keep us comfortable, clothed, and fed. There will be a day when Seth doesn't work at Chick-fil-a and when I am a full time wedding planner. There will be a day when we can save money..but for now, it's not the time. Now, we do save money. We just don't save "as much as i'd like"...because it's simply impossible with our incomes. BUT...one day we will be able to.
The bible states several reasons why I shouldn't worry about these things..or anything for that matter. I was reading Matthew before I went to bed last night...
(These verses are all paraphrased and are not the actual verses in my bible)
1. Matthew 6:25- The same God who created life in me can be trusted with the details of my life.
2. Matthew 6:26- Worrying about the future hampers my efforts for today.
3. Matthew 6:27- Worrying is more harmful than helpful.
4. Matthew 6:28-30- God does not ignore those who depend on him.
5. Matthew 6:31,32- Worrying show a lack of faith in and understanding of God.
6. Matthew 6:33- Worrying keeps us from real challenges God wants us to pursue.
7. Matthew 6:34- Living one day at a time keeps us from being consumed with worry.
Goodness gracious...those are some powerful words. All my worrying does is show lack of faith in God..the same God who created me..the same God who created and runs the world...and I can't have enough faith that he's going to take care of things? Yikes. That's pretty sorry, Kait.
In Matthew 6:24 it says, "No one can serve two masters". We live in such a materialistic society where many people do serve money instead of God. They spend all their lives collecting it only to simply leave it behind when they die. Can I honestly say that God, and not money, is my master? You see, me worrying about money is just the same as loving money too much. It all comes down to one thing: Which occupies more of your thoughts and time? For me, it's the worrying about money. And that's hard for me to admit. But it's true.
So, I guess the point of all this is that God is really teaching me this Christmas. To forget about money. To not let it consume my thoughts. And it was really hard to watch that money leave my bank account. But I know that this is God molding me and teaching me to not only give, but to let Him handle every small detail in my marriage and in my life.
For the first time, I feel like I am finally letting go of this worry. I am finally giving it to the Lord. I'm glad the Lord placed this conviction on my heart and that I have such an understanding husband who also has a heart to give.
This Christmas, we gave away the money we would spend on each other to Ronald and his family. I am so glad we did. Thank you, Lord for placing this on our hearts.