That’s right. As dialed in as I try to be as a mom, as much as I think I’m paying attention, I had no idea. My second child, McKenna-Jane, had made a decision as a teenager that I knew nothing about. And it took me a while to piece it all together.
It wasn’t until I started seeing some pieces of mail addressed to her that I began to realize something was up. These letters started coming with consistency and I wasn’t sure what the contents were. After questioning McKenna-Jane, some things fell into place as to what she had been up to. I’ll let her tell you in her own words:
Special thanks to Compassion International for sponsoring this post, along with our weekly podcast, The Modern Motherhood Podcast.
“Passion” was a word that intrigued me from a young age. It drew me in, despite the fact that I didn’t know the fullness of the word at age seventeen. I saw it in the various lives of people I looked up to and wanted to be like. I saw the closeness they had with God and sought to understand the things that contributed to such a relationship. One of the things I noticed about the lives of people who live passionately for God was the fact that they intentionally managed their finances. Perhaps their approaches were different from one another but the heart was the same–all to Jesus, surrendered.
First, God whispered regarding tithing and giving the first 10% of any babysitting money I earned. He reminded me that with my wallet He wanted to prove both His faithfulness to provide and His invitation to trust. So I began to tithe on any babysitting money I made not because an organization told me to but because I had received a loving invitation from my Father and a promise.
My junior year of high school, I also started teaching dance and earning more of a consistent income, though small. I cashed my first check with a bit of amazement, in awe of what seemed like a much bigger number than had shown on my bank statement before that point. With visions of writing big checks I thought, “God, thank you for this money. Please help me to keep earning more money so I can be generous when I’m older.”
I remember driving out of the bank parking lot as Mark 12 came to mind:
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.
Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything–all she had to live on.”
Turning at the next light, headed home, it was obvious what God was inviting me to do: To give big now even if it was only the equivalent of that new outfit I wanted to get. It was also no coincidence that on the radio I heard about Compassion International and the direct significance my contribution could make in the life of a student.
Those pieces of mail my mom mentioned earlier contained pictures and letters from Ritu (Bangladesh) and Jemmi (Indonesia). They were part of the sweet reward of obeying and trusting God with my finances, and they have been used by God over the years to remind me that all of life with Him is this way.
Like a flower, there are times to soak up the sunshine and the rain of God’s goodness. He invites us to walk in abundance and growth. However, a flower cannot distribute seed and multiply without dying and releasing what it carries. Likewise, it is only in the laying down of ourselves that we can be multiplied for His sake.
The beautiful significance today is that I joyfully testify to the fact that God continues to provide in every season of my life, even when generosity seems crazy. Not only this, but Jemmi and Ritu are the same age I was when I started sponsoring them. How beautiful that God would use me at an age I was preparing to launch into adulthood to start laying a foundation so that Jemmi and Ritu would also have a strong foundation to launch into what God has called them to.
At this point in my life, to be honest, I’m still not financially stable as I work for a growing non-profit. I certainly haven’t reached the perceived place of security when it comes to money, but God has allowed me to give more now than ever before. He is fulfilling His promise, and using a girl with a few coins to bring His kingdom to earth, as it is in heaven.
(Julie:) Michael and I went on to sponsor a child ourselves through Compassion International, drafting off of McKenna’s example. And we’ve found it to be such a powerful experience, to be able to help change the life of a child and their community. I’d love for you to experience that sense of helping and discovery when you intersect your life with the life of a child in need. Please consider sponsoring a child, for just a little over a dollar a day. Go to compassion.com/allmomdoes.