Tuesday, August 27, 2013


If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a picture of groceries on my feed on Saturday.

Lately I've realized that I have been spending too much on myself. Not caring about others, not tithing, not giving as the way Jesus wants us to give. One particular person kept coming back to my mind over and over and it hit me: I really needed to do something for this family.

Miss Hyiat was at my house from the moment that my parents brought me home from the hospital almost 25 years ago. My mom stumbled upon her sister at our town post office when she was posted a "Wanted: Babysitter/Nanny" poster on the local bulletin board. She has been a member of our family ever since. She was at our house when we got home from school. She made us (albeit maybe disgusting) foods like eggs and ketchup (do y'all do that!?), but could make some darn good cornbread and french toast. My dad picked her up at 8 am every morning and my mom took her home at 6pm every evening when she got home from work. My mom worked so that we could have Miss Hyiat.

Growing up, I'm sure my brother and I took her for granted. We were one of the few kids who didn't go to daycare. She would come at us with a spoon (remember this was the 90s so this was totally OK) when we misbehaved, and she made us watch The Bible Network almost daily.

She is the best second mother I've ever had.

So.... back to my story.

Miss Hyiat (who is about 72) has a sister who is in her mid-90s. Perfectly healthy and one of the sweetest ladies you'll ever met. Not only do they live together, Miss Hyiat's daughter, granddaughter, and sometimes son live with her. She's never driven a car or gotten her driver's license and once we grew up, she worked for a few families here and there but not steadily.

Can you believe Miss Willie Mae is 94?!?

Like I said, she and her family had been weighing on my heart and I decided I really needed to do something for them. I've always given her family my hand-me-downs and toys, but as a young adult, I don't have much "stuff" to give them now. I decided the way to help them was to go grocery shopping for them and surprise their family.

Saturday I was at my parents and I called Miss Hyiat to make sure she'd be home. She said yes and asked if I was going by "the store" and if I could get her two liters of Sprite (she only drinks clear liquid -- silly lady) and I said of course! Then I threw in my, "well how do you normally get to the store?" question that I've been wondering for years but too afraid to ask. She said her niece would take them once a month or that someone at church would either drive them or pick up items for them, but their main source of food was from the local mobile food pantry that comes to town every other week.

That was a shot to my heart and I had reassurance that I was honestly doing the right thing. When I got to the grocery store, I filled my buggy with bananas, grapes, bread, peanut butter, cereal, milk, eggs, cheese, rice, oatmeal, hamburger helper, rice, and canned goods. I had tears in my eyes the entire time because I was so excited, but at the same time I was so afraid that she would be upset or ashamed. BUT I know Miss Hyiat, and I knew she would gracious accept my gift.

I pulled up to her house and walked inside, telling her I had a surprise and more than two liters of Sprite. Now, if you've ever heard and older black lady scream, you can totally resonate with the shrieks and screams and "Oh praise Jesus's!" As I pulled the groceries out of the car, they all (four of them) were screaming and ooh-ing and ahh-ing and Thank you Charlotte-ing. I've never seen anyone more gracious and humbled and thankful.

After she got over the shock (and I made her promise not to be mad at me so thankfully she wasn't mad), she squeezed me so tight that I could barely breath. I heard "thank you" I bet a hundred times and my heart fluttered. It was one of the best feelings I've ever had.

Now, I don't want anyone to think I'm telling this story to put myself on a pedestal at all. I just want you all to realize how AMAZING giving is. Groceries that we take for granted can mean the world to someone. I know that this family can eat "healthily" for the next few weeks. I have no idea when they've had fresh break, milk, or eggs! We just take those things for granted and spend, spend, spend on our "things."

As part of the church of Christ, we are called to tithe. But tithing isn't just about throwing a $20 in the basket at church. Tithing can be helping out others and aiding in their need. Jesus calls us to give. 

The Bible says:

Acts 20:35 
"In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' "

Proverbs 22:9
"He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor."

Colossians 3:17

"And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

After I drafted this post, I came across this article from the Huffington Post on Twitter about giving: The Giving Habits of Americans May Surprise You.

I urge you to find a way to give back to your community. If you've done something recently- volunteered, mentored a child, taught Sunday School, played with the animals at the animal shelter, etc, let me know! I think it is great to share those things so that we can support each other and hold one another accountable. 

For it is in giving that we receive.
-Francis of Assisi


Melody M. said...

What a beautiful, kind thing you did, Charlotte. This is so inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing.

Megan said...

Tears in my eyes from reading this - you have such a sweet and giving heart Charlotte! One of my favorite ways to tithe is helping others in need. Needed this reminder!

PostgradPrep said...

I am trying not to cry at work. I also often forget what a simple act of giving can mean to someone. I need to be better about tithe-ing consistently since I love to serve others but Random Acts of Kindness are always a blessing.

In the Pink said...

So sweet of you to do that! I am sure their family will never forget your generosity!

ryann said...

Tears came to my eyes as I read this, even though you told about this wonderful experience earlier! Thank you for sharing this story and I am so thankful to the Lord for putting such a loving, giving person in my life! Love you!

Annie said...

I LOVE this story! You are awesome! We have a lady named Grace that is the same way...she changed our diapers and still goes to my parents house to clean. We invited her to our wedding but she couldn't get from Maryland to North Carolina but I love seeing those pictures of you with your ladies!

Stacy Kinard said...

This is how I like to tithe. I want to see it going to a person I know can use it! Not into a basket for flowers for Sunday's service!!

Sara Elizabeth said...

I was tearing up while reading this! My mom works for a non-profit and one of their main objectives is providing people with food and after hearing all of the stories she tells me about the people who come in for help, it's made me realize that we do take simple things like food for granted. You have such a kind heart, Charlotte! Thanks for sharing with us!

USCEmily said...

Tears in my eyes as I read this! How wonderful to not only be able to help someone, but to help someone that you know! My parents do Loaves of Love in Elloree one Saturday a month and take a hot meal and a box of groceries to people like Ms. Hyiat...what a wonderful ministry that is! I've had the opportunity to help out when they do it at Thanksgiving and it is so heart-warming to take the food to the door and see the smiles and hear the thank yous of people that genuinely need it.

Katie said...

I am cry as I read this Charlotte. I know I already told you this, but this is such a special thing you did. I am very proud of you!

Laurel said...

What a sweet gesture! It is so kind of you to follow your heart and give them a beneficial gift, one I'm sure they will surely treasure. This definitely has me thinking about all that I take for granted as well!!

Amanda aka Manda said...

I love that you did this! So inspiring!

Lauren said...

That is so very sweet and a great reminder that things that so many of us take for granted might be luxuries to another family.

Cori @ Everyday Enchanted said...

This is beautiful! I know you made that family's day/week/month/year! It's so easy to take the "simple" things for granted. Very inspiring!

Dori Jarecki said...

I am so excited for this post. I will soon post about this myself, but want you to know about sarah Grace's Grace for Kids with Cancer. Sept is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and SG always collects gift cards for the hospital where she was treated. We recently learned that AJ college roommates 6 year old was diagnosed with cancer. The year SG will give her donations to Lacy.

Amber said...

This post fills my heart with so much joy, Charlotte!
I love what you did for them. I agree, as adults, it's hard to give the way we should. This inspires me! Tomorrow, I'm going to do something for someone. I need to quit selfishly spending all of my money on material things.

P.S. I put ketchup on my eggs too ;)

Heather said...

Charlotte, this is so awe-inspiring! I'm incredibly proud of you! Giving truly is better than receiving and you did an amazing thing :).

Emily said...

Charlotte, your sweetness and politeness and giving heart surprises me every day. I remember us talking about this, but reading this story truly melted my heart. We can all strive to "give" more to others in need. I'm happy to call such a sweet and loving person my friend!!!