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