Welcome to December’s series on 31 Days of Giving on a Budget. In this series, I’ll be sharing inspiring stories from my readers and posts with practical ways to give — even on a limited income.
If you have a Giving on a Budget story to share of a way you or your family has given to others this year or this holiday season, please email me your story and a picture to go along with it, if possible. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!
Guest post from Victoria of Snail Pace Transformations.
December 1st, 2003 forever altered my life.
I still remember coming home from a day of shopping with a friend to find my home sparkling clean and my children gone. I greeted my husband with a hug and when I saw his face I knew the children were gone not because he had a secret date planed but that something was wrong.
“Call your mom,” were the three words he was able to mutter while holding back tears.
I did and she soon said words no child — no matter what their age — wants to hear, “Honey, the cancer is back, and there is no treatment this time. I have 6 months at best”.
God was gracious, I got more than 6 months to say goodbye. My mom survived over 4 years from the day of her prognosis. She passed away just before her 61st birthday in April of 2007.
The Christmas season after her death was hard. Even though I knew she was passing a few years before it happened, I still couldn’t get over the harsh reality of being left motherless.
I was at a local Mothers of Preschoolers meeting one December morning when a leader announced to the group the location of the church’s giving tree. I went to the tree to look through the children’s names, thinking at least it would get my mind off of grieving for a moment, when I noticed the tags were not just for children but for single moms as well.
I immediately picked up a tag for a single mom. Something about the idea of getting to buy a gift for a mother even though I could no longer get a gift for my own warmed my heart.
I don’t remember all that was on her list, but I do remember one item, a devotional. As I was wrapping up the gift I felt urged to place a thank you note inside the devotional. You see, in giving to someone else, my pain was momentarily eased.
Two gifts were given that day not one.
If you are grieving a loved one this year, I urge you to reach out and give. Churches and organizations across the country offer giving trees like the one I was involved in that year. Many have a table set up at the local mall.
The gifts on these tags are generally not expensive. Many items could be brought down in price with sales and coupons.
Grab a tag of an individual that reminds you of the one you lost, and spend the money you use to spend on gifts for your loved one on these strangers instead.
It’s a great way to honor the memory of those we once cherished and I think you will also discover the healing power of giving… just as I did that Christmas.
Victoria writes at Snail Pace Transformations where she shares her tips on how to purchase items inexpensively, sell things you already own, and shares her love of simple recipes made with simple ingredients.