It’s easier to give than to receive. I know this all too well from personal experience. You see, I am a giver. I’ve always enjoyed giving gifts. Over the years, I have volunteered to coach my brother’s baseball teams, then my nephew’s, my son’s, both my daughter’s, and now my grandson’s basketball teams. I have refereed and umped numerous youth league basketball and baseball games. I’ve taught Sunday School, led different Bible studies, and helped my wife as we traveled around the Pacific Northwest talking to churches about the Mother’s of Preschooler’s program. Karen and I have financially given to our local church and to missionaries…both short and long term.
Please don’t misunderstand why I’m telling you this. I’m not seeking your praise or a pat on the back. I personally know many people who give far more of their time, talents and money than I ever will. I enjoy giving.
The opposite side of the coin to giving is receiving and I find that to receive is far more difficult than to give. I’m not talking about receiving birthday or Christmas gifts…I’m talking about receiving from the reality of experiencing a great need. I hate feeling needy.
You see, I suffered a stroke on September 26, 2016 which began a long chain reaction of events which drained Karen and I physically, emotionally and financially. (For more detail on this, please read my blog post… Job, You And I Have A Lot In Common. http://desiretoinspire.life/dear-job-we-have-a-few-things-in-common-suffering/
Karen in the meantime had needs of her own. In March of 2017 we got a refinance loan to pay for implants in her lower jaw. The procedure was a success. The bone in her jaw grew around and cemented itself securely to the implants. Several bone grafts from her lower jaw were placed in her upper jaw were bone was insufficient for future implants.
As August approached, the time arrived to plan for the return trip to Utah to have the ceramic posts inserted and to pay for the $17,000 procedure. I hadn’t received a paycheck from the school district since June 1st and had used up all our savings. We couldn’t borrow any more money and were wondering if we were even going to be able to complete the final stage of Karen’s dental journey.
Our three adult children, Katie, Jaymi and Michael asked us if they could start a Go Fund Me website to help pay for the completion of Karen’s need for dental implants in her upper jaw. We thankfully agreed but inside we both struggled. Our needs and perceived weaknesses would now be on public display like wild animals in a zoo.
The website started on August 13th and over $600 was raised within the first two weeks. It was a very humbling experience to watch as $25, $50, $100 and $150 donations from family, friends, acquaintances, strangers and anonymous givers pour in. Every day we prayed for God’s blessings on those who were giving so generously.
Miraculously, $9,785 was raised by September 3rd. On faith, Karen made an appointment with the dentist in Utah on September 5th to have the ceramic posts embedded in her upper jaw. We didn’t know where the additional $7,215 would come from but on September 4th we drove to Bountiful, Utah.
After the surgery, the dentist had both good and bad news. Dr. Baker was planning to place six or seven post in Karen’s upper jaw. Some of the bone grafts hadn’t taken so he was only able to insert five. He told us four is the minimum he would do for dentures to securely attach so five is at least one over the minimum.
We spent that night in our hotel and prayed for the money to come in because the next day we had to pay the piper. The next morning we checked our Go Fund Me account….$9,785…it hadn’t changed. We arrived at the dental office and Karen was whisked away to the one of the back rooms to have a follow-up to the surgery while I was told my financial options by a woman at the front desk. Really there was only one option…we had to finance the bill. It was interest free if we could pay it off in two-years. I swallowed hard as I signed for the loan.
The refinance loan we took out in March of 2017 raised our house payment an additional $150 per month, was now paying close to $200 per month for medical insurance, was required to purchase a newer car to drive for Lyft which was $280 a month and now we had just taken on another loan of $256 per month.
I was so happy for Karen and hopeful that her long road of dental pain would soon be over. I was so thankful for all the donations which came in. To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t expected that much. I thanked God for these two answers to my prayers but felt disappointed in myself for now feeling the tremendous weight of debt pressing down on me.
I was working an average of six days a week driving for Lyft and still had to drain our remaining savings over the course of the summer just to make ends meet. Our savings was now gone. I wouldn’t start driving school bus for another couple of months and even then, I figured I would have to work three or four nights a week and all day on Saturdays just to break even.
Where would I find time to blog and finish the book I’m writing? Would I have the time to help coach my grandson’s basketball team again this winter? Where would the time come from to take the long walks with Karen that I enjoy and need so much? I felt burdened and helpless and I hated feeling this way; where was my faith in God in light of the financial blessings I had just witnessed?
Karen had a follow-up appointment the first of October back in Utah. In the middle of the fourteen-hour drive, we received a phone call from our daughter Katie. A couple from their church had just donated over $7,000 to our fund. That was enough and more to pay off the dental loan. Relief poured over my parched soul like a thunderstorm in a thirsty desert.
Then it hit me. All the people who gave so generously were just like me. They loved to give. It made them feel good to help meet a need. But to be able to give, there had to be a receiver. Without a receiver there would be no one to give to.
Then an old realization hit me in a new way. We are all in need…why? Oh, we all have our earthly needs but they are all different and temporary. No, we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We have a need for a Savior who will pay the debt of sin for us. You see, God is the ultimate giver. While the world was in opposition to God, he sent his only son to die for us.
Are you in opposition to God? Financial debt leaves one in bondage to a creditor. Sin leaves us in bondage to Satan. Every breath you take is a gift from God but do you take that same breath and exhale your acknowledgment that Jesus is not only your savior but also Lord of your life? Jesus gave his life for you. He’s looking for people to accept that gift just like Karen and I accepted the financial gifts of so many people. Their gifts removed some of the weight of financial debt from my shoulders. Jesus can remove a debt we as humans can never remove ourselves.
I want to publicly thank all of those people who sacrificially gave to help Karen and I. Now please consider turning your lives over to the One who sacrificially gave His life for you. As Karen would say, CHEWS JESUS…Taste and see that the Lord is good.