We have all heard of what is happening in Japan right now.  It is heart wrenching.  When I see pictures or videos, I want to turn away because it is easier to just not think about it.  But that is not what my heart wants to do.  I want to be there, to love on someone, to give them a hug or a clean glass of water or cry with them.  While that is not an option for me right now, there are two things that I can do.



Jason and I were talking this weekend and I mentioned what he was thinking we should do to help the people of Japan.  We decided we would give some money.  I was thinking a certain number.  When I asked my husband how much he thought we should give, he more than doubled the original number in my head.   I winced for a half of a second (remember, I’m a frugalista and get excited about $.50 coupons!), I realized he was right.  We have made it a priority of our marriage to be generous whenever we can. This crisis in Japan is a big deal.  These people need help, now.  And God is good all the time, he has blessed us beyond what we deserve (especially recently when he allowed Jason to keep his job and work remote for Beisser) and has asked us to give with a cheerful heart.

“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:25

So yesterday during nap time, I was able to make our donation.  I literally checked “Japan” off of my list of to-dos yesterday.

But then this morning during our morning quiet time I felt God tugging at my heart that I needed to get the kids involved.  They had no idea that we (as a family) had even given money to help.  Since generosity is a very important character trait that Jason and I really want our kid’s to grasp, I knew what I needed to do.

During Kade’s morning nap, I gathered Belle and Johnny around the computer and we watched a short video of what was happening with the tsunami in Japan.  I kept it short, but made sure they knew what was going on.  Then we googled some pictures of the earthquake and we talked about how people had lost their homes and some of them had no food or clothes.  And how people from all over the world were showing up in Japan to help people.  I told them that yesterday mommy and daddy were able to give some of our money to help people over there.  Then came the part that I was not sure how they would react.  I asked them if they would give some of their money to help.

Let me set the stage here, the kids have been saving and saving and SAVING all of their money for a trampoline.  Like the 12′ kind.  It has been fun to see how far they have come in the last 2 years since we started putting all their coins and birthday/Christmas money in this fund.  They have done a great job!  And while Jason and I plan to put money towards the purchase as well, we really wanted to teach them about saving.  In fact, I was gearing up for a “How to teach your kids to save!” post in the very near future.  While I’m all about saving, I’m also all about being generous with those resources God has so graciously blessed us with.  Anyhow, just a week or two ago, we had taken their penny jar to the bank to cash it in and put that cash in the savings account.  (It helps that their aunts, uncles and grandparents all know they are saving for this trampoline, so they regularly get pocket change when we have vistors!)  So, we cashed that in so their piggy bank is sitting empty on their dresser.  Just this last weekend we visited Jason’s parents and they had quite a little stash of change for the kids to put towards their trampline fund.  They were pretty excited to put that money in their jar. So that is what we are working with here…. money they had just received… I knew this was going to be close to their (mostly Belle’s!) heart.

At first Belle’s eyes got all watery and she said “I don’t want to give ALL our money (see above) away!”  I decided to asked her a hard question.  If she was somewhere and only had her shirt and pants left and had no food or water- would she hope and pray that someone would be very generous with her?  (Yes, I realize this is pretty deep for a 5 year old, but she was tracking with me, so we went ahead). She said yes.  I was able to share concepts of these verses with her:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.”- Matthew 6:19

“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”- 2 Corinthians 9:7

And I asked her again (and Johnny, but he was more interested in looking at the pictures on the computer 😉 ) if she would give her money that Grandma and Grandpa had generously given to her to help someone over in Japan.  Much to my surprise, she said yes!  I asked if we should give all of their coins (I do not plan to ask for “all” of their money each time we give to something, but I was asking this time and reminding her that we could trust God to take care of our needs and ask Him to help us continue to be able to save for the trampoline in the future) and that is what they decided to do.  Here they are counting up what they had to give:

We counted everything and they had $6.52 to give!  I told them we would take it to the bank to deposit the coins and then we could tell the computer how to give the money to Japan.  (Hey, explaining online donations to a 2 and 5 year old is hard!) 😉

I’m so proud of Belle and her ability to trust God, her parents and her heart to help some other kids somewhere.  Little does she know that we don’t need her and Johnny to save up any more money for the trampoline.  We are quite pleased with how much they have contribuited.  And hopefully with a few more savings from Jason and I over these next few months, we are hoping (don’t tell the kids!) that we can make that purchase this summer for them.  Super exciting on all fronts.

I’m am praying that through our prayers and us leading by example that our kids will grow in their character of giving generously with cheerful hearts.