Have you ever been so deeply impacted by an experience that your heart would almost ache until you could share it with someone you loved?
Perhaps it was a book, a sermon, a movie, or a new insight that profoundly stirred your soul. Your deepest desire was to find a way to adequately describe it so someone else could experience the same impact.
Such were my first steps into a life of giving generously. My heart’s desire was to find a way to share it with Bill, my husband of 38 years.
My introduction to generosity
Here’s how the story begins: In 2012, I got a call from Women Doing Well asking if I would present a keynote on purpose at their newly created Inspiring Generous Joy (now WDW Signature Event) conferences. I agreed, not really understanding what I was getting into. I wasn’t familiar with the “generosity space” and did not know much about the conferences’ sponsors, Generous Giving and the National Christian Foundation.
I was as much a participant as a presenter. I was curious about this generosity message, touched by the videos, challenged by the other speakers, and wondered what God was calling me to do in this area of my life. I was excited—and a bit nervous—when I heard stories of people making radical giving decisions in their lives.
The Lord was stirring my heart but I knew I needed to share this with my husband if we were to make pursue generosity as a couple.
There was no adequate way to tell him how I felt. I showed him some of the videos on the Generous Giving website and tried explain what I was hearing. He listened politely, but I knew he needed to experience this transformation himself.
I kept hearing about a weekend retreat called a Journey of Generosity, JOG for short. I was anxious to attend one but did not want to go without Bill. I made a point of asking my local National Christian Foundation office to let me know when a couple’s JOG was scheduled.
In God’s perfect timing (which translates into I wish it happened sooner), we were invited to a couple’s JOG. I was excited and prayerful that Bill would be touched and God would give us a new mutual giving desire. At the same time, I knew it could be a challenge because as our primary financial caretaker, his desire was for financial security.
It brought me so much joy to watch as Bill experienced the messages I had heard. Together we were moved by the transparency of the other couples sharing their own doubts, insights, and questions.
God answered my prayer. That weekend, Bill’s heart was stirred and we began to discuss and agree on practical steps to move forward in giving, such donating all the profits from my new book and taking steps to cap our annual income so we could give away the surplus.
We’re just getting started on our generosity journey, but I’m grateful and excited we’ll walk this new path together.