Hey everyone, if you want to catch up with JW, remember to Meet the Godwins. What is $8.17 to you? “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” – Hebrews 13:16

I could not find the verse or the words that could honestly convey how I feel about the story that I am going to share with you. You always heard of these kinds of stories, you read them in devotionals, your Sunday school teachers tell you about them, but they never really happen to you. Well friends, today it happened to us – and it has made my day!

Around 9:30 this morning, I was leaving a doctor’s appointment (allergies in Alabama are the WORST) when Lesley, our caseworker at Arise, called me. I missed her call at first, so my stomach dropped, and I started thinking, okay she is calling either about our court date, or it is some kind bad news. So I called her right back. She answered with her chipper voice as always, and said she had some news to tell me, but it wasn’t major big news, it was just something that she thought I might want to know. So my mind went right to, “Oh well. What could she tell me that would be better than, we have a court date for you?” She then proceeded to tell me about Miss Ella C., who is a six or seven year old little girl there in Louisville, Kentucky.

Little Ella has been saving her money for quite a while. She is very smart, she has been saving it in four different categories: 1. Savings, 2. Tithing, 3. Spending, and 4. Donations. Well, Ella came into Arise for Children today to make a donation. She wanted to give all of the money she had saved in her “donations account” to a family, to help them bring their baby home.

So Lesley brought Ella to the “Wall of Families” and let her pick out which family she wanted to donate to, and she CHOSE US! How awesome is that?

Lesley then brought her back to her desk, sat down with her, and counted out all of the money that she brought in. Lesley then told me she was so eager and wanted to help bring the baby home that she donated all of her donating money and spending money to us! She gave it ALL to help us bring Zoe Grace home. Lesley then brought her to the files and showed her the picture of Zoe Grace and told her that, that was the face of the little girl she was helping bring home to her forever mommy and daddy.

So as you can imagine, I had chill bumps all over my body as Lesley was telling me this story and I was thinking – Wow, what a selfless act, made by such a young, innocent person, but with such pure intentions.

KC and I have been having a lot of “money” discussions lately. As many of you know, she’s a full time stay at home mom, I work full time as a paralegal/runner at a law firm, I am half way through law school and we have the same debt that any other young couple our ages would (school loans, house payments, cars, etc.). So I have been at work all day thinking, we live a very tight lifestyle, but honestly do we “give enough”? Yes we tithe the 10% we are ‘suppose’ to give to the church, but how often do we give an offering on top of that? The tithe is what you are pretty much required to give, but an offering is what you can give on top of that. Yes we spend time at community projects and help out, but how often do we put things in our lives second to help others in need?

There is this super sweet lady in Greenville, where I am from, and one of the most memorable acts that I remember as a young child and even now as an adult, is that every Sunday my papa walks a plate of food up to her house and gives it to her for lunch. He doesn’t do this because he has to, he doesn’t do it because he thinks someone is watching him, he does it because we all love Ms. Pauleen, and even though she can afford her own food and she doesn’t ask for it, he does it because she looks forward to his visit and the fact that someone cares.

All of us memorized one of the most famous Bible verses ever as small children, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

God gave his child to die for us! As a parent I can tell you right now that I do not know one person in this entire world that I could give Olivia or Zoe Grace’s life for to save, not even mine or KC’s. But God did – he sent his son down here to live like us, to be treated like a human, to suffer like a human and to die like one, all because he loves us that much. Who could do that?? Honestly, I don’t know. Just like God, Ella, unmotivated and selflessly, walked into Arise this morning and gave. She had been saving up to perform the act and she followed through with it, but not just to the level that she thought she was going to, she gave that extra. She gave her donation and her spending money…. So I ask again, “Who could do that??” I would be lying if I said that it is something that I would do without some serious thought and preparation for.

So as we go through this week, take a look around and ask yourself – “What can you do?” “What can you give?” “How can you help?”

Maybe it’s cutting a neighbors grass, or babysitting for a couple so they can have a date night that is long over due, or maybe it’s donating $8.17 to a family that is adopting a baby. Whatever it is, know from someone who was just blessed with such a kind act, it means a lot and the amount is not what is important, the act in itself is.

(Update on Zoe Grace: We have been filled in court and we are currently waiting for the date that we have to show up. Please continue to pray that we hear that soon. Also please pray for the Yentsch and Hennessey families who are right there with us waiting on their dates!)

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