No one can ever take away your ability to give.
Circumstance may lead us to believe it, but the stories we've experienced and heard tell us otherwise.
Some of my most cherished items are gifts from people who hadn’t much to give. A ring from a young girl living in a slum in Brazil. A necklace from a women’s co-op in a rural village in Uganda who were struggling with drought and lack of crops. A handmade card from my husband for my birthday when we were financially struggling. The $3 slipped into my hand from a 5 year old boy for “the ladies” in Free The Girls.
Our staff gets the unique privilege of seeing stories like this frequently, especially in relation to bras. Cards enclosed in packages containing bras that recount the story of a widower who hadn’t been able to clean out his wife’s dresser but just knew that she would have wanted her bras to help others. The single bra from a young woman who isn’t old enough to get a job but wants to contribute on a global scale. The women who donate their bras after mastectomies. The mother who donated her daughter’s bras after her daughter tragically passed away. And financial donations made in honor of mothers, grandmothers, sisters, best friends, and daughters.
Even the women in our program choose the joy of giving. When I was visiting our ladies in Uganda last year, there was a day when one of the women brought a bag of bras to a safe-house for teenage girls because she wanted to “tithe” part of her inventory. In the fall of 2015, we wrote a blog post about the women lining up outside of a blood bank to donate blood for a woman who needed a complete blood transfusion. They literally gave their life-blood for their friend. And women in all of our locations have given space in their homes for family to come live.
Sacrificial giving is such a beautiful gesture – whether that is a meal scraped together with the last ingredients you have in your home or whether that is a four-, five-, or six-figure check written and given with a joyful heart.
The world feels a bit crazy these days. It’s tempting to look around and cling to our comforts or to focus all our energy in our own immediate sphere rather than on the “forgotten” or “vulnerable” not directly in our path. It’s tempting to look at our own problems, but I don’t believe that problems excuse us from using whatever we have to bless and empower others.
This is how the darkness is fought. This is how justice moves forward. When we give - of our time, our finances, our voice, and, yes, our bras – we help bring light and hope and freedom into the world. And nothing can take away our ability and our calling to do this. Nothing can steal away the cultivation of generosity, can keep us from choosing generosity.
So how can you be generous today? How can you sacrificially give today?
Choose generosity. Choose the light. Choose to participate in a quiet act of rebellion by not allowing the noise to make you think you no longer have the ability to empower others and make the world a better place. And when you do this, you also choose joy.