Here is something I have a very difficult time with: Gracious receiving.
I just love giving to others, but how difficult it can be sometimes to accept gifts from others, especially when we believe the gift is too much.
A big example for me happened this weekend. We went to visit my mother-in-law because it was my husband's 25th birthday. It was such a nice weekend, and we truly love visiting her. She comes straight off the farm and cooks us lots of great goodies while we are with her.
We have been praying for the last 2 months or so for a new bed. This is something we have learned from our financial seminar: we need to pray for the things we need, not necessarily spread the word around that we need something. If we pray, we get to see God provide in great ways and show his power.
I am 5'10", my husband is 6'3", and we are sleeping in a full size bed. It has been ok for the last few months but we are beginning to wake up with all sorts of aches and pains. A new bed is definitely in order. But as we are working to get out of debt, where does a nice new bed come into the picture???
So this weekend we went to visit his mother and she told us she wanted to buy us a bed for a birthday/Christmas present. We hadn't mentioned it much to her, but she works at a store where she can get great discounts on beds. We told her it was too expensive of a gift, but she still insisted. We finally told her we would split the final cost of the bed with her. We went to the store and picked out a beautiful new bed which I am sooooo excited to sleep in. My feet finally won't hang off the end and hopefully I won't wake up with a sore shoulder!
In the end, his mother insisted on paying for the entire bed. She said that she doesn't have any debt or anything weighing her down, so she would really like to help us with this. My husband and I both protested and ended up trying to scheme later about how to slip some money to her.
The next morning I sat reading my Bible and all of a sudden an amazing thought came to me. God had provided us with a bed! In our pride of trying to do everything ourselves, we have failed to see that God had promted his mother to help us with something we had prayed for!
This made me realize that God truly does provide. I think that it was the same pride that makes many people NOT trust in God's provisions that made my husband and I shun his mother's gift. We felt like accepting such a gift would make us feel inept at providing for ourselves. She had made it clear over and over again that she truly wanted to help us with something we needed. It was our pride that didn't allow us to be gracious receivers.
I just love giving to others. I have realized that sometimes we need to be just as gracious in allowing others to give to us. I stopped fighting the gift after that and thanked my mother-in-law for such a wonderful gift. Then I thanked God for not only providing, but for teaching me some humility in the process.