Give What You Need

Give What You Need

October 18, 2013

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38 (NIV 1984)

Last week we were out of milk, so I headed to the store with my party of five.

Even though we were in a time crunch, I wanted to make the most of our trip and pick up a few other things. Our family divided up—my husband went to the row of toilet paper, our oldest daughter walked off to get bread, our middle daughter headed out for fruit, and the youngest one, Kennedy Grace, trekked to the milk fridge with me.

Everyone quickly got what they needed and met back at the register—except my husband. At the self-checkout with my three girls, I scanned our items thinking Kris would be there any second. But he wasn’t. As the line behind me quickly grew long and impatient, I wondered if I should cancel my order and step out of line.

But time was short and we were already running late. So in this unnerving moment, I instructed my youngest daughter to run and get the toilet paper from her daddy. She took off, found my husband, and secured the rolls under her arm. But, on her way back to the self-checkout, a sparkly cereal display distracted her.

In a calm, yet firm voice, I made sure my daughter heard me. “Kennedy Grace, come here right now please.”

Now, she figured the fastest way to get that toilet paper to me was to slide it down the aisle. Without hesitation, she whooshed the package right to me.

The people standing behind me thought my daughter’s idea was quite amusing. Everyone except one woman.

As Kennedy Grace giggled, jumped and bounced her way to the register, I knew this wasn’t the time or place to have a teachable moment, so I just muttered quietly for her to calm down.

That one woman, feeling it was a good time to teach my daughter a lesson, said to me, “Well, isn’t she something?”

I didn’t want to get into a hot confrontational mess, so I ignored her and bagged my items.

But then she asked Kennedy Grace, “Why are you acting up so much?”

Kennedy replied, “I’m just tired.”

And then the woman responded with a statement no stressed-out-momma needs to hear, “Well maybe your mom should put you to bed earlier.”

What did she just say? Unh-huh. I gulped and took a deep breath, ready to blurt out something sassy.

But in the midst of this chaos, in the midst of this tension, I felt the presence of God hold me back with this thought, give her what you need most.

Say what, God? I need to give this woman a piece of my mind, is what my soul screamed.

But it was true. I need a lot of grace these days. Grace. Grace. Grace.

So, I said nothing. I extended grace. I smiled, grabbed Kennedy’s hand and walked out of the grocery store, challenged by the thought of Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

I make a lot of mistakes. I forget about important things. And I too have judged stressed-out mommas in the grocery store with misbehaving children. But Scripture tells us that when we give to others what we need, something very freeing happens: We receive what we need too.

When we offer emotional generosity to others, we create the atmosphere for God to do something powerful in us and through us. I don’t always want to give others what I need. My initial reaction is often to give others what I think they deserve.

A quick comeback.
A nasty look.
An unforgiving heart.

But none of these things have ever brought me anything I needed.

As I continue to live this verse in Luke out, I’m focusing on other’s needs and reacting based on them, not myself.

But next time we need milk, I’m going to the grocery store, alone.

Jesus, help me give to others the things I need. Make me emotionally generous and able to bless in the midst of a conflicting mess. Amen.

Related Resources:
Need some more help with emotional generosity? Check out Unglued by Lysa TerKeurst.

Nicki Koziarz shares more encouragement on her blog.

Join 1000’s of other women who have signed up for our new Online Bible Study of A Confident Heart by Renee Swope! Click here to find out more.

Reflect and Respond:
Write down three things your soul needs. Is it joy? Hope? Love? Friendship?

Ask God for the opportunity to give it away and see what happens.

Power Verse:
Philippians 1:27, “Whatever happens conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel.” (NIV 1984)

© 2013 by Nicki Koziarz. All rights reserved.

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  1. This will be my Assignment today. To meditate on this scripture at time in my heart I want to say something of a quick nice/nasty but that is not what I want back. So, yes give what I need Grace. Thank you for sharing your pearls. God Bless

  2. Thank you so much for this beautiful example of living the Gospel. To give what we need is a beautiful thing. Thank you again.

  3. Bless your heart, Nicki. I have never looked at this verse in the light of what you just shared. I thought the verse referred to our resources, but re-looking at this verse in the context of extending “grace” is so beautiful. We are presented with umpteen opportunities daily to extend grace and I’m afraid most of the time we fail. I fail. I’m gonna practice extending grace as rightly said “giving others what I need the most”. Thanks much.

  4. Vanessa – me too! I love looking at this verse in that light. Thank you for this beautiful devotion.

  5. Lord, you know I have been struggling with this my whole life and A LOT more lately. I know this message was for me too. Help me!


  6. Amen, Nicki. “Give what you need.” Another Proverbs 31 devotion serves as a confirmation in this harried mother’s life!

    My bestie and I were talking on this topic just last night — giving beyond what we have, but also what we DON’T have. Your grocery store story is the perfect example of giving despite missing out on a big reality-TV-show-style “reveal.”

    A sensationalized version of your experience might end with this woman somehow having a change of heart that warms and inspires us all, seeing God work right before our very eyes! But God doesn’t always work that way, does He! (*painful laughter here*) We’re called to give in secret, before God and not before men. In “real reality,” we rarely see a big reveal, yet we’re called to obedience anyway and are blessed in honoring Him!

    Though we miss out on the big reveal most of the time, on occasion, God does give us a peek at the larger work He’s doing. In a true story like yours, the woman in the grocery store was never destined for a change of heart, but rather, needed to be loved exactly where she was, as she was, and surprisingly, had love to offer in her own scratchy, bristly way!

    In my life, I’ve met a handful that fit this description. I counted it God’s special blessing to allow me to meet them again and speak with them long enough to witness their scratchy, bristly form of love (kinda like getting a hug from a beloved scratchy, bristly grandpa!). Something about seeing that affection beneath an otherwise prickly surface is not only reassuring, but also broadening, as it expands our hearts to accept those we perceive as unaccepting! And with acceptance, love flourishes!

    I suppose my point is not really new: Give even if there seems to be no payoff. God sees the payoffs each and every time! He may send this woman (or another prickly person) your way again, and won’t it be something if God gifts you with a scratchy, bristly hug!

    Thank you, Nicki, for the confirmation and inspiration. This is what Proverbs 31 is all about — helping each other lovingly navigate this world of the unseen, in God’s sure-footed steps! God bless you today!

    • Love this, thanks for sharing your heart. And yes, we are all about doing this journey together! xoxo

    • Cindy Fox says:

      This is really good Ailina! I especially like the next to the last statement: “This is what Proverbs 31 is all about — helping each other lovingly navigate this world of the unseen, in God’s sure-footed steps! ” Great! May it be so in my life and the lives of countless other of our brothers and sisters in Christ! Praise God for His mercy and grace toward us!

      • Amen, may it be so, Cindy. I think we’re in such a powerful place here — Proverbs31. I’m always astounded with authors like Nicki — every day, I read another warrior woman’s perspective and am entirely edified. I think we ALL feel that same stirring every day, “This was written precisely for ME!” God knows, and puts these authors in the right place at the right time.

        And that is only the beginning! Look at all the confirmation in these comments others leave. It’s stunning! Bless you!

  7. The Biblical lesson here is good, Nicki. But I wish I’d been in your checkout line. “Kennedy Grace,” I’d have said, “you sure know how to spice up a boring trip to the grocery store!”

  8. Nicki, considering the day I had yesterday, this was on time! I’m in a new job and everything feels absolutely overwhelming and it doesn’t help that the others that are stressed snapped at me yesterday. My first reaction was to get into defense mode and snap back, but I realized it wasn’t appropriate nor would it reflect my Christian morals (I’m human tho). Because I broached the situation in a private setting, I did get the results I wanted. I see this gospel in a while new light. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Nicki, thanks for making me laugh this morning. I am going to pass on this devotional to two of my married daughters who have busy 2 year olds. Isn’t it in every day life where the gospel is lived out? How many times do we encounter people we’d like to give a piece of our mind? Perfect, honest example. Bless you. Just think, as well, what you are modeling to Kennedy Grace…her middle name!

  10. I really enjoyed this story. How true it is and how thankful we are when God comes to our rescue.

  11. Thanks for this wonderful insight… I needed to hear that. It is a good reminder to always seek ‘other’ first and treat others as you would ‘like’ or (I like the) “need”. (I think I would have been one of those who were amused at your daughter’s creative spirit ) What an example of showing grace that was to your children!

  12. Very good devotional. I don’t know if I would’ve done as well as you did in that moment, but I like what you said: give what you need. I especially need to remember that at my job. Thank you for sharing.

    • Mandy, not every opportunity I have for emotional generosity turns out this way. 🙂 But this verse has truly helped me step back from many, many situations. Grateful for the way He gives us more grace.

  13. I guess I should consider it a gift that I never have anything to say in these situations! haha! But God sees me fuming on the inside, doesn’t He?! I have recently been encouraged so much by Col. 3:17. ” Whatever you do in word or in deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” We just need to remember who we are serving and it helps us give that grace and hold our tongues, even when someone attacks our parenting skills! Thanks so much for this great reminder.

  14. So good! Thank you, friend!!

  15. Thanks for a fresh perspective on dealing with other people–especially grumpy old ladies at the grocery store (I avoid Tuesdays for this very reason). I need to do better, but don’t always WANT TO. I tend to get in the way if my own self. Great devotional!

  16. Alice Kidder says:

    Amen. I always need more reminders on controlling my emotions and reflecting Gods “Grace given to me” when dealing with others in situations that are often offensive. Thank you for the words and scriptures to hold onto and speak out in these situations. Gods blessings sure are poured out when we live out His examples. Alice

  17. This fits so well with concepts God is teaching me. I will use this story with our women’s group studying Lysa’s Unglued. This illustrates our tendencies to “explode” . You offer a wonderful example of how we are to live even when it’s so hard to keep our feelings to ourselves and mouths shut!

  18. Kathy Harris says:

    While I don’t have children, so can’t relate to what these situations feel like as a Mom, it would have been fun watching Kennedy Grace be so innovative!! Made me laugh

  19. Thank you for sharing this. My heart is so convicted to remember this and apply it the next time I’m in the thick of the moment.

  20. Oh my goodness I really needed to hear that today! Thanks so much!

  21. This is so perfect. We have a lady in our church who unfortunately reminds me of the lady who said something unkind to your little girl. She constantly says sarcastic things to others in church and we’ve had people leave our church because of her. I, too, want to speak harshly to people when they say unkind things, especially to children. Thank you for your post. God bless you!

  22. Kim Stewart says:

    Love this devo, Nicki. You have a beautiful way with words! Great inspiration for us stressed-out mommas 🙂

  23. Wow. What a great bible lesson today. Give grace to get grace. Thank you for today’s lesson. This was an eye opener for me.

  24. This made me LOL, literally. I have five children and I have sworn off bringing them with me to the store 🙂 The bit about your husband going MIA, totally have the same husband.
    Thank you for sharing this today. I am challenged and am going to share this with my girlfriends so they can be challenged as well. So so good.

  25. Oh Nicki I could SO see my 7 year old daughter (or 12 or 14 y/o son) doing the SAME thing! We live in the country, hubby works in the city, so oftentimes he will shop for me. Sometimes he has the children (4, ages 17-7) the women give him the oddest looks. Many smile, many look like they’ve never seen a man shopping with children. Hubby isn’t as uptight about their needing to behavior “perfectly”, as I am, so they have much more fun and freedom shopping with Daddy. I’m guessing had your Kennedy Grace been with him, that same woman might not have said a word.

    Women are so stinkin uptight sometimes. Behavior that isn’t sin is treated as such. Nicki, your sweet daughter needed that grace as much as that woman.

  26. I love this! I’ve been thinking about how to get the love I desperately want from my husband lately. I think giving more love to him is a great place to start. Thanks for sharing.

  27. O Miss Nicki….were you speaking to me today..So grateful for your obedience and transparency ! I had a family situation this weekend concerning a comment from a daughter-in-law questioning my time spent with my grandchildren. I too was screaming in my spirit to get “sassy” but I chose silence and am glad I did. Grace is what I needed from I choose to give it instead! Thanks again! Love your Blogs! Jesus works mightily through you!

  28. Well, this was a sucker punch. I deleted most of my devotionals this morning because, “i know, i know” but I don’t want to do it. Then I just happened to open this one and Pow! I got it anyway. Honestly I still don’t want to do it, but I will 🙂

  29. A few weeks ago, in our Sunday School lesson we were studying 1 Timothy 4 and discussing how to build spiritual muscle and avoid the spiritual flabbiness (verses 4-10 The Message) “Exercise daily in God—no spiritual flabbiness, please!”. I think you gave us a key exercise in spiritual muscle building. I printed your devotion today and am taking it with me on Sunday as an example and discussion starter. Thank You so much for much for sharing this verse with us today.

  30. This reminds me of the last time that I went to the Fort Worth Zoo and almost beat a woman down because she was about to kick my then 3 year old son out of the way. She was attempting to take a picture of her two boys and my little one who was excited (and has a mild case of autism) swooshed past her boys to look at something. Before I could stop my boy, her foot was up to KICK him and all I could get out was, “You’d better NOT put your foot on my child!” I had to pray HARD. She was smaller than me and very arrogant. I stopped and caught my breath long enough to explain my kid’s issues, all she could say was “That’s not my problem. Keep him out of the way.” Her teenaged daughters were standing by and looking like they couldn’t believe what their mom was saying. I just said to her, “Lady, and I use that term loosely, you’d better be very glad that I am a Christian because a lot of parents would be wiping up the floor with you right about now.” She just gave me a blank look. I got my kid and myself out of there before the devil had a chance to change my mind. Sometimes I think God puts these things in our paths just to see what we’ll do. I love that zoo but we haven’t gone back since. A fluke incident I know, but it makes me mad just the same and I don’t want to carry that around.

  31. Thank you so much for this encouraging thought! I need A LOT of Grace!!! Thank you for the reminder to seek out those opportunities to give it to others who may just need it much more than I do. 🙂

  32. I am on a Band Trip with 100 high schoolers and about 25 parents for the weekend. I needed this today to help me stop before I speak. We are all very strong minded parents and often personalities can conflict. I am writing this scripture on an index card and will recite it all weekend. I will rrmembe to give what I want to receive…..and make sure my actions are pleasing in his sight! Please pray for our safe journey! Praise God!

  33. Stephanie A says:

    Thank you for this! It’s a great reminder and confirmation that I truly did right in extending emotional grace to my husband at a dark time in our marriage. My flesh wanted to lash out. But God’s voice was too loud for me to hear myself:) To this day my husband is still in awe of how God worked it all out.

  34. Nicki, as I was reading the story of the Samaritan woman this morning, one of the things that struck me was that Jesus was tired – probably even exhausted as he didn’t go with the disciples to buy food. And yet… He ministered to this woman in her deepest need. Thank you for echoing this messageto me again. Much love! Jennifer

  35. This This sounds so familiar. When my husband and I see someone with an active child who’s testing the waters (& patience), we usually try to be encouraging. What’s funny is the look we get from the parent or caregiver with the child; like it’s unexpected to have someone say “it’s ok, we understand.” 🙂

  36. Just what I needed to read … now to let it sink in. I pray the next time I want to have a “snappy” come-back for a comment that I allow to penetrate my shield of faith, I will respond with what I need most and in turn bless the other person.

  37. Thank you. I needed a lot of encouragement today, and the Lord led me here.

  38. Debi Schuhow says:

    Oooooweee have I been there! Excellent writing Nicki on a tough subject. I find I have to do this too I call it “Putting on my molasses hat”. I talk slower, move slower, speak intentionally, and tell myself I will role model grace even though in my heart I want to stab them in the eye with a soldering iron! Jesus is still working on murderous feelings. 🙂

    • Cindy Fox says:

      Thanks, Debi Schuhow! I appreciate your “molasses hat.” Many of us need to do that. God bless you richly.
      Thank you, Nicki for sharing these amazing thoughts. “Give what you need.” Selah! It is easier said than done, but certainly not impossible; Praise God! God bless you!

  39. Nakia Fleming says:

    Thank you so much for this reminder. I struggle so much with others not understanding the grace I am extending. They always want me to explain why I didn’t use a sharp tongue or have a nasty reaction. This makes it easier to explain.

  40. Jo Ann Perales says:

    Thank you so much for this devotion (topic). I fail in this daily. Its easy when things are just hunky dory (as they say). But what about when things aren’t? I am a single parent of 4 teens (YIKES)! All but one is serving God. He is 18. In and out of jail. He has stolen money, had parties at my house (while I’m at church) broken windows, doors, windows and furniture, refuses to go to school etc. etc. But instead of demonstrating God’s Grace (Love) towards him, I quickly rant, scream, stomp my feet, judge….uuuugggghhhhh!!!!!! How am I showing him who God is with my behavior towards him? Its really hard when you see your child throwing their life away. I need to speak life into him not death. I do believe my son is a “Man of God” in the making. His testimony will be great and many will be saved. That is my promise to me in Gods word. (Joshua 24:15). Meanwhile, I will keep on praying and remember the words from your blog. I, as a mom will continually pray to be changed into the Mom (Woman) God sees me to be. Again, thank you for your inspiring words. ♥ Jo Ann

  41. Haha. My kids we’re helping me load up our truck at the storage building across town and unload at our house for the Garage Sale we’re having tomorrow. When we were on the last few boxes that needed to be unloaded, my daughter took a box, and slid it across the carport to me. They thought it was so funny and that’s how they unloaded the last lil bit of boxes. LOL. Granted, I wasn’t in a public area at the time, but it made me think of my kids the other night. =)

    But my kids have done things, like in a grocery store that received a few bite-backs from other customers. I’ve not always held my tongue. I won’t bore you with details, but I truly do understand. At least she was creative in attempting to complete her task. You’re much stronger than me. My tongue is one of the strongest muscles in my body when I hear something like that. Kuddos for you!!! =) Maybe 1 day I’ll learn to be stronger. I pray that I will.

  42. Simply awesome!

  43. I haven’t read all the comments, maybe someone has already mentioned this……. when I was reading, all I could think of was the children around Jesus – on his lap, just being children. Wasn’t that what Grace was doing, tired or not? Who knows what happened in that woman’s day…. or in her life that she was grumpy – maybe she was tired herself. God gave us all a lesson in your situation – patience and grace to those who are around us. I love the story – wish I had been there – I would have laughed out loud!

  44. Robin Bunting says:

    Thank you. I so needed to hear this.

  45. AnnMarie Dixon says:

    Thank you Nicki. A very thought provoking and graceful message. Just goes to show the different ways that Grace manifests itself.

  46. Wow! You passed the test! Sadly I think I may have failed my test, if that was me with that encounter…and I know better. I met Jesus at 14 and am now a grandma of 6 ‘apples of my eye’. I think this is the hardest thing in the world, to keep your mouth shut, when people are just plain mean and nosy… We seem to think we aren’t sinning, when we dish out the retort that we think they really ‘deserve’. But Jesus says to turn the other cheek…just like you did. Thanks so much for sharing your story! It gives me hope I can keep my mouth shut next time. 🙂 And I LOL at your last line… 🙂

  47. Joanna Copeland says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. As I was reading and starting to approach the climax it started to get my blood pressure building because like many other mom’s I have been in similar situation, however I didn’t extend grace. As a young Christian and mother learning to be a better disciple and Christian I struggled with the way I responded. So as a lesson I came up with an acronym, “GRR” (Gracefully. Respectfully. Respond.) There are times when I want to quickly react and say the first thought that comes to my mind (which usually isn’t the best) but I know that I have a heart for God and I need grace, I want grace so in those moments I say “grr” and and it reminds me to Gracefully Respectfully Respond!!

  48. From your grocery store encounter, with the uptight, rigid, ‘shoulder’, I was thinking a little more along the lines of sharing a version of Matthew 19:14 — you’ll never experience ‘glory’, until you become like one of these, and/or something from the scope/conceptualization of Michael Yaconelli’s, “Dangerous Wonder”.
    Or something like making direct eye contact with her, holding your girl’s hand, and saying, “I’m extending you Grace; Peace be with you.”
    I like your idea of extending grace, and yet, silence does not always communicate that extension.
    Your daughter did nothing ‘wrong’, nor anything that indicates she needs to be reprimanded, shoulded upon, or an earlier bedtime. She responded to your request immediately, and was ingenuitive and playful in the process. All of which, I believe, need to be rewarded, and embraced!

  49. Thank you for this verse. I have need this much in the past week as I allow everything to bother me especially when sometimes I think people say things just to see our response. Help me Lord to be kind and control my emotions,thoughts, and words. Thank you Jesus for everything.

  50. So funny and so true for me. Thanks for the wit and the wisdom.

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