Here’s a Story That’ll Stay with You Today: How to Give Joyfully (Plus a Giveaway)

Margaret —  February 17, 2014 — 41 Comments

Here’s a Story That’ll Stay with You Today: How to Give Joyfully (Plus a Giveaway)

Generosity inspires generosity.

One of our dear friends, Brad Formsma founded I Like Giving in 2010 to inspire people around the world to live generously.

The stories they share continue to inspire tens of thousands. Here's how it all began:

This story from Brad's newest book, I Like Giving, left me wonderstruck and challenged to give joyfully:

I Like Sharing the Dance

Most people would say that the sweetest moment of a wedding is when the father of the bride and his daughter take the dance floor. But I disagree. There’s something brilliant and touching about a mother’s relationship with her son, and though it’s often overlooked, it’s that dance that shouldn’t be missed.

Nathan is one of seven children in our loud, boisterous, and blended family. His father and I divorced when Nathan was young, and we’ve never been amicable. Nathan’s stepmother, Eve, wasn’t the reason we’d divorced, but I haven’t spoken to her more than a few times in twenty years.

When Nathan and his fiancée, Holly, began palling their wedding, we knew the family dynamics could get awkward. WE prepared for the worst, but hoped for the best, and deep down, all I wanted was for Holly to have the best day of her life.

On a hot and humid August day they said “I do.” Tears were shed, pictures were taken, and the reception began. And then it came, the emotion-packed, wildly underrated dance with mother and groom.

Though I wish I could say we looked like a pair from Dancing with the Stars, our twirls were comical at best. Still, this was my last dance with my son, and I wouldn’t have wanted anyone to take that away. As we were enjoying the moment, I caught sight of Nathan’s father and Eve who were in the crowd looking on. They were smiling.

Suddenly, an idea was impressed upon my mind that I couldn’t ignore. I looked at Nathan and asked, “Do you think Eve would like to dance with you?”

In that moment, Nathan understood the weight of my tiny offer-which bubbled up from some place I didn’t know existed. I wanted that dance but somehow after years of this Cold War, I found the strength to step aside, and let Eve finish the dance with my son.

Later, I thought back to that turn on the dance floor, and realized something profound. Eve’s son Gabriel was engaged in 2002, the same year he was killed in a car accident. And that’s what made my little gesture so important.

The dance I shared would be the only mother-son dance Eve would ever have.

*Original Photo Source

I Like Giving by @Bradlikesgiving (Giveaway and Excerpt) This week I'm giving away THREE copies of Brad Formsma's book, I Like Giving.

Brad loves to encourage and loves to give. The Formsma’s live in Ada, Michigan. Brad and Laura have 3 children, Danny, Drew and Grace. Brad enjoys building relationships with givers of all levels.

This is a book you don't want to miss.

Click here to view more I Like _____ stories.

To win ONE of THREE copies of I Like Giving, leave a comment below. Winners will be selected and announced on Friday.

Congratulations to the winners: Kimber, Cammeron, Victoria

What's the best gift you've ever received?

41 responses to Here’s a Story That’ll Stay with You Today: How to Give Joyfully (Plus a Giveaway)

  1. I got to dance with our son on his wedding day on the eve of my 29th wedding anniversary. There was such joy in that moment. I am thankful for both the son, daughter and husband God has blessed me with.

  2. What a beautiful story… Very touching and a great reminder that there is always something bigger than ourselves & our situation

  3. Margaret Polino Nicholas February 17, 2014 at 5:48 am

    Dear Margaret, This account is close to my heart. My only son died August 31,2013, his 26th Birthday. I have stepsons but their mom would probably never offer. Thanks so much for sharing this with is.

  4. Margaret Polino Nicholas February 17, 2014 at 5:52 am

    I too lost my only son this year on his 26th birthday. I will never have the mother/son dance! I have 2 stepsons, but I don’t think their mom would be that generous. Thanks so much for sharing this. It’s sad because I hadn’t thought about dancing at his wedding!

  5. What a sweet story. I am part of a blended family as well and it takes grace and forgiveness to handle some of the delicate events. We do grandchildren’s birthdays, sporting events, and other things together and all goes well. While this is not always the norm, and it took us a few years to get to this point, it is very important for the children and their children to see.

  6. I have no sons, but I could feel the pain (and the joy) in this story. I would love to read and learn more from this book as I am trying and praying to be more generous with my giving in monetary as well as other ways. Thank you, and blessings to you, Margaret. I am thankful for your healing.

  7. Didn’t dance at my son’s wedding but it reminds me how special his wedding was and our new daughter – in – law is for giving him such love after many years of heartbreak.

  8. Powerful reminder of the gift of giving.

  9. This story is touching. What seemed like a small gesture turned into something big. Thank you for sharing.

  10. Great story! It reminds me of a father, who gave up more than a dance, he gave up his son so that a remarkable relationship would be formed! I love when humans display the gospel so beautifully! What love!

  11. My daugther’s father decided he didn’t want to be a part of her life before she was two years old. My dad stepped up as a father figure for her until he went to be with the Lord when she was 15. Over the years she would give me father’s day cards and presents telling me how much she appreciated me for being both parents to her. . On her wedding day she honored me by dancing with me at her reception.She is the biggest blessing in my life!

  12. Beautiful. Giving can heal at so many levels. Thanks for sharing this beautiful story.

  13. This sounds like it would be a good book for my husband and I to share. Possibly inspiring us on to more giving together.

  14. This was a great story. I have 5 sons but couldn’t dance at their weddings, however I have 3 beautiful daughter in laws who I treasure. I know someday the other 2 will marry and I will be just as Blessed. My Son’s and their wives and my grandchildren are my greatest gifts.
    I am so glad the other mother in your story got her chance to dance, I’m sure it was a Blessing’

  15. We often think of giving as monetary – but it can be so much more!! Giving of ourselves. Giving of our time. This is giving with sacrifice. When we give, both the receiver and the giver are blessed.

  16. Thank you for sharing this story, it was so touching! I agree with another commenter that this book would be even better if read with my husband! As we both need work in the giving department!

  17. Would love a copy of this book! At the beginning of the year I chose “giving” as my word for 2014. I have to admit I haven’t done much with this idea–perhaps this book would help.

    Every year my husband gives joke presents at Christmas. One of my favorites was a compost bin! It looked so big and impressive all wrapped in a huge box by the tree. What a surprise when I opened it!

  18. What a great story. I am a palliative care nurse and we have learned to be generous with our patients and their families, giving them time, a listening ear, a shoulder to cry on, and comfort. It’s true…generosity comes in many forms. I’d love to read this book for inspiration to carry on in my job.

  19. That is an amazing story, what a blessing positive stories make. Reminds me of God being everywhere, he is in us….

  20. I just had the joy of my life….watching my daughter marry the man of her dreams! Knowing that your children have been given the gift of love is the best gift!

  21. I like receiving the heart felt gratitude of my mancub. It caught me totally off guard and blessed me deeply. Giving is my love language, so learning to receive fills my tank afresh.
    Margaret, I like you!

  22. A beautiful story that will heal many hearts. God is truly amazing. I would love to read this book. Generosity is the key to open the doors of our hearts as well as to give hope and love to those who never expected the gesture.

  23. I’d have to say it was my son Jayden. After being bed-ridden for a year with endometriosis, followed by fertility treatments (it was either quickly getting pregnant or having a hysterectomy at 33) I got pregnant! After three weeks in the hospital, sixteen weeks on strict bed rest and an emergency c-section four weeks early because the cord was wrapped around his neck my husband and I were blessed with a healthy baby boy! Not only did he cure my endo, he was integral in my salvation! It was as a result of going to MOPS that I was saved! So, my best gift led me to my gift of salvation and he saved my life!!

  24. I LOVE giving and I am always looking for new ideas. I would love to win this book, read it, and GIVE it away to the next person so that they could repeat the process. 😀

  25. Would LOVE to read this book, the story was awesome!

  26. I don’t remember my mom or dad dancing at my wedding reception. But I do remember the band because it was the one that my brand new husband usually played with. After we danced it did take a turn “dancing,” well, playing trombone with the band.

  27. The best gift I have ever received is the trial I am in right now. It has been going for about 10 years, but it has changed me sooo much for the better. I am learning how to actually LIVE and that life in itself on any level, even the worst seasons, is a gift given to me, not something that I deserve. That if I actually got what I deserve, I’d get death. So it’s been a season of being humbled so I can see, appreciate and wholeheartedly receive God’s amazing, abundant grace for me ☺

  28. What a wonderful testimony! Thank you for sharing. The best gift I have ever received is my husband, Lane. Jesus chose him for me before the foundation of the world and I will be eternally grateful. Thank you, Margaret, for giving to the Lord and to us~~you are loved! !

  29. I have had the privilege to dance with two of my sons at their weddings and still have one more to go. It is a beautiful thing. The knowledge of this book comes at the most perfect time in my life – I just had a conversation with my husband yesterday that I want to become a more generous giver. Thank you Margaret for sharing!

  30. Very touching. It got tears out of me.

    Be blessed today.

  31. Wow!
    This is beautiful
    I understand the gift you gave – our oldest son passed away at age 22 in 2001, so the dance that was scheduled to be in June 2002 did not happen.
    Our younger son married in 2006 to beautiful wonderful girl and we danced.
    So thankful for that dance.

  32. The best gift I have ever received by far is salvation through Jesus Christ. Being able to share that with my 13 year old son as he received Christ last year was icing on the cake!

  33. It is not until we give that we can feel the freedom and blessings of freely giving.

  34. All I can say is generosity is contagious, I hope everyone gives something in their lifetime!

  35. Beautiful story. Living generously is a hope of my life and my children’s.

  36. This was a beautiful story. I am so thankful that the mother listened to that small something so deep inside that led her to offer the rest of the dance to her son’s step-mother. Without her response this chance for healing would have been missed. Fabulous.

  37. One of the absolute best stories I have heard! Such a selfless and meaningful act of love. These are memories and feelings that will be forever ingrained in each of them.

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