Problematic Food

20 05 2013

The cupboards were empty, so were the refrigerator and the freezer – except for the pictures of food I had taped inside each. There were pictures of boxes and cans around the walls of the pantry and the freezer, and photos of plated food in the fridge. “If you can see it, you can achieve it,” I’d heard, but that was several months ago. Nothing happened. No food “magically” appeared. They were still completely bare.

I was forbidden to tell anyone about our financial situation. Because of my former husband’s pride, we did not receive government assistance. We had a small business, but not much business sense. Consequently, the mailbox was stuffed with bills that could not be paid. After a while, I didn’t bother to collect the mail. When our small box filled, the postman moved all the envelopes to the package box. When he could stuff nothing more into that compartment, he put everything in a bin and brought it to our door.

“Do you want your mail? Or shall I return everything?” he asked. His voice was tinged with sarcasm, his look disdainful.

(It’s been almost 30 years since that era of my life, yet when my husband of 17 years asks me to stop so he can pick up the mail, my stomach still ties in knots!)

Where was I? Oh, yes. Wondering what I would feed my four children and husband.

About six months prior to this, I’d happened upon hundred-pound bags of dry pinto beans and of rice. They were very cheap, so I bought one of each. It was a good thing, because shortly after that we had very little money for groceries…milk, diapers, that was about all we could afford.

During all this time we ate beans and rice…rice and beans…beans without rice…and rice without beans. Fortunately, I had a well-stocked spice cabinet, and was able to present varying flavors of these two items. Unless we were invited to dine with someone, we ate beans and rice.

We did get some apples once. We were down to the last one. I’d planned to cut it into quarters and give each child a piece. To my horror, one of the kids spotted the apple and ate the entire thing! When I recall the tongue-lashing delivered for this “vile selfishness,” I feel such humiliation and embarrassment. The responsible child was probably eight years old at the time.

These were the hardest financial times I’d ever faced. I was a mental and emotional wreck, so confused about what was right and wrong. Being a “religious” person, now divorced and remarried, I believed that I was being punished for the sin of divorce. I did my best to keep a good attitude and be strong while I endured the “consequences.” Surely God’s wrath would be spent and “He” would move on to someone else. (Yes, this is what I believed God to be like. Oh, how I maligned His good name and character during that period of my life.)

I crumpled the empty bags and threw them in the trash. Panic and fear wrapped their ugly, cold fingers around my chest.

What am I going to feed my children?

I sensed the Lord ask if He could have a turn at feeding us. What else could I do? I was out of options. I accepted His offer.

Later that afternoon, there was a knock on the door. When I opened it, one of my neighbors was there. She had a problem and wanted to know if I could help her out.

“Our big freezer broke down. There is a ton of food that will go to waste. I’d rather give it away than throw it out. Do you have any room in your freezer?”

Let me move a few of the pictures around,Β I thought to myself. I could probably fit a “few” things in there!

“Yes, I have room for some food. Are you sure you don’t want any money for it?” I replied. Please say “no.”

“That won’t be necessary. I’m just happy to get rid of the stuff. Can you come help me carry the bags?”

I followed her to the garage. There she filled bags with meat, vegetables, and even ice cream! I was amazed.

For the next several months, this is how it went. A neighbor’s garden produced a bumper crop and they needed to find people who would take the extra vegetables off their hands. One hit a great meat sale, and didn’t have room for all they bought – so they gave it away. Chickens laid more eggs than could be sold. One person after another experienced a surplus of some sort and it ended up in my kitchen.

Most of these people weren’t neighbors, by the way. None were aware of our circumstances. We happened to be there when they needed to unload their “problematic” food!

I began to know God as my Provider. As time went on, the amount of stockpiled food decreased until the cupboards were, once again, empty. Because of my increased faith in the Lord, I would simply thank Him for the meal He would surely provide.

We did not miss a meal during that time. We didn’t have an abundance; what I experienced was more like manna. Enough for the day’s needs, but nothing left over.

Those days are long behind me, but the lessons learned are still fresh in my mind. When I feel my faith sag a bit, I recall the various ways God took care of my family during those years. He used my difficult situations to demonstrate His love and tender care. Being slow to trust Him, the process took many years and various circumstances before I began to completely rely on Him.

God is the most patient of Teachers, for which I am truly grateful!

How have you experienced the goodness of the Lord? I’d love to hear your stories.

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36 responses

17 08 2015
isaiah41v10

The past year was very tight for us financially, and we usually only just made it from month to month with nothing to spare. Late last year we felt that God wanted us to increase our giving significantly. I had no idea where the extra money would come from, and lay awake that night worrying about it. The day after we made our decision, when I was cooking dinner I had the thought, “Cook two cups of rice. ” I tried to dismiss it because we were getting through 3 cups every meal. I said to myself, “I’ll cook 2 1/2.” But the thought returned, insisting, “Cook two.” I figured it must be God, but I was highly skeptical that it would be enough. It turned out that we had leftovers. πŸ™‚ He has continued to ‘stretch’ our rice ever since then and I still only cook 2 cups for 7 people, and get leftovers! Some of us are big eaters too. We have also continued to get by each month and pay all our bills, despite giving hundreds of dollars more per month than we were last year. God is truly amazing (and gracious, considering my lack of faith!).

17 08 2015
lessonsbyheart

Whew! I’m glad I wasn’t given your assignment. I’m not sure I would have fared as well. It is fun to see food and other resources stretch without explanation, though, isn’t it? We have been honored with such a treat, I believe.
\o/

17 08 2015
isaiah41v10

Yes, and whenever I am tempted to go back on our decision, I remember the things God did to show me that we were on the right track, and His faithfulness so far.

22 05 2013
Pure Glory

Thanks for sharing your faith building story, Tami. When we are desperate and depend on the Lord, he always comes through for us. It is truly amazing how he sustains us and keeps us through the years. He walks with us and carries us, when we get exhausted. πŸ˜€

22 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

πŸ™‚
\o/

21 05 2013
heavenlyraindrops

What an amazing story of God’s provision. thanks for sharing.

21 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

You’re welcome!
\o/

21 05 2013
labhrashealy

what’s that saying “Been there, done that, got the t-shirt” and since childhood that T-shirt has re-appeared on different stages. His Grace is sufficient and He has never left me abandoned. Thank you God. A timely post, Tami. Thank you for sharing.

21 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Got a whole collection of those T-shirts myself! Happy to tell of God’s grace and provision once again. He’s more than amazing.
\o/

21 05 2013
Valerie Rutledge

What an awesome God we serve! I love reading other’s testimonies of how God brought them through a difficult time. I know it could not have been easy to share something so very personal but blessings to you for doing so!

21 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

He is so amazing! I’m thankful to have had so many experiences where He showed Himself mighty – and this opportunity to share them. I want everyone to know Him as Mighty God – and yet as Friend. I’m glad you enjoyed this bit.
\o/

20 05 2013
buttrflygrl14

Not long ago, my husband and I were literally waiting daily to know what we would eat. He had been laid off and the little town we lived in was “drying up”. Every day, like the Lord’s prayer says…”Give us the food we need today” He provided.
Then…flash forward about a year later; we had to move from our beloved home and ended up back in the city of our birth. Our daily needs had been lessoned during our “drought”, and we were able to both apply the difference between need and want and ate well. Then…
God asked us to eat only what we had, until the cupboards were empty, not buying ANYTHING in advanced and replacing ONLY absolute nessesities. (Water, milk, eggs) but no meat, or canned/dry goods until we were EMPTY! I was like, ” okay…if You say so” It was a very challenging 2 months. How often have I said “I have to go to the store cause we have “no food” when we did” but because it wasn’t food I PLANNED for, like a meal it was considered “not food”??? Ugh! Had we really just not long ago been REALLY without! It was humbling and boy did He have to show me how to make a meal with a can of pinto beans, a can of diced tomatoes, and spices!!
It felt absurd, because we COULD go shopping if we wanted, but obedience was more important. Needless to say in both situations we have “come away” altered in our thinking and living. His provision goes beyond…way way beyond our physical needs! In fact He is way more interested in “feeding” our hearts than anything else πŸ™‚
I am awed by His ways and His attention to detail! To say Jehovah Jirah (God our Provider) is Abundant almost seems to skip a verse in the song! He is the mainframe of Provision…if we will but listen and let Him do what He ALWAYS does…Provide! Feed! Guide!

Awesome post! Grace and peace in Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah dear Sister! πŸ™‚

20 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Wow! Great story. He is indeed my Provider. Not in a “gimme” kind of way, as if He were a Genie in a bottle.

I’m not a “gimme” kind of person, anyhow! But when I speak to Him about true needs, He always provides.

Thank you for sharing with me. πŸ™‚
\o/

20 05 2013
vonhonnauldt

My stories of the providence of God turn another direction. I don’t know how many times I’ve asked God where I put something down or lost it or just couldn’t find it, and almost the next thing I see is what I was looking for.

Your story and some of the responses remind me of George Muller’s life of faith. Have you read him?

20 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Yes, I’ve read Muller’s story. He is quite often my inspiration when it comes to confidently trusting in the Lord.

I showed my daughter-in-law (3 times in one day), that when we misplace something we can ask. The Lord is delighted to show us where the missing item is. Since she loses things from time to time (don’t we all), she gets opportunities to ask, seek, and knock…and get answers!

Thanks for sharing.
\o/

20 05 2013
greenlightlady

Tami, this is such a beautiful and amazing story of God’s provision! It really reinforces the wiseness in truly bringing our needs to him and then simply trusting as we wait for his answer.

Blessings ~ Wendy

20 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

It was a hard-won lesson, and took several months before I threw up my hands and said, “I give – You’re good!”

Have a blessed day.
\o/

20 05 2013
lovelifeloavesandfishes

Laughed and shook my head, but only because I had to learn about God’s kindness and provisioning too via a shopping bag friend the day our food would have run out. So many years ago, but still remember the knot in my stomach. Why do we ever doubt His kindness….? You might be interested in Faith Life Now and Gary Kessee – challenging, but excellent on provisioning.
Thanks so much for dropping by my blog and liking it. I’ll look forward to following your blog now too. (some of it seems so familiar…..!!!)
blessings
Janet

20 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Yay, God! Isn’t He so good and so patient while we learn to trust Him? I’d have thrown me back long ago!

I’ll check into Faith Life Now & Gary. Are these blogs, books, or websites?
Thanks for pointing me in that direction.

The Lord bless you and keep you, make His face shine brightly upon you and give you peace!
\o/

20 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Found his website – and podcast. I love podcasts, and listen to several preachers on a regular basis. Thanks for the suggestion.
\o/

9 06 2013
lovelifeloavesandfishes

Website, but has lots of books and CD resources. Well worth it!
Sorry it has taken me so long to reply to this…..
Blessings
Janet

9 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

πŸ™‚

\o/

20 05 2013
Rob Barkman

it never ceases to amaze me when i hear of stories of God’s goodness. We all have had needs miraculously supplied by our gracious Lord. My greatest need that He met miraculously is forgiveness for all my sins. When I stop and think about I have done, and still do, to fail Him… it never ceases to amaze me how my he loves me and shows me with continual forgiveness.

Great posting. Thanks.

20 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

I’m with you.That is truly the greatest miracle of all.

I stand utterly humbled that He would want someone like me. Even “cleaned up” there’s still so much work for Him to do. Yet, He loves me with an everlasting love. Just thinking about all He’s forgiven me for (and continue to do so) brings tears to my eyes.

He is wonderful, and I am honored to call Him my Lord!
\o/

20 05 2013
Toni Sprandel

I can’t say that I have ever been in any of these situations but I have seen the LORD’s hand provide just what I needed when I needed it. He is a great and awesome God and I can not begin to thank Him enough for you and all the other bloggers who encourage me each day!

20 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks, Toni! πŸ™‚
\o/

20 05 2013
Tony

Been there done that

20 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

πŸ™‚
\o/

20 05 2013
Kari Anne Dorstad

Great testimony of God”s riches and Glory. Satan is on a budget but God operates in abundance.

20 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Yes He does!
\o/

20 05 2013
Deena Siddle

We own a coffee shop named Son – Rise Espresso it has been God’s business from the start. He was provided for our needs each day for 10 years now. Sometimes down to the minute that I need it. The house payment is due at the bank by 2. I have it by 1:45. I had what I needed the bank is across the street.
I just like any spoiled child would like to know that all of my needs will be provided days ahead of time.
And sometimes God gives me that because He is a loving Father and wants to give good things to his children. If we are faithful to Him.
Thank you for the reminder.

20 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thank you for sharing your story about our good Father!
\o/

20 05 2013
Elizabeth Yalian

This brough back similar memories during my first marriage. What an amazing God we serve! He miraculously fills our needs! Thanks for sharing!

20 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

πŸ™‚

20 05 2013
Larry Who

I, too, have been through valleys like this when I was learning how to trust God and believe Him for my needs.

One time, because my painting company suffered through a dry spell, I had not eaten for days. I sat in my room and prayed, “Lord, send someone over to take me out for a big steak. Don’t bring a pizza or leftovers, because I want a steak.”

I sound like a spoiled child when I read that now, but that’s what I prayed.

An hour later, a friend came over and asked, “Would you like to go out and eat steak with me. I just finished a great supper, but now I have this burning desire to eat steak. I’m buying.”

Later on, we both laughed when I told him my prayer.

Thanks for this article because it helps to build my faith by remembering the valleys I walked through.

28 05 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚
God had a purpose in telling us to β€œremember” where we’ve been, and what we’ve experienced. You hit on it here – it builds our faith whenever we recall His faithfulness.
\o/
(This may be a second reply. I did something funky and it ended up being a separate comment. I wanted to be sure you got it. πŸ˜‰ )

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