As Thanksgiving approached, the only thing my friend Debbie, mother of eight, found in her freezer was a pound of ground meat. Finances were tight. Her husband had been holding down three part-time jobs since being laid off the year before.
With company coming for Thanksgiving dinner, Debbie really wanted to serve a traditional turkey, so she visited a large metropolitan ministry to which she had donated when times were better. They offered free turkeys for needy families. The conversation there went something like this:
Counselor: “Yes ma’am, we’d be happy to help you with a turkey if you’ll just sign the application. We’ll need your food stamp information.”
Deb: “Oh, we don’t get food stamps. My husband and I believe the Lord will supply our needs. We’ve been blessed with help from caring Christians when we needed it most.”
Counselor: “Did you say you don’t get food stamps? Step right over to that desk and we’ll sign you up for the program.”
Deb: Um, no sir, we don’t want food stamps. We don’t believe it’s the government’s responsibility to feed us.”
Counselor: “Well, that’s what they’re here for. It’s the only way you can get a free turkey from us. No food stamps, no turkey.”
Debbie left the building empty-handed, wiping away tears and whispering this prayer: “Lord, if it would please You, give us a turkey. We’re willing to feast on vegetable soup if that’s Your provision, and we’ll be grateful. But we’ve invited others to join us and I don’t feel comfortable asking them to eat soup for Thanksgiving.”
Not wanting to burden her friends or family, Debbie told no one about this pressing need and left it entirely in the Lord’s hands.
Two days later, Debbie’s father-in-law, with no knowledge of their plight, dropped by with a large turkey he’d run across on sale. A few days later, someone brought another turkey. Then another. And another.
In Debbie’s words, “For ten days, the floodgates of heaven opened and packed our freezer with fourteen turkeys, twenty chickens, and forty pounds of venison.” Then a grocery store gift card arrived, which provided all the fixings for a bountiful Thanksgiving dinner.
Debbie needed one bird and the Lord provided thirty-four. Plus a herd of deer. Wow! What a God we serve!
And what an example of gratitude Debbie is. She was ready to accept – with heartfelt thanks – a pot of soup, but instead she received in-the-flesh verification of Ephesians 3:20-21: “To Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above ALL that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory … forever and ever. Amen.” (NKJV, emphasis mine).
Wishing you, my friend, a heart full of gratitude and a pie full of chocolate this Thanksgiving.
*Excerpted from my book Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate
Oh, and special congrats to the winner of my Beyond Grateful Giveaway: Jennifer Hoppough. Jen will receive an autographed Too Blessed to be Stressed Deluxe Gift Set, featuring my 365-day devo, Too Blessed to be Stressed: Inspiration for Every Day, and the accompanying Creative Journal (the gift sets are exclusively carried by Sam’s Club – and I hear they’re running out, so hurry if you want one – but the devo is readily available in hard cover in Christian bookstores and online). A great way to start every day of the new year in Papa God’s word!