I experienced a miracle today. I'm going to share it with you although to do so leaves me feeling vulnerable and exposed. The kids and I have been down to our last $15 for about a week now. I bounced a check for the first time since Jonathan moved out this week. Which as you know costs me 31 dollars, $31 I didn't have. So, I scrounged as well as I could deposited all my change and a friend gave me some cash. I deposited everything I had and it barely covered the checks coming out plus the banks fee. And we were of course out of food stamps. I thought maybe we would have $8 left after everything went through.
Then as fate would have it, Eowyn's cough got worse and she needed to go to the doctor. But I didn't have the co-pay, the gas money to get there or money to pay for the medicine the doctor would prescribe and Jonathan has cancelled our health insurance. Thankfully my dad was able to meet me at the doctor, he paid the co-pay and filled my car up with gas. I was able to talk the doctor into prescribing an antibiotic that Giant gives out for free. She has bronchitis, poor little lady.
But this still leaves me wondering if I can buy food for the week and having no idea when the next $20 will come from. (We still have food by the way, we're fine for now). And I will be starting to use some of our local food banks. I have a couple of small things I'm doing for cash this week but basically this highlights how we've lived for a year now. I've job hunted and job hunted never finding anything that will cover Eowyn's daycare expenses and leave me making anything and rarely if ever even getting a call back for an interview.
Then this afternoon my mom called, my Aunt Sandy had died. We were expecting this. The doctors had only given her a few days to live and we had begun to prepare ourselves. But that doesn't stop the grief and pain and loss we feel. There was only one thing I wanted to do for my family when this loss happened: make food.
In my family when something bad happens or something good happens you feed people. I grew up feeding people it's what I know how to do. And futhermore I LOVE doing it. I'm good at it. Comfort food is a speciality of mine.
But there were so many obstacles to this. 1) I don't have disposable pans right now and all of my normal pyrex dishes are in a friend's basement. 2) I had most but not all of the necessary ingredients 3) my parents had given me the money they would pay me for cleaning their house for gas money and E's drs appointment.
I got everything together I had already for the lasagna I wanted to make and just waited to see what would happen. I went to my parents house and cleaned and we looked high and low for my air mattress to help house everyone who was coming to town. We didn't end up finding it so I texted my friend, Shantih who has my stuff in her basement. Maybe we had taken the mattress over there.
I ended up crying on Shantih's shoulder a little and intending to only look for the mattress. Being the saint she is she hooked me up with some groceries. Not telling her about the lasagna I wanted to make I went in the basement to look for the mattress, it wasn't down there but I took the opportunity to see if there was anything else I needed. Guess what? There was! Pyrex dishes galore. Clothes I had forgotten I owned. Shoes that might fit Nina now that she's growing out of hers. And some pictures that I had already framed and loved and warmed my heart that is aching for family and beauty in this time of loss.
I walked upstairs and what was in the bag of groceries from Shantih? Lasagna noodles. Yep. Noodles for lasagna, the lasagna that she didn't know I was making. I still needed two more things to make the lasagna, cheese and eggs. I got in the car and asked God, am I going to the grocery store to buy these things?
"Yes, go to the store." Okay, so I headed toward the store. When I almost got to the store I heard.
"Call Deb, she has chickens, and she might have some extra eggs." Obviously with the way things were going I obeyed immediately. And of course she had eggs and would drop them off at my house.
I was left with one thing I needed a huge bag of mozzarella cheese. And I knew I had no food stamps left, they weren't supposed to renew till the 21st of the month. Today is the 13th, last time I checked that's at best 8 days away from more money for food. I walked to the dairy aisle. One bag was more than $8, I could use my debit card for it but it might cause me to bounce another check. I felt like I was supposed to get the cheese.
I picked it up, was temporarily tempted by the $1.70 box of fausnaughts and kept walking. I decided to self check out. As I was walking up to the register I felt a nudge to try my food stamp card. I chided myself slightly and was really glad I was checking out my own groceries, there's a limit to how much embarrassment I will willingly put myself through. If the card didn't work I reasoned, no one would know and I would know I was supposed to use my debit card. God had clearly been leading me the entire way through this, there was no reason to doubt now.
The card worked and tonight I'm making lasagna for free.
This isn't the type of thing that happens to me everyday. I know that God is with me. Sometimes I hear him speak or feel nudged by him and listen and sometimes I don't. Sometimes when I listen it seems to make sense. Sometimes when I don't listen it doesn't seem to really matter in the grand scheme of things. However I'm keenly aware that it matters to the heart of God when I don't obey.
But here's where the rubber meets the road for me. This week sucked, it's not over yet. There's so much more loss and tragedy going on that I can't begin to share it with you, it's too much for me to carry let alone to talk about. God knew I needed to see His hand clearly in my life right now. He knew that I needed to know that he cares about what will minister to me. He knew I needed to make lasagna. Because I matter to him and what matters to me matters to him. He knew I needed to say good bye to my Aunt, who is the same age as my mom over some italian food. And he knew that this was an awesome opportunity to show me just how much he loves me.
He loves you that much too. It might not be lasagna for you. But whatever matters to you, whatever is affecting your heart, no matter how miniscule the rest of the world may think it is. He cares about it. And I for one know this lasagna is heaven sent.