73: The Full Circle Miracle

73: The Full Circle Miracle

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles

The Full Circle Miracle

Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation.

~Elton Trueblood

“But my debit card has to work,” I said to the store clerk. “My paycheck was deposited into that account just this morning.”

The clerk shrugged. “It’s declined your card three times.”

“But there’s money in my account,” I said. I looked at the much-needed groceries and then into the faces of my two young children. “I’m going to my bank to get the money,” I said. “I’ll be right back.”

While driving to the bank, I fought back tears. Why did everything have to be so hard? I was going through a divorce I didn’t want. I was struggling financially, emotionally, even spiritually.

Maybe especially spiritually.

The news at the bank wasn’t good.

“According to our records, your checking account has been frozen because of unpaid taxes,” the teller said.

“But that’s not possible,” I protested. “I don’t owe any back taxes.” But even as I said the words, I realized what must have happened. “I’m going through a divorce,” I explained, “and my name is still on a lot of my ex-husband’s liabilities. I’ll bet this is just a mix-up.”

The teller shrugged and said, “We can’t remove the lien from your account until we get the government’s approval, and that can take several weeks.”

I could feel tears in my eyes. “So I can’t use my account until then?”

“That’s right,” the teller said and then she looked past me to the next person in line.

When we got home, my three-year-old daughter, Julia, began to cry. “But I wanted chicken for dinner,” she whined. “We have to go back to the grocery store.”

“We can’t,” I said. “The card that I use to pay for things doesn’t work right now.”

She shrugged. “Let’s just use regular money.”

“I don’t have any of that either,” I said.

Six-year-old Jordan’s eyes grew big. “How are we going to buy stuff?”

The tears I’d been holding back finally spilled over. “I wish I knew, buddy.”

That night, we had macaroni and cheese for dinner. It was the last box in my nearly empty pantry. By bedtime, Julia had forgotten about the chicken she’d wanted, but I could tell Jordan was worried.

“We’re doing all right, bud,” I said, rubbing his back. “Mac and cheese is your favorite anyway.”

His blue eyes looked troubled as he said, “Yeah, Mom, but what about tomorrow?”

I pressed my cheek to the top of his head and muttered, “Yeah, Lord, what about tomorrow?”

Although I knew what the Bible said about God hearing our prayers, lately I’d been wondering if those verses applied to me. I would definitely need some divine intervention to get through this one.

The next day was Saturday, but I still woke up early. I was wondering how I was going to tell the kids that there would be no milk for their cereal that morning when the doorbell rang. It was my neighbor, and she was holding a bag of groceries.

“We’re going on vacation,” she said, “and this food won’t be any good when we get back. Can you use it?”

My mouth dropped open. “Oh, yes, thank you so much,” I said.

“I’ve got some milk too, if you want it,” she said.

“Yes, please,” I said quickly. “We just ran out last night.” I felt tears fill my eyes. “You don’t realize how much this means right now.”

My neighbor waved her hand through the air. “It’s no big deal.”

“You’ve become an answer to my prayers,” I insisted.

I hugged her and wished her a safe trip. I closed the door and breathed a sigh of relief. My kids would have milk for their cereal that morning, and as an added blessing, chicken for dinner that night.

The food from my neighbor didn’t last long, but when it was gone, another unexpected bounty appeared. And then another one after that. A friend lent me some money, my mom sent a pre-paid card for the gas station, another family member invited us over for dinner. Somehow, we were getting by.

Five weeks later, I was finally granted access to my checking account. The first thing I did was head to the grocery store to stock up on non-perishable food. If something like this ever happened again, I wanted to be prepared.

I filled my cart to overflowing. Both of the kids looked at me with wide eyes. “Why are you buying so much food, Mommy?” Julia asked.

“Because the last few weeks have been really hard, and I want to make sure nothing like that ever happens to us again.” I smiled. “I have to take care of you and your brother.”

Jordan frowned. “Isn’t taking care of us God’s job?”

His words stopped me short. “Yes, but I’ll just feel more secure if I buy this stuff.”

“But why, Mom?” Jordan asked. “God answered our prayers. He made sure we had milk for our cereal and gas for the car.” He smiled. “God even remembered Julia’s chicken.”

I looked at the grocery cart and realized its contents would feed my small family for several months. There is nothing wrong with being prepared, but I was going too far. This shopping trip wasn’t about stocking up on canned goods; it was an indicator that my heart wasn’t in the right place. Despite God’s faithfulness during the last few weeks, I still wasn’t trusting Him to answer my prayers.

I murmured a quick prayer, asking God to help me trust Him. I felt His peace come over me, and when I opened my eyes, I knew what He wanted us to do.

I smiled at my children and said, “You’re right. God did take care of us. And now, we have a chance to care for others.”

I purchased every bit of food in that cart, but we took less than half of it home with us. Most of it went to our church’s food bank.

Answered prayers are always a miracle, and more often than not, God uses other people in that process. My children and I had been the beneficiaries of answered prayer, and now, the food we were donating could become the answer to someone else’s prayer.

And that was a full circle miracle.

~Diane Stark

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