Meal Ministry Mondays- Suzanne’s Chicken Soup

Last week, I showed a little window into my meal ministry and asked if you have one also to please e-mail me! I was amazed at how many of you either had one already or were willing to start one. God is so good. 

I would like to introduce you to our Sister-In-Christ, Suzanne- I hope her story touches you like it did me…what a blessing she is. Not only does she have a heart for the Lord, but she also is gifted in the way of cooking! 

As I read this beautiful post she sent me, 
James 1:27 came into my mind “Religion that God, our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” 

We are to help those souls who cannot help themselves and cannot return our favor. Out of love from the Lord we are to pour blessings upon them. This is what it is all about, my Friends….

Please open your hearts to my guest blogger today, Suzanne…

 Suzanne lives in New England on a little hobby farm she shares with her best friend and husband, Jim. They have five children and three precious grandchildren. The days are spent caring for animals, gardening, home schooling, knitting and wrangling a St. Bernard named Rupert and two corgis, Tasha and Bailey. God is good all of the time! 

Suzanne blogs at www.blueberrycottage.blogspot.com and loves all things blueberry
Please take a moment to visit her! 

Suzanne writes….
When I became a Christian over 25 years ago I was drawn right away to the church of food ministry.  You see, when I had a newborn and a three year old over 24 years ago, my then husband left and I became a single mom.  It was a devastating time for me and although I was lucky to have the support of family, things drastically changed in my life, as I knew it. When I had to return to work, getting sick was not an option, my children getting sick was dreaded, but sick we all got here and there. One time I had a terrible flu, the kind of flu where your bones ache so bad it takes all you’ve got to get out of bed. At the time I was newly saved and  I didn’t have a church family, but somehow this lovely older Christian woman, Roberta, got wind of my situation. This sweet lady rang my bell and I almost didn’t answer it, but my older daughter thought it may be her Nana so got pretty loud and excited. Whoever was at the door knew I was home now. When I opened the door, looking like death I am sure,  Roberta stood there with a huge picnic basket and a warm smile.  Her eyes were the kindest I had ever seen.  I was totally shocked, but invited her in and she emptied the wicker basket on my kitchen table. Out came 3 mason jars full of her homemade chicken soup, a loaf of fresh wheat bread, minted teas and honey, little butter cookies and a bundle of daffodils from her garden. Also inside, wrapped in pretty tissue, a devotional and lavender scented candle. I was so astonished at this lady’s generosity I didn’t know what to say. Tears, hot and salty streamed down my face, she hugged me and told me how special I was to Jesus. To say I felt absolutely cherished is an understatement. Roberta prayed with me, warmed up the soup and sat with my little girls while I ate. I have never forgotten her kind face, her gracious and loving spirit.


I have a special spot in my heart for the single mom and the elderly. My friends and church family know I love ministering to these two groups through food. The gift of a meal to a sick mama or ailing elderly lady or gent can mean the world to them.  Most times I bring the same type of food basket that Roberta brought to me. There really is nothing more healing or nourishing than a homemade chicken soup, fresh bread and tea and honey. I still include a devotional and either a candle or flowers.  Most sick or new mamas and elderly get an evening meal delivered, but not lunch. So my little “blessing baskets” are a luncheon treat. I do include plenty of soup if there are children .  I pack the soup in large mason jars so they don’t have to return any plastic containers. Bread and cookies I will wrap in parchment. I am always in search of baskets and  linens and find many vintage napkins and such in the thrift store quite cheap. I don’t spend a lot of money yet dress the basket up a bit with a few personal touches such as an embroidered napkin from the thrift store, a candle picked up at the dollar store. Devotionals I find marked down at the local Christian book shop or Barnes & Noble.


I have also taught my girls to minister to friends who are sick through these blessing baskets. We’ll pack their little friend the same food items, but include a CD of Bible stories or perhaps a Veggie Tales movie.   Walmart has these very inexpensively.  We’ve put a coloring book and crayons and puzzles into the baskets as well, again the dollar store has these.


My family also enjoys the meals I make. Many years ago I was at a home school conference and Susan Bradrick spoke on women ministering outside the home. Her words stuck to me like glue. She told us if we’re preparing a family a delicious ham dinner and our family is getting PB&J, there’s a problem. In ministering to others ,we cannot neglect our first ministry which is to our husband’s and children.


I would like to end with saying how refreshing it is to see young women like Janelle ministering in this way to those the Lord puts in her path.  The blessing of a meal is a balm to the soul of someone sick or hurting. A home cooked meal has the power to make a soul feel cherished and completely loved. Many of those we will bring a meal to may feel crushed in spirit, like no one cares, the gift of a meal ministers and blesses a  person’s spirit thus healing the body quicker, I believe.

“The human spirit can endure a sick body,
 but who can bear a crushed spirit?”
-Proverbs 18:14
An example of Suzanne’s gift…chicken noodle soup, tea, breadsticks, brownies, flowers and a devotional..beautiful.


And a basket to brighten a child’s day :) 

Suzanne’s Chicken Soup

1 3-4 lb whole chicken , use a rotissiere or bake 
with seasonings and a whole lemon pricked inside the cavity
1 bunch celery
1 lb carrots
2 large onion, one for the stock and one for the soup
6 cloves of garlic sliced
chicken bouillon cubes to taste
S&P to taste
One box of tubetinni or dittalini pasta (about 1/2 box)
Fresh parsley–about 1/2 cup chopped fine
*1 each can of College Inn broth roated garlic and lemon
(*if you can’t find the above substitute with an additional 2 cloves of crushed garlic and the juice of one lemon)
Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preparation
Debone the chicken and place the carcass in the pot with a few cloves of garlic, two whole carrots, two stalks, tops and all of celery, one roughly chopped onion and a bit of parsley. Gently boil for two hours then remove the veggies and strain the broth. Chop veggies and add to the pot with the rest of the ingredients except pasta and cook until done. Add the pasta and chicken you have removed from the bones and torn into chunks and simmer this until done and heated through. Garnish with a little fresh parmesan cheese and serve . Don’t forget if you can’t find the college Inn broths to add the juice of one lemon and a couple of garlic cloves put through a garlic press.

Suzanne, thank you for sharing your heart with all of us. I am truly inspired by what you are doing for the Lord. Our testimonies are so powerful when we use them to glorify our God. He is so faithful. 

Love to you!
Janelle 

Please e-mail me at JMNehrenz@me.com to be a guest blogger on Meal Ministry Mondays. I would love to show off your love for the Lord and His people! 

I am participating at Living Well Wednesdays!
For more inspiring stories please click on the button below.


 

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Comments

  1. Janelle Nehrenz says:

    Sorry Ladies, there was a problem with Blogger the first time I posted this.

  2. Courtney (Women Living Well) says:

    Wow!!! I LOVE this basket! Suzanne – your story touches me deeply- that you not only received but now are passing on the love that you received!!! Oh if everyone would do this what an amazing world we would live in!!!

    Thanks for sharing and your transparency!

    Keep walking with the King!
    Courtney

  3. window into our life of love, joy, and adventures! says:

    What an inspiration to us all! Thank you for sharing your love!

  4. Becky@OrganizingMadeFun says:

    Oh, that is so sweet and amazing! What a true blessing that must have been…and now you share with others. I recently started using http://www.takethemameal.com to help set up meals for church family. It's so easy and helps out a lot of families that need meals for various reasons. Thanks for the story.

    Becky B.
    http://www.organizingmadefun.blogspot.com
    Organizing Made Fun

  5. Janelle,
    What a great addition to your blog! I can't wait to read more stories of how God is using people to reach out for Him!

    Suzanne,
    Thanks for sharing your story of how God is using you! I can't wait to try your Chicken Soup!!

  6. Waouh I love this basket!!! Nice this is a very good idea.
    Was a little bit silent this days, but I was very very busy : I'm a mom from a young ski racer and in winter is very hard!!! We have to organize us to make all the family happy!!!
    But now it's spring again!!!!! And I'm here again.
    Many many blessings from France

  7. That was such a beautiful story. It is my desire to bless others in this way…now I just have to make more time for it. I love having people in to my home and do that often, but to be creative is another thing.
    Thank you for these wonderful gift basket ideas and thank you to Suzanne for sharing such a touching and motivating story!
    Blessings!
    Joanne

  8. Janelle Nehrenz says:

    Suzel, I missed you! But so glad you had time with your family over the winter! Thank you Ingrid…I am very excited about this too :) Becky…that is a wonderful site, I use it too!

  9. Janelle,
    The post came out lovely despite all that spiritual warfare you encountered:-) I am glad the story ministers to others, it is my hope more will "jump on the chuckwagon" and cook up a meal for someone in need. It's a lovely way to minister–who doesn't like food!
    Thanks for sharing your ministry with others!
    Love,
    Suzanne

  10. Connie H. says:

    James 1:27 is one of my all-time favorite verses in the Bible. It brought tears to me eyes to read how Suzanne was ministered to. It inspires me to be more aware of the widowed and singles in my own sphere of life. Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful post. Great ideas that mean so much to the one in need!

  11. Janice On Finance says:

    I cried when I read this. I cried because I know when MOMS are sick, there is nothing that we can do. We can't cook, eat, clean, or feed the kids. You feel lonely and isolated.
    I know lots of moms out there, and if I know any of them are sick I am going to do this basket thing. I love to give because my heart flutters every time I do. Now, I can't wait to to find a sick person hahahha

  12. Janelle Nehrenz says:

    Connie, that verse opens my eyes to who I should be giving to…the Lord loves us to have fellowship with our friends, but says it is pure to give to orphans and widows..wow…so true, isn't it!?. Janice, I know what you mean and have been there! I had H1N1 last year and had to care for my children with a mask on for a what seemed like forever….it was awful..I wish I had Suzanne as my neighbor :) Thank you so much Suzanne! Love to you all, Janelle

  13. Nice post and you have inspire me,You are very good in what you do. Keep up the good job.

  14. Holly @SurvivingOnAShoestring says:

    Wow suzanne that was beautiful thank you for opening up and sharing your heartfelt story with us! The work you do is so very appreciated!

  15. I really like what Suzanne said about making sure we care for our own families as we minister to others. I've recently started doing a lot of cooking for the freezer. This way I always have something for us on a busy day and something for others as the need arises.

  16. What a wonderful ministry! Thanks for sharing the recipe as well as the photos of items you include.

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