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.
|An example of Suzanne’s gift…chicken noodle soup, tea, breadsticks, brownies, flowers and a devotional..beautiful.
Suzanne’s Chicken Soup