Marian was elbow deep in cookie dough, her sewing machine waited on the table with Jamie's unfinished shepherd's costume and she wondered how she would be ready for Mike's company Christmas party that evening.
Overwhelmed, she grudgingly took a minute from her hectic schedule to sit down with the day's mail. Glancing at the messy kitchen, she felt guilty but nevertheless picked up the first envelope and read the return address. The card was from her friend, June half a country away.
She opened the envelope in anticipation, excited to learn what was new in June's life. Apparently, this had been a hard year for her friend. The note read:
"Our year has been one of constant challenge. Ted spent several days in the hospital early on after a cardiac arrest and recovery time meant six weeks at home. Soon after, I lost my job in a lay-off. Miraculously, God provides and we are doing just fine, looking forward to the holiday. God bless – June"
Startled at the news, Marian didn't hesitate to pick up the phone and dial her friend.
"June, it's Marian! I just got your Christmas card. I'm so sorry to hear your news. How are the two of you doing?" she asked.
"Marian! Good to hear from you! No worries, my friend, we're doing just fine. Don't ask me how because I have no idea what to answer. Ted is recovered and back to work part time, I'm still unemployed but enjoying the holiday despite that," her friend answered.
"But are you okay? Financially, I mean. What can I do to help?"
June chuckled, "Your prayers and knowing that you're in our corner is what we need right now. Marian, I can't explain it. Somehow, all our needs have been met from food to bills to emergencies like new brakes. When Ted went into the hospital, I was really in a panic but we talked and together decided to commit everything to God and leave it in His hands. We have refused to worry about it but we bring our problems to Him instead. We haven't had a day of need since. Ted's health steadily improved and we have not missed a payment in all these months. I swear it's like the fishes and the loaves in my own household! Now, mind you, there is nothing extra at the end of the month, but there is just enough. God truly blesses and provides."
They chatted awhile longer before promising to keep in touch.
When the phone was back in its cradle, Marian took another look around her kitchen. Her needs were different, but no less important in her heavenly Father's eyes, she knew. Maybe it was time to put her own life in God's hands.
Eyes wide open and taking in the scene around her, she prayed, "Father, You know what's needful during this season and what is not. I'm putting my life, all of it, in Your hands. You can have the cookies, the costume, the parties, the housecleaning, all of it. Help me to know what is necessary and what is not. Please, Father, bless my household and provide us with a true holiday celebration."
At that, she packaged up the cookie dough and put it in the freezer for now. It would wait until the weekend when the kids might help her with the baking. She assessed the shepherd's costume and found it could be made a much simpler project. It wouldn't show off her sewing acumen, but it would do. She pulled a dress for the party from her closet and cancelled her shopping trip. Suddenly, it didn't matter if someone recognized the outfit from last year.
She nodded, smiled, poured a cup of coffee and picked up her Bible. Marian made a mental note to write June a thank you for such a generous gift. Her friend's reminder that God blesses and provides for the needs of His own was the most useful gift she had received in a long time.
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