Hannah crept out of bed and padded down the hall. She peeked into the kitchen. Her mom’s crying woke her up, and even though Mommy had told her to stay in bed, her curiosity got the best of her.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do. Dan left a week ago, and I’m running out of food.” Hannah’s mom sobbed into the phone.
No food! Six-year-old Hannah didn’t always understand grown-ups, but this she could comprehend. Daddy had left and Mommy cried all the time. Hannah had a three-year-old brother and two year old sister. What would they do?
“I can’t leave the kids to go to work. It’d cost a fortune for daycare, and I’ve applied for assistance, but that takes a while. You know how that is.”
Hannah thought surely her mother couldn’t cry any more tears. The person she talked to was probably her best friend, Mary. She must have said something about church because Hannah’s mom said, “I’ve only gone a few times to that church. I’m ashamed to ask them for help.” She sighed. “I’ll have to figure something out in the morning. Maybe I can call my mom for some help. Lord knows I’ve been praying hard this week.”
Hannah scurried back down the hall, and jumped into bed. When her mom poked her head in the door, she said, “Mommy, I love you.”
Her mom came over and stoked her head. “I love you, too, baby. Now go back to sleep.”
How could a little girl sleep knowing what she knew? What a big secret for such a little girl.
The next day, the doorbell rang. Mommy showed a man and a woman into the living room. Hannah recognized them from the church where she went to Sunday School a couple of times. They set three large boxes in the floor.
There she goes again, thought Hannah. Mommy just cried and cried. But this time, she had a smile across her face.
“Oh, you don’t know what a blessing this is. You’re an answer to prayer.”
When the man and woman left, Hannah, her brother and sister, and Mom dug into the boxes. Inside they found boxes of macaroni and cheese mix, a great big jar of peanut butter, bread, some vegetables – which Hannah figured her mom could eat, and a whole bunch of other food.
In one of the boxes, Hannah found crayons, markers, some coloring books, and a Bible for children. She heard her little sister squeal, then pull out a baby doll wrapped in a pink blanket. Her brother held tight to a red toy car.
“Let’s take these crayons and markers into the kitchen and write thank-you notes to the kind people who gave us all this. What a blessing!”
Hannah didn’t know exactly what blessing meant or how the church people knew to bring the boxes, but she did know she felt a whole lot better knowing her family had food now. And to think – people who didn’t even know them bought them food and toys.
Twenty years later, Hannah sat in church listening as the Pastor made the announcements from the pulpit. “We have a need in the church. A mother and her two children are in desperate need of some food.”
After church, Hannah hurried up to speak to the Pastor. “I’d like to take care of that need, Pastor.”
She went to the grocery that afternoon to buy the supplies. Hannah got enough to fill three boxes. She stopped at another store to pick out a doll and a toy car.
Because she had been through hardship herself, Hannah felt more sensitive to those in need. Her eyes filled with tears at the prospect of a little girl and boy’s eyes lighting up when they spotted the toys. While she stood in line to pay, she breathed a prayer of gratitude to God. “Oh, Lord, thank you that I can be an answer to prayer like someone was to me all those years ago. I am so blessed.”
By Donna J. Shepherd
*Based on a true story