When my girls were young my husband ( a police officer) was involved in a very serious wreck. He received neck injuries which required surgery, and was home recovering. During that time we were receiving workman’s comp payments, thank goodness, which made up for his loss of a paycheck. The comp payments arrived at a different time than our normal paycheck which was why, at Christmas, I found we would not have presents for the girls until after the holiday. I would be able to stuff stockings for them and we had a very tight budget for groceries, but still, I knew we would be all right. I knew many families would have no Christmas at all that year, and our girls would just be a little late in getting their presents.
That is why, when a dear friend from church called and asked “Do you have Christmas for the girls?” I didn’t hesitate to say yes. In my mind, God would provide the gifts after the holidays.
My friend seemed unconvinced, but she expressed her affection for our family and said she was praying for my husband’s healing and hung up the phone.
Later that week I was grocery shopping with my three little ones. I had a tight budget, but like I said, we would make it. My oldest daughter, age 8, eyes glittered when she saw a jar of peanut butter and jelly swirled together. I had to admit it was very pretty. “Mom, can I have this?” She handed me the jar. I shook my head. “Honey, we already have a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly at home.” My budget would not allow buying unnecessary items. “Mom, it’s so pretty! Please?” My heart hurt to say no a second time, but it just wasn’t in my budget.
A few days later my phone rang again. It was the church friend. “Are you sure you have Christmas for the girls?” I hesitated this time. I didn’t want to lie, but I knew we would have the money after Christmas, God would take care of us, and I would get them stockings. “Yes, we’re fine.”
My friend blew out an exasperated sigh. “Either you’re not telling me the truth or I am missing God.” My heart sank. “What?”
“Either you’re not telling the truth or I am missing what God is saying. Every time I pray for your family God tells me you don’t have Christmas presents for your daughters.”
I was silent for a moment. Then I explained the time frame to her.
“I knew it!” She said. “I knew I was hearing correctly. Well, I have some gifts that I bought my nieces that they don’t need. I want you to come by my house and pick them up.”
“I said come by my house and pick them up. I have them in the living room.”
Now, I knew she had gone out and bought gifts for my daughters, as there were three piles of gifts. Also, when I arrived at her house she showed me into the kitchen and there were three grocery bags full of food. I was so humbled by her actions, and so humbled that God thought enough about my family that He would trouble this woman until she obeyed.
When I arrived home with the gifts and the groceries, my oldest daughter was helping me empty the bags. She handed each item up to me from the bag and her hand stopped in mid-air.
“Look!” She said.
In her hand was a jar of swirly peanut butter and jelly. I caught my breath.
“I prayed and asked God for it!” My daughter exclaimed.
In honor of that dear friend’s faithfulness, our family is sponsoring a wounded warrior family for Christmas this year. My daughters, now grown and with babies of their own, will buy gifts for the children of this family and my husband and I will provide a gift card for their meal.
The part that touched my heart the most? God cared enough about a little girls prayer to give her swirly peanut butter and jelly for Christmas!