My kids and I had only served with Outreach and the Hands & Hearts Ministry once prior to Thanksgiving 2016, but we enjoyed it and the kids had formed a relationship with one of the guests.
Thanksgiving 2016 was cold. When we arrived at the outreach we were given the task of serving hot chocolate to the guests; we were partnered with James, a long time Outreach veteran. When we walked up to our serving location they were pouring a pan of milk, probably a 5 qt saucepan, into a 5-gallon container. What struck me was this was milk, white as snow not chocolatey brown, and my thought was “well, how is that going to be any good?” The first cup we poured this beautiful hot chocolate flowed. James and I poured while the kids took the cups to the guests. We had poured so much hot chocolate for this long line of people and James shook the container and commented that it felt like we only had a bit left, so we poured some more. Now James took the lid off and when we looked in you could see the bottom of the container, there was not very much hot chocolate left. James thought we only had about three cups left and we still had quite a line of people; cold and waiting for something warm. We poured those three cups and James shook the container again, still liquid inside. We poured and poured until every last person had received a cup of hot chocolate. I was awe-struck!
I have never witnessed a miracle until that day.
I grew up in a cereal box God relationship. You know the one, you go to church on Sunday, sing the songs, say the prayers, but the rest of the week God is never mentioned; I don’t even remember a Bible in our house until I was baptized at 12. I didn’t grow up with the strong God-faith that I was so desperately going to need.
In 2005 I had a beautiful baby girl; my mom had flown in for her birth. Six hours after giving birth to God’s miracle my mom and 15-year old son were killed going home from the hospital. All the teaching Sunday school and singing in choir wasn’t going to help me, I turned my back on God. I have never been so angry in my whole life; I felt like God had failed me. So many nights I lay in bed willing myself to die, wanting to commit suicide. As those thoughts flooded my mind all I could think of was the three children that still needed me. If I had more of a relationship with God I would have understood it was God speaking to me letting me know my job wasn’t finished, but I hadn’t grown up knowing God would ever speak to me.
This miracle changed my life.
I understood what John 6 was telling me. God gives us miracles to witness His love and His grace for our lives. God kept me here on earth to raise my children to know His everlasting love. I want to teach them to lean into God when times are hard, instead of pulling away. I want them to grow in God, to listen to God’s word and have them live the way He tells us. If I had followed my path I would not be here to teach them this and this miracle has set the foundation for my life.