Many years ago Rick and I found ourselves in what we thought was great need.
It was the end of September 2008.
The day that the stock market crashed we lost his job and our savings.
And because of that crash, we had to move away from the area that we loved with all our heart, leaving our church and friends.
It did not take long for our money to be depleted, along with groceries & fuel.
Then to deal with the creditors – some who were understanding and willing to work with us.
Some were not – including the car company, which meant we lost our car.
About a month after the market crashed and we were at the end of everything – we sat outside at 3 am one morning.
Neither of us able to sleep.
We were worried, and scared.
Not knowing what the future held.
We sat there on the tailgate, looking at the stars.
Talking softly under the vastness of the night sky.
Tears would fall gently down our faces alternating between us.
Just as morning began to break, Rick put his arms around me and we just sat holding one another.
Finally, with a voice of surrender – but not defeat – he said, “What do we need TODAY? Just today. What do we NEED before we go to bed tonight? What do we NEED today that will keep us from sleeping tonight – because of worry and fear?”
I sat there thinking.
I said this bill was due or that one was, to which Rick asked, “But when are they due?”
I answered, “Next week.”
Softly but firmly he said, “But that’s not TODAY.”
Again he asked, “What do we need TODAY?”
I sat there a few more minutes, thinking, considering carefully before answering.
“Well, we have enough groceries in the house for at least 2 meals. And honestly? I can’t think of anything that we NEED today!”
We both sat there in silence for a little bit.
Then, I looked up at him and he was smiling.
I asked why the smile?
He looked down at me and said, “Remember the story of when God sent manna from heaven – every day? One day at a time. And the children of Israel were told to not gather more than they could eat in one day – or it would ruin and rot?”
I couldn’t do anything but smile thru the tears.
That was the day that we began our Journey of the Manna.
Every day from then until he died, we would look at one another and ask – “What do we NEED today?”
Rarely, very rarely, was there a day where we needed anything!
After that point in our lives, we never had much.
We never had the assurance again of money in the bank, or a store of groceries in the frig/pantry, or a full tank of fuel for the next day.
We never had the guarantee of bills being paid next month, or even next week.
BUT we also never went without what we NEEDED!
One late evening we were sitting there knowing that we had nothing for the next day.
We still did not need anything for that day 😉
I had used the last of the groceries for supper that evening.
The car we had at the time only had enough fuel in it to get to town – not even back to the house.
Bills were paid until the next few days.
But it was the end of the day, just a couple of hours before bedtime - the end of the day.
A knock at the door.
I went to the door and there stood a woman with tears in her eyes.
She said, “I don’t know how to do this, not sure what to say, but God has told me to give you this check. Please accept it in the love that it is being given.”
It was a check for $500!
Rick and I could do nothing but cry.
Our coming due bills were paid.
There was enough left over to fill the car’s gas tank.
And we were able to buy groceries that would last a week.
A week or so later, we drove to the post office to mail off the last bill of the month.
Rick came out of the post office with our mail – and handed me an envelope with no return address.
I opened it.
Inside was a card that said, “God loves you” – and a $100 bill.
We just looked at one another.
Sat there at the post office with tears streaming.
Rick finally said, “God, I will never again question or doubt You.”
Time after time, until Rick found a job.
And even then, we lived on what he called “The Manna Principle” – what do we need TODAY?
When his health failed, and the job ended – and when cancer invaded our world thru my body – we lived on that same principle.
We could always make a long ginormous laundry list of the things we wished for, the things we wanted, and what we would do or where we would go - if we had the $.
And many times, even those were covered in amazing ways.
*One Sunday morning, Rick and I were talking over coffee. And when we asked the question, "What do we need today?" - neither of us could think of anything. But we both said, at the same time, "But oh how good a chicken fried steak meal sounds!" We just smiled, knowing that we had food in the house for lunch - but nothing even close to that meal.
Just before 11:30 am, someone knocked on the back door. I went to the door and a gentleman was standing there with a white sack in his hands. He was a good friend of Rick's - they had gone to school together, played pool back in the day together - and he was a restaurant owner in town. He held the sack out to me, saying, "I thought y'all might like lunch today! No charge!" He smiled, gave me a hug and left.
I walked back to the kitchen, and opened the containers.
YES - a full chicken fried steak meal! For 2! Chicken fried steaks, green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, hot rolls, pie for dessert and 2 glasses of tea!
*Then there was the day that we were both craving a Dr Pepper. It had been so long since we had had one - it was almost like we could not remember the taste! But we had found the change in the couch (yes, lol) that was just enough to buy a small one - and we were more than happy to share. Rick walked up to the counter and ordered 1 small Dr Pepper. The lady said, "How about 2 large ones - on the house?" We politely declined, saying that we had the $ for 1 small one. She said, "No. I want to do this for you!" We were amazed and astounded. And yes, we enjoyed our Dr Pepper's - but we enjoyed more the conversation we had with her when she took her break!
*Time after time . . .
Looking back in my memories, and reading thru my writings - I don't find ONE day that we NEEDED anything.
Every day was taken care of - one way or another.
We learned how to do without.
And we learned how to make do with what we have.
We also learned that the Journey of the Manna was not easy - but it was well worth it!
When Rick died, I was left alone to continue that Journey of the Manna.
I will say, with full admission, it was easier to live this journey of the manna WITH Rick than without him.
But I will also say, again with full admission, it's been proven - time and time and time again.
With Rick, and since he died - there have been jobs to work, and no jobs to be had for either of us.
There have been days when the groceries were just enough for one day, and times when the frig and pantry were well stocked.
There has been fuel in the gas tanks, and times when only the fumes carried us where we needed to go.
There have been the bills paid, and some bills just had to wait. With some creditors understanding, and some - well not so much.
Needs have always been met - with a paycheck just enough, or a gift from someone (often when we had no idea who it was from). Sometimes with the creativity to make do with what we had - or the courage to do without.
*When Rick's health failed to the point of needing dialysis and all the medications - his nurse applied for him to a grant position, and he was accepted. $40,000 a month was 100% covered for almost 3 years!
*When cancer invaded our lives, I was accepted into the genetics program at MD Anderson - because my mother had also had this cancer - and my care (pushing $500,000) under them was also 100% covered.
Time after time - the big things . . . and the smallest things.
It’s not an easy life – it’s human to worry about tomorrow.
It’s human to think beyond today.
But as I sit here this morning and consider all the “today’s” that have gone by since that September 29, 2008, morning –
I realize again, it’s been GOD.