Today is Thankful Thursday, and I would feel extremely ungrateful if I did not thank my Heavenly Father for the many blessings I have received of late. For those of you who don't know, my husband lost his job at the beginning of June, so financially, things have been pretty stressful lately. It's funny, though, how when times are tough, the Lord always has a way of putting things into perspective, and I am truly grateful for the outpouring of love and providence that we have received from Him this past month and a half.
A few weeks ago before M went to Oklahoma for a five-week visit with her biological father, we decided to take her to Cici's pizza to enjoy one last little splurge with her before she left. We had a coupon for a free buffet, too, so we were able to feed our entire family for about $10. After engorging ourselves on yummy pizza, salads, and dessert, we packed up the kids and headed out to the car to continue on with the rest of our evening.
As we were buckling kids into seat belts, a woman walked up to the car and asked me if I had some spare change. She said that she had just lost her job and that she had no money to feed her three children, who were standing behind her (all of which looked to be about middle-school-aged). Initially, my reaction was to blow her off and apologize, saying I didn't have any cash on me. Honestly, I get so tired of being bombarded by people in parking lots for spare change. It seems like I can't even go to the grocery store anymore without someone stopping me and begging for money.
Anyway, the woman asked if I could go somewhere and buy them some food. Then, I proceeded to tell her that my husband too had just lost his job, and that we also have three children to feed. I asked her if she had tried applying for unemployment and welfare, and with tears in her eyes, she said that she had, but the applications had not been approved yet, and she wouldn't be receiving help from them for several days. We chit-chatted for a few more seconds and then said our goodbyes, but before she turned away, she said, "I hope your husband finds a job soon. God bless." I closed my door and to my everlasting shame, we drove away.
Almost immediately after pulling out of the Cici's parking lot, my conscience started eating away at me. Sure, we claimed to also be in a hardship, but we had just had the ability to feed ourselves (quite plentifully, I might add) and all three of our children. My mind kept flickering back to those kids in the parking lot, and I couldn't help but think of M and the two babies. How would I feel if I did not have the ability to feed them? What lengths would I go to in order to provide a meal for them if they were hungry? And then I thought about how fortunate we are that we have the Gospel in our lives. If we got to a point where we could not feed our children, I know that the Church would be able to provide us with immediate temporary assistance because of their inspired welfare program. But this woman didn't have that luxury.
It was then that the spirit testified to me so strongly that I needed to help her and her children. I shared my feelings with Zach and told him that we should pull into a McDonald's and at least get them a couple of McDoubles (thank you, dollar menu). I know it wasn't much, but we honestly did not have a lot of income at our disposal. We got them an extra one too, just in case. The whole way back to the Cici's parking lot, I kept kicking myself in the behind thinking, what if they were gone? What if I wouldn't be able to get that meal to them? I had so many mixed emotions and was feeling the spirit very strongly. It took every ounce of self control to keep the tears at bay.
We pulled up to the Cici's parking lot but we didn't see them, and my heart sank. We thought maybe they were walking somewhere nearby, so Z decided to drive around a bit to see if we could spot them in a nearby parking lot. Sure enough, there they were across the way in a parking lot kitty-corner from the Cici's. Z put the pedal to the medal and we raced over to them, hoping they wouldn't leave before we could get there. Finally, we got to the parking lot and pulled up next to the woman, handing her the bag of burgers out the window. She thanked us and we drove away.
My heart was so full and I felt so blessed. Not only because we were not in her position, despite our circumstances (I hope that doesn't sound awful), but also because we were able to serve her and her children, if even with something as simple as a couple of burgers. I felt like we were really doing the Lord's work, and the spirit was so strong that I almost couldn't hold the tears back any longer. I think everyone in the car felt it too. It was truly a humbling experience, and I couldn't help but thank Heavenly Father for my many blessings.
Anyway, I noticed last night that we were almost completely out of bread, so I got up this morning and started making bread for my family - you know, because nothing says, "Hot summer day in July" like sweating bullets over bread dough. Hehe. Seriously though, as I sit here typing this post, I can't help but thank my Heavenly Father for the ability that I have to provide this comfort for my family. We are truly blessed. :)
The Best White Bread Recipe Yet Written