Although I usually end up terribly sore, tired and with “battle scars” from preparing and coordinating our Believe Street Meals, not once had tears been shed over the past 8 years until yesterday, at about 10:30 in the morning. Our God has a sense of humour and at times, He enjoys drama…
The drama began on Thursday when a wasp and I hip checked each other and its stinger ended up in me. Although the anti-histamine came in handy, that didn’t prevent some swelling and the horrid itch. I am one who is overly prone to scratch and so the swelling doubled in size.
Friday and Saturday came and went with a powerful Divine Mercy Retreat held an hour away at Immaculate Conception Parish in Delta, B.C. Sunday rolled in, and the day began by begging and bargaining with God to give me just a few more minutes when the alarm rang at 7:00. Two bags of carrots where peeled and sliced and it was off to our Parish industrial kitchen with the rest of the ingredients that needed to be cooked on that final day.
The first angel arrived a little after 9:00 that morning. Her name was Nicole. My daughter and I had planned to cook together the night before, but I didn’t realize that the scheduled retreat would bring me back home after 8:00 that evening. Thankfully, that unplanned delay brought her to where she would play the role of my biggest “angel”
While carrots, pasta and cabbage boiled, we wandered off to the coat room of the parish where a friend had said she would drop off some clothing. I had anticipated a bag or two , but instead, there were 3 big heavy plastic bins full of items, together with a styrofoam ice-chest and another card board box. We peaked into one box and saw stainless steel bowls, a plastic container of sugar and a big box of oatmeal. A peak into the ice-chest brought our eyes across a package of bacon. Nicole said, “Mom, I don’t think these things are for you. A group may be going on a camping trip and they left their things here.” A later encounter with Msgr Greg clarified that all the items donated were intended for us. The cooked spaghetti still needed to be tossed with the meat sauce and the big tray of sliced cabbage still needed to be sauted among many other things. My mind screamed, “Where would I find the time to sort the items out and where would we find the space to bring these additonal items downtown???” Thankfully, God created tears as a stress releaser and the tears began to roll.
As always, God’s timing is meticulously perfect and while Nicole went to bring the items back, the Holy Spirit took over and He and the Father did some serious talking. By the time the spaghetti needed tossing, we realized that the meat needed more sauce. Nicole recalled the two bottles of red pasta sauce in the bin and out it came, being the very thing we needed to moisten the pasta. Later, when the cabbage needed an extra-ordinary flavouring, a bottle of white pasta sauce out of the bin came to the rescue. Although I was the mom and she was the daughter, each time I began to flounder, Nicole was there to encourage me on.
Later, “angel” Susan arrived to prep the potatoes. Although her cat had been to the vet 4 times earlier that week and was scheduled for emergency surgery the following day, she came, offering two hours with the potatoes and sorting through donated items. “Angel” Mariana then arrived with husband, Yanosh in tow, carrying the soup she had prepared. Seeing for the first time the stack of items that were needed to be brought on site to serve our street meal, he commented, “You need a lot of help, especially from men.” Together with Mariana, “Angel” Yanosh then took 6 folding tables out to the foyer to fasciliate their loading when the van arrived. Mariana stayed behind, washing the gadgets used, wiping down the counters and sweeping and mopping the floor!
Four angels had come and gone, easing the burdens I was not able to handle. But that was not all, three more angels came later on! Retired co-coordinator, “Angel” Mylene had learned that morning that our postponed meal was going to be served in the evening. Not only did she have a turkey pot pie to donate, but she wrote, “I would like to serve, if that is okay.” I could have cried a second time, when I realized God was sending another “veteran” to ensure that the meal would flow smoothly!
The final two angels came as a wandering couple. They had stopped by on-site to enquire what was going on and I had pointed them to our poster. They were touched and they thanked us for what we were doing. As they walked away, another Nicole had mentioned that we were low on paper cups. I beconed the couple back, mentioning our plight and I asked if they would walk the distance to purchase additonal cups, promising to repay them when they returned. The couple walked 5 blocks away from the direction leading them home and they returned, donating the styrofoam cups that were needed.
Lord, there is no better way to glorify You than to testify to the miracles You brought our way. Lord, You sent angels in the form of humans to assist when there was no other way! In Your Word, You promised, ” and we know that God causes ALL things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 You also promised…”No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 You knew I had reached my limit. You knew You couldn’t squeeze one more drop out of me and so You provided the way out. It was You who brought the perfect individuals, Your angels disguised as humans, to fulfill what I could no longer do!
Father, through Graham Cooke, You taught me that with every trial there are blessings tucked away with it. Graham encouraged his listeners to look for the blessings. I was too tired to look, but my girl recognized every one of them. She clearly saw how the contents of those bins had the very item we needed to complete our meal and she pointed them out to encourage me on! Thank You so much Father God! May You receive all the glory!
God bless us all!
p.s. – As we continued to look through the last donations, God began to help me realize that what was donated were the belongings of Anne, my dear friend who had passed a few months earlier from cancer. As that reality came to mind, it was as if God was reminding me that even she was “extending a hand” and interceding for us.
– Just as if she knew I was writing about angels, this is an e-mail I just received from Susan…
It is always you who initiated the direction for us to follow and learn from you to live like a Christian. You Are the One to be congratulated for your tireless, loving, caring, Christ-like supreme devotion to caring for our fellow man. Your effort will glorify God and we could only do a little bit to assist. I wish I could do much more for you. I take pride in your daughter, Nicole who is ever supportive of her Mum. You are blessed and comforted. And thank-you very much to all for your prayers for my cat, Jasper. He is still at the vet as of now. My love to you and please have a short nap in between the day.
– please pray for a speedy recovery for Jasper, the cat. Thanks!