It was the Friday of an unpaid week off from work when I looked through my cupboards and shuddered. There was no check coming that Wednesday and I definitely did not have enough food to stretch until the following week. My husband’s carpentry business was doing poorly and we had no idea when his next check would be.

I shot up a prayer out of desperation, inwardly fearing what I’d have to tell the kids when the food ran out. Our friends knew we were having financial difficulty, but no one knew the depth of our trouble. I had gotten tired of telling the same sob story over and over and over again, “we don’t have the money,” so I just stopped telling it. Not a soul aside from myself knew that we would run out of food before the next pay check came.

When my mother-in-law bustled through the door that night with her usual flair carrying a paper grocery bag, it really didn’t phase me at all. She was forever cleaning out her basement, a seemingly bottomless pit of children’s books from the 1960s, cake mixes that weren’t much younger and well-used tupperware, all of which she brought as “presents” with every visit. I took the bag from her without much thought but audibly gasped when I looked down. It was completely loaded with fresh produce; lettuce, celery, carrots, etc. “We’re going on vacation tomorrow and I didn’t want all this food to go to waste. I thought you could use it.” I hugged her hard and told her how thankful I was, still keeping our dire situation to myself.

The next morning, my oldest daughter came home early from a sleepover to catch her piano lesson (bartered for with carpentry work) at 10 AM. She walked in carrying a plastic grocery bag that looked like it was about to burst. “Renee’s mom is making room in her freezer for their next slaughter,” (they own a mini farm,) “so she sent this along.” There was a lamb roast, hamburger, chicken, and venison; more than enough for a week’s worth of meals. At this point, I thought “OK, this is really interesting Lord” but I kept my cool.

THEN, the piano teacher arrived. She quickly scuttled me over to the kitchen where she smiled, grasped my hand and whispered “I came into a little extra this week and I just know this was meant for you.” She put a small folded up piece of paper in my hand. I fluttered a little inside, instantly recognizing simultaneously the unmistakable feel of American currency and the complete unlikelihood that this was all just coincidence. When I looked down, the tears spilled over uncontrollably and I looked up at her in amazement. She had given me a one hundred dollar bill. Used carefully, this would cover the remainder of our grocery needs until my next paycheck.

God had answered my prayer, my very real need of food for my family, from not one but THREE sources in the course of 24 hours! I was dumbfounded. It was at this point that I finally understood with my heart the full meaning of Philippians 4:6-7.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

And his peace remains with me still.