Susan loves the Lord. She seeks to walk close to him by studying the word of God. His word holds all the answers to life's questions.
A Sad Story
Let me begin by telling you a very sad story.
Our little family was in a Church where my husband ministered as the Christian Education Director and Music Pastor. The Church was struggling financially and it became apparent they could not afford two Pastors. As we discussed the plight of our Church, we came to an agreement and my husband voluntarily resigned.
Gary had only one side job in place when he stepped down. It was from a friend in the church who hired him to finish his basement. My husband is very gifted in a multitude of ways. He is not only a jack of all trades but he is a perfectionist.
His reputation for quality workmanship spread slowly. He was kept busy with side jobs while we awaited God's call to our next ministry. Candidating on weekends became the norm during that season of our lives.
When Gary resigned from our Church, we were still in the area. We knew it was important to connect with another Church. We needed God's people. We searched for another Bible believing Church in our area. We found one quickly. This Church was filled with wonderfully warm believers who took us in and made us part of their family.
Although Gary worked side jobs, the incoming money, at times, was sparse. Christmas was quickly and we had zero money to buy gifts.
This was a hard time for this mama. My heart ached as I prepared to face my three little children, who would find no gifts under their Christmas tree.
A Friend Loves at all Times
Let me tell you about my friend, Judy. Judy is my dear friend who was witness to all the changes taking place. Judy is like a little tornado wrapped up in a beautiful package. She blessed me over and over again by observing my situations and coming beside me to provide encouragement and help in the time of need.
As Christmas approached Judy's compassion arose and she took action. She understood this mother's heart. Judy explained our plight to her three children and asked each of them to give up one of their Christmas presents to provide a surprise to the Ream children.
My heart was touched to the core. Not only did Judy minister relief to my heart and gifts for my kids, but she taught her own children the value and blessing of sacrifice.
To this day, Judy is a giver. I pray that God blesses her for all of the ways she touches lives in America and across the seas.
"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up." Ecclesiastes 4:9 - 10
A Letter to Our Church Family
As I mentioned earlier, we found a Church with an amazing Pastor and a loving Congregation.
One day, a kind gentleman approached us and told us that the Church wanted to provide us with gifts for Christmas. I was dumbfounded. How did the Church know about our circumstances? He proceeded to inform us that they would deliver the gifts right before Christmas.
He had one request, "Please don't tell the children that we provided their gifts."
After the most wonderful, blessed Christmas celebration we'd ever experienced, I wrote a letter to our church family.
I was surprised when the Pastor read my letter, without identifying our family, to the whole congregation. He choked up as he read certain portions. I was amazed. This Church had abundantly blessed us and God used my letter to bless these dear folks.
Here is my letter:
To say the least, we were quite unprepared by the generosity of you all! Our hearts were thrilled, warmed and humbled by your kindness.
You asked us not to share with the children where the gifts came from. We must confess to you that we did indeed tell them. You see, our children have seen God's hand of provision in our lives since Daddy has been without steady employment.
We were desirous that they share in the marvel of God's goodness. We wanted these remembrances of his tender care and the example of His children's generosity to be firmly implanted in their hearts and minds.
Someday these remembrances may be rocks of remembrance to their faith and evidence of a God who not only provides needs but sometimes chooses to pour out His favor upon us.
The children have been told not to share this with others for now. It's our little secret blessing. They are good at keeping secrets.
Before we opened our gifts we had a time of prayer. This is the prayer that came from our 8-year-old daughter:
"Thank you, Lord, for all of these presents. Thank you, Lord, for all of the people who cared about us. Thank you most of all for you, Jesus, because we know these presents are really from you to show us that you love us."
Here are some highlights from our exciting Christmas celebration:
When our 10-year-old son opened his walkie-talkies: "Wow!, I can't believe it! I wanted these so bad!"
From our 8-year-old daughter who had just seen her younger sister open a cabbage patch doll wrapped in a package just like hers:
"Okay guys, when I open it, I won't look. You look and I'll try to guess which one it is." She opened the gift, turned it toward us, and we roared with laughter. A perplexed look covered my little girl's face. She turned the box around and saw Lenore Elva, staring back at her. Lenore Elva looked very distinguished in her pink eyeglasses. Puzzlement covered her face as she studied her prize. We, once again, exploded with laughter. We had never seen a cabbage patch doll so quirky, and yet, endearing. My sweet little girl's confusion soon turned to adoration. She loves Lenore Elva.
Our youngest daughter, when opening her gifts, jumped up and down giggling with delight. She threw her arms around her Daddy's neck and proclaimed: "It's everything I ever wanted."
Dear ones, You have blessed this family more than you will ever know. We know God will bless you in return. We are deeply grateful and will never forget Christmas 1985.
Our love to you,
A very blessed and thankful family.
Blessed to be a Blessing
Blessed to be a Blessing
The natural response to being blessed is to pass it on.
God uses people who open their hearts to those in need. We are his hands and his feet in this world.
As I encounter people each day, I pray I will be attuned to the spirit of God and his promptings to touch lives. I desire to use my gifts to bless, encourage and lift.
I hope you have enjoyed my true story and that it prompts you to seek the Lord. He is our creator; we His creation. God longs to have a relationship with his creation.
“For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
© 2018 Susan Ream
Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on February 19, 2020:
That's quite a testimony, Bill. God's people saved your life! We are blessed indeed!! And God's blessings are upon those who exampled His heart to us in our time of need.
"God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them." Hebrews 6:10
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 19, 2020:
A beautiful story, my friend. I can say with total confidence that I would not be alive today if it were not for God's people, so your story struck home for me.
Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on November 14, 2018:
Thank you, dear, Dora! It is a good thing to recall all the ways God blesses. You are a blessing here on the hubs! :)
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on October 25, 2018:
Thanks for sharing your testimony about God's faithfulness and the generosity of His people. Thanks also for the challenge to be a blessing from the blessing we receive. Inspiring!
Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on October 09, 2018:
Dianna, thank you for reading and leaving your (always) uplifting comments. Yes, my husband is a man of integrity and I am blessed. I'll need to head your way and see what you are up to in the writing world. My first book is about to be published and I am so excited. I have 2 more in the midst of editing. May God bless you, friend!
Dianna Mendez on October 08, 2018:
Thank you for sharing this touching story. God does bless those who are generous with their time, money and love. I admire your husband for taking that step. It was a step of faith. You are truly blessed.
Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on September 16, 2018:
RTalloni, Thank you for your kind words. We are indeed blessed to be a blessing.
Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on September 15, 2018:
Pamela, I love your moral of the story, "Put one foot in front of the other and trust God as he always provides." This time he more than provided, he showered down blessings! He is more than Faithful!
Susan Ream (author) from Michigan on September 15, 2018:
Thank you, Lori, Appreciate that you shared your story. When God's people reach out to bless, it changes us. I understand your response of weeping and hugging. The enormity of such a gift blew us away too. It feels like too much to process.
I still have no clue how our Church knew. It was a neighboring Church and they knew about our situation of stepping down from our previous Church. Maybe they just figured it must be rough. Whatever the reason, God knew we needed to know we were not alone and that we were loved.
Thanks for stopping by with an amazing testimony! We serve a good, good Father.
RTalloni on September 15, 2018:
How precious to read of your experiences and response to the Lord. Thank you for the reminder of Galatians 6:10 We are indeed blessed to be a blessing!
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on September 15, 2018:
Judy and the people of the church will surely be blessed fo their generosityl. I loved the way God blessed your family in your time of need. i believe the moral of this story is to put one foot in front of the other and trust God as he always providews.
Lori Colbo from United States on September 15, 2018:
I remember one year back in the early eighties where we'd fallen under hard times and had zilch for Christmas as you had. One day I went to the mail and there was a check for $300 from our church in a Christmas card. We stood in the kitchen hugging and weeping. $300 was a lot of money back then, and even today it's significant. Like you we had no idea how our church knew we were down financially. I finally decided it was probably one of my church friends must have said something. It was a very large church and I knew no one in leadership personally. Wonderful hub.