Thankful For The Food I Had Been Given

A dream…

I was going to meet a friend of mine
So we could spend some time talking to each other
And get caught up on what was going on in each others families. (To hear the latest news)

She asked me to meet her
At the local food bank
For that was the only time she had open.
(She had young children.)

When I pulled into the parking lot,
I could see it was very busy. There was just one or two spots left for a car to park.

I found one not too far away from my friend’s,
And caught up to her as she was walking up to the building.

There were many people waiting in line
To receive their free food,
And we were towards the end of the line.

We talked and chatted,
Until we were close to the food.

Then my friend was next.
She reached down and grabbed her box of food,
And as I was about to follow her,
A man stopped me and insisted that I take a box of food.

So I took one, feeling like a fraud,
For I still had enough food to last us for another week,
Or maybe two if we didn’t eat too much.
After that, I’d be out of food just like everyone else.
But I still had hope that my husband would find a job
So we could get some money to buy some food.
He’d only been out of work for about a year and a half.
We had been living off the food we had stored up,
When we had the money to put into it.
But I kept thinking that there must be others there,
That needed the food far more than I did.

As we both walked back to our cars,
I could see the police man watching us,
Watching everyone,
And I felt a moment of fear,
That I would somehow be caught,
And prosecuted
For taking food while I still had some.

But no one was checking for identification,
Nor asking for proof of need,
So we continued on
Till we reached our cars.

I found myself wondering if I looked that poor,
That I would need such items.
But I then realized with a sinking heart, that I was indeed, thin and gaunt. I had thought that to be so thin was in fashion, but I sensed then, that I had become too thin.

I felt shame at this, for I could well remember the days when I myself had donated food to the food pantry,
Or given them money to buy whatever food they had needed to help feed the poor.

But I never thought it would be our family
That would need the help.

When my friend and I came to her car,
I offered her the box of food that had been given to me.
But she insisted that I keep it for myself.

She drove off, waving to me,
While I still stood there holding my box of free food.

I looked down at the box,
And realized that there was enough to keep a family of four going for only about three days or so.

Most of it, (all of it?) was dry goods.
Rice, beans, boxed side dishes that needed water added to cook it, pancake mixes and other such items. There was even an opened bag of white flour, rolled closed and taped shut. There looked to be about three cups of the flour inside it.
The box was an open pallet type box, that might have once been used for fruit or vegetables,
But there was no fruit or vegetables in it now.
Fresh produce of any kind, was hard to find.
I realized, that they had put all the items in the boxes,
So that everyone could see that everyone was getting the same thing as everyone else. (They feared food riots otherwise.)

I then wondered, if my friend knew that I’d probably have to be there next week, to ask for the free food right along with her, and figured that I could probably use a head start.

I thanked her in my mind, (and resolved myself to thank her next week when I seen her here again,) for giving me the nudge I needed.

As I was putting the food into the back of the car,
I seen that they were putting out some fresh baked goods,
As an added bonus for the people.

Many of the people had already left,
But there were still enough people left,
To receive the handout.

So I walked up to where they were giving out the bread,
But by the time I got there,
All the loaves were gone. A man there offered me to have three cinnamon rolls (dry and stale ones,) in liew of the loaf of bread. I gladly accepted it with thanks.
He gave me a brisk hug, and then told me to come again, and get the free food, and to not suffer so because of my pride.
(He reminded me of a dear elderly gentleman that I had once known in my church, who was always caring for and helping out others.) He then motioned to me to get in line for the cinnamon rolls with icing on them, that they would be handing out next.

So I did.

They gave me a huge piece of green plastic,
(not quite as thick as a tarp,)
But I was confused and went back and then told them that I had wanted the roll instead. (I realized that the plastic was given out to those who didn’t even have a roof over their heads or a tent to shelter in. We were not that bad yet! We had a nice tent waiting for us at home if we needed it.)

But by this time, the workers were in a battle between themselves, concerning some trivial matter of who said what to whom, and left the food to go argue it out inside.

The people were left there, waiting for the food.

I got tired of waiting for them,
Even though I was next in line,
(I had already waited for over a half an hour,)
So I lunged forward towards one of the tables that had a roll with icing on it, (not the ones with lots of icing on it that I had hoped for, but one with some on it all the same,) and was able to pick up the one on the corner of the tray.

Gasps of the people closest to me could be heard,
(and one saying “Hey! That’s not fair!”,)
But I walked back to my car, licking my fingers from the icing, and quickly, thankfully, devoured the entire roll.
(I think some of the others behind me in line, also tried to grab a roll for themselves, while the workers bickered away the time inside the building.) The workers finally came back out and finished helping the people, till all the rolls were gone.

I drove home, my stomach no longer growling at me, thankful for the food that I had been given.

I then woke up form the dream.

When I went back to bed,
I dreamed that I had somehow been given,
(inherited?) a bunch of rabbits and a pair of hamsters.
Even the cages were now mine.

I knew how to take care of them,
For the one who had them before me,
Had been teaching me how to care for them.
He was an old, old man, with no relatives left to care about him. He had recently died in his sleep, and left them to me.

The rabbits were quite big in size,
And I knew that they would fetch me a good price if I wished to sell them. But I vowed to do things just like the old man did, and not sell too many off at one time. I needed to retain enough good stock to keep the rabbits breeding.
I also needed to keep enough for myself.

The pair of hamsters were due to have a litter any day now. They would grow quickly, and also be sold to others, though maybe not as quickly as the rabbits.

Most people could handle the thought of eating rabbit.
But not too many could handle the thought of eating a hamster. The hamsters were enough to flavor a pot of soup though, and for those who could afford little else, it was still edible meat.

Some purchased a male and a female rabbit from me,
Just so they could start their own tiny rabbit farm in their back yard. Others wanted one to eat. I charged them extra, to kill it and skin it for them. Most found a way to do it themselves, for they did not have that extra money. Sometimes they paid me to do it in front of them, so they would be able to do it next time by themselves. I didn’t mind showing them. If I knew I would be killing one soon, I would let them know so they could come and learn for free. I wasn’t one of those charlatans who was out just to gouge their customer. I (and the old man before me,) were ones that the people trusted.

There were those of course, who still greatly struggled with the thought of killing a rabbit for food, but sooner or later, their bellies would growl louder than their conscience, and they would break down and buy one to eat. I would try to sell them the older ones, telling them that they had already lived a good long life in rabbit years, and would soon die of old age before too long anyways. They seemed to appreciate this thought.

I also stretched the skins out and scraped them clean, and then sold the pelts later to be used to help keep one warm. (I was not a good sewer, but I was good enough to piece some together for me to stay warm enough in the winter.) Some people didn’t want to be bothered with the skin, and I then told them that I would buy it back from them, for a little bit of money. It would take me quite a bit of work to clean up the fur, but if they had done a half way decent job of skinning it, then the work left was not too much for me to do. I could then sell it for a small profit, or keep it myself to use.

The pelts were not as big of a seller, as the rabbits themselves were. The meat, the protein, is what was in the highest demand.

I then woke up.

* * * *

All The Christmas Stuff

It was now January second, 2011. With the holidays now over for another year, we began the task of cleaning up all the stuff, and packing it away for next year. But after what happened with the lights, (see previous post,) I did not want to even start, without praying first.

“Dear Jesus,” I said in my prayer place, “please let us know if there are other things we need to get rid of, besides not lighting the Christmas lights during the winter solstice. Is there something else that we would be better off not having? I don’t want anything unclean in my house. I don’t want anything that the demons could use to enter and attack us with! Please Lord! Gift us with a spiritually clean camp for us to live in!”

I paused for several moments, waiting for a response, but all was silent.

“Oh Lord, You know my heart. You know it is for You. You know that I desire to serve You with all that I am. I live for You. You alone are why I am still here. Please. LET ME KNOW.”

Silence still greeted me. I sensed that I should begin my work. So I rose and went out to begin disassembling the Christmas decorations.

I began by removing all the ornaments on the Christmas tree, and putting them back in the huge ornament storage box. I was half way done with the ornaments, when I noticed that my hands had begun to burn, as if I had touched a caustic chemical somehow, and was having a reaction to it.

I wondered if it was from the box of new unbreakable plastic bulbs that we had opened and added to our tree this year. There was probably some chemical on them that was irritating my skin. I set them aside in their original packing, and made a note to not use them next year, just in case.

I went to wash my hands, and I applied some hand cream that had always worked before to calm down a chemical reaction on my skin.

But this time, there was no difference. My hands still burned as before.

I went back to my work, figuring that the lotion just needed more time to do its job.

I switched from working on the tree, to packing up the advent wreath. But the burning on my hands just became worse.

Suddenly, one of my kids came up to me and exclaimed “Mom! What have you been touching?! Your hands are just COVERED with thick, black, smoke!”

So I told the child what I had been doing, and that my hands were very much in pain.

“Mom,” This child responded to me, “I can’t even SEE your own hands at all! All I see is a ball of thick black swirling smoke at the end of each of your arms!”

I stopped what I was doing. I realized then, that the pain in my hands must be spiritual, and not physical. But then my heart began to ache as well, for I had just begun to realize, what this now meant.

All those Christmas tree ornaments! The advent wreath! The Lord was letting us know, that they were tainted, unclean!

Our family then gathered to discuss what this meant, and what should now be done. Everyone agreed that we needed to get rid of the stuff that was spiritually tainted.

My husband agreed to get rid of the holiday lights, for if he could no longer use them during the days of winter solstice, (December 21st through the 26th,) then they were not worth all the trouble of putting them up and taking them down every year.

The kids felt that if they could not have the lights on the Christmas tree, then they no longer wanted to put up the Christmas tree. Too much work, for little reward. (I had to agree with them; the Christmas tree lights are what made it all so beautiful and special. Without the lights, it seemed like just another tree that was in our house.) The kids did not like having to get under the tree to water it, and hated the influx of creepy (and even dangerous) spiders that surfaced shortly after it was first brought in. Pine needles got into everything and were a daily mess to sweep up.

“We could get a fake tree, if you wanted to try that,” I said to them.

But no one wanted to go through the bother.

“It’s o.k.,” said one of my kids. “We don’t have to have a tree.”

Another one piped up, “As long as we can still have the presents!” Then the thought of the alternative must have come into this child’s mind, for the child then quickly added, “We can still have presents, right mom?”

“I’m not prepared to make that kind of a decision right now. I’m still trying to come to terms with having no tree!”

They seemed to understand this, (they could see that I was shaken and very upset,) so they left their present questions for a later time.

No one questioned the vision of this particular child; this child is the one that can see into that unseen world, like most people can see each other. This child sees the demons and casts them out in the name of Jesus. This child sees and converses with the angels, and is filled with the Holy Spirit. Often times, this child was the one to give us warnings of evil that was coming our way, and we were able to avoid and prevent great tragedy because of it. We have learned not to ignore this child’s visions.

But this! Surely there was some mistake! All those Christmas tree ornaments? Ugh! I simply could not face such a loss, so I went into denial.

“Maybe there are some Christmas ornaments that we CAN keep,” I said to the others. “Maybe we should see which ones are tainted, and which ones are not.”

The others nodded in agreement.

So the kids and I began to go through each item, to discern if it was clean enough to keep or not.

Some were easy for the kids to discern; they were quick to point out those right away. But by the end of the day, my hands throbbed with burning pain, and it began to be too painful to touch anything else.

So I called for a break, and asked this particular child (the one who has such strong visions,) to come and help me bless my hands.

I did not even bother to wash my hands this time with soap and water, for I knew it was spiritual and not physical. THE MOMENT THE BLESSED OLIVE OIL TOUCHED MY ACHING HANDS, THE BURNING AND PAIN SUBSIDED!

The child looked at my hands and said, “The black smoke is all gone now Mom.”

I gave a great sigh of relief.

I then looked back upon all the things that we had gone through, and realized with a sinking heart, that it made up quite a big pile of stuff. There was not even one Christmas tree ornament that was able to be saved.

I went back to my God in prayer, and told Him how sad I was, about all the tainted items. I then asked Him what He wanted us to do with it.

“Wait. Just set it aside and wait till you go though all the Christmas stuff.”

But I knew what the end of these things would be. I knew in my heart, that He wanted us to get rid of all of it. I just didn’t know if He would want us to pass it through the fire, and then break it all up into little pieces.

We had done such, (as Acts 19:19 describes,) to smaller amounts that were unclean and found to be tainted idols, but never to such a large amount of stuff. Even with the smaller items, we found that it left the ground a dangerous mess, with shards of broken pottery, glass, and metal pieces that were too hard to fully remove from the fire pit. The thought of smashing all those glass bulbs was a bit much for me to bear. I imagined the mess it would make and dreaded it.

“Don’t think of that right now,” He told me. “Just work on going through all the stuff.”

As usual, the Lord was right.

It took us almost two weeks, to go through all the Christmas stuff. It was heart wrenchingly painful, for we found that most of it too, was tainted.

Several times I broke down crying, when I’d realize that something precious to me was actually tainted and needed to be removed.

Anything that had a Christmas logo on it, was seen as having that thick, black smoke on it. Santa, reindeer, elves, holly, holly berries, bulbs, ornaments, a string of lights, the phrase ‘Merry Christmas’, red and green ribbons, presents, wreaths, anything with Yule Tide written on it; it was all tainted with the spirit of Christmas.

I think the most surprising of all the stuff, was the baby Jesus statues. The Roman Catholic ones that had the hands and arms molded into their odd positions, (reminding me of the hands and fingers of the Buddha god statue,) were the ones that had the darkest black smoke around them. The one that had a picture of a simple baby on it, only had a grayish fog surrounding it. Madonna and child statues and pictures, especially the ones with the halo in back of their heads, were among the worst.

I thought of all the money that these things were worth, (some of this stuff had yet to even be opened!,) and that perhaps we should just sell them to someone else, but I cringed at the thought of being responsible for giving such tainted items to another. I didn’t want that on my conscience, not at any price!

Oh but the things that were hardest for me to give up, were the priceless heirlooms that had been handed down to me from my family. At least three generations of stuff. The table cloth painted and embroidered with holly leaves and berries by the kids great grandmother, The placemat, kitchen appliance covers, and stuffed centerpiece, all patterned with a huge Christmas swan (or goose) that had been sewn up by my mother for our family, the ceramic creche my mother had formed for us in her ceramics class, complete with real gold highlights painted on the figurines. This alone had cost her several hundred dollars, just to add real gold to the statues. Even the Christmas ornament made by my great grandmother’s hands had to go. All was tainted with the spirit of Christmas. The hardest one of all to let go of, was a small little manger set that I had grown up with. It held so many memories for me. The pull to keep it was very great! But every time I would touch it, my hands would start to burn again. I knew in my heart that I had to let it go.

Numerous times during this cleansing, I would stop, and go into my private prayer place, and ask the Lord if there was some way I could still keep some of the items.

But He would usually tell me no.

“But Lord!” I pleaded with Him, “I’ve gotten rid of so much stuff already! Would it really hurt to just keep a few things to remember it all by?”

And He would often answer me with a question of His own.

“How many doorways for demons would you like to keep in your home?”

Or these ones that really got in to the heart of the matter.

“Will you not follow Me, ma petite? Can’t you trust Me? Are you not Mine?”

These last questions would cause me to fall at His feet in surrender, and then return to the sorting.

But I still cried. For days it was as if I was in mourning. It took me a while to say goodbye to all the stuff. I know this sounds silly. I am ashamed to admit that I mourned the loss of these things. But morn them I did. And the Lord, in all His mighty patience, remained there right beside me, as I cried, mourned their loss, and then continued on until the next great heirloom triggered that retaining emotion within me. Then the whole process would start up all over again.

He never forced me to give up any of it. I knew I had the choice to keep it. But I also knew my God, which meant that if He wanted me to give it up, then there was a very good reason for Him to do so, and I simply needed to let go and put my trust in Him.

Finally, all the items had been sorted. All that was left, was some rolls of Christmas paper and ribbons in solid colors (and with no holiday printings on it,) a few greeting cards that had only pictures of snow flakes on them, and some guest hand towels, that had been cut off at one end, where a holiday design had once been embroidered upon it. These towels would now be used as kitchen rags.

Both my hands and my heart were exhausted.

As I sealed up the last of the huge boxes of Christmas items, I felt the Lord tell me what we were to do with them.

“Throw them out.”

“You mean we don’t have to burn it all in our fire pit?” (I was greatly relieved to hear this!)

“No.”

“But Lord,” I replied, “Our garbage can is already overflowing!” Then I thought of an alternative. “Can we bring the stuff down to the garbage dump?”

“Yes. Close the boxes up, and label their outsides as ‘GARBAGE’, and then take them down to the local dump.”

That Saturday morning, the stuff was tossed into the city dump. There, it would be added into a big pile of other people’s garbage, crushed into a very small block, and then finally burned in a huge furnace.

The remains of history totaling almost over one hundred years of family Christmases, (and at least a thousand dollars worth or more of stuff,) had just been removed from our house.

*

(And yes, in case you were wondering, our family still exchanges presents with each other. We now celebrate the Feast of Dedication. For eight nights, we each share a miracle or answered prayer from our own life, light the (7 candle) menorah, read scripture out loud, play board games with each other, and open up presents. Remembering God’s miracles in our lives has rekindled our faith in Him, and serves as a reminder to re-dedicate ourselves -a living temple,- back to Him. So far, no demonic attacks upon our family have taken place from celebrating this holy day, and great peace is experienced during this time, especially while the menorah is lit.)

To Jesus Christ goes all Glory! Thank you Jesus Christ of Nazareth!!

* * * *