When if first met my cantankerous neighbor, (I will call him “M”), he told me that at 17, his mom said she’d done all she could and his relationship with God was up to him. He proudly shared that was the last he had anything to do with God. Since then I have learned how confrontational and outspoken he is. In spite of that, or because of it, God has laid it on my heart to pay attention to this neighbor. So when Pastor Frank challenged me to demonstrate God’s love to M and his wife, I went to my fall back strategy - cooking!
A few days into the Stay-at-Home order, I met M outside in my driveway and he said he couldn’t get through these times without fruitcake, something I bake for my neighbors around Christmas every year. Then another friend emailed about her Christmas time “pantry challenge” in April! After considering Pastor Frank's encouragement, M's comment about fruitcake, and my neighbor's pantry challenge it seemed God was calling me to something. So, I went to my pantry I discovered I had everything except one ingredient for fruitcake, which I was able to procure! I made 20 loaves; the bounty of God’s provision!
Shortly after I sent out the following text to my neighbors:
All Good Gifts Come from God! One of our neighbors said he couldn’t get through these times without my fruitcake so when my friend suggested a pantry challenge I decided to make my Christmas Fruitcake, and started baking! When you least expect it and really don’t deserve it, God provides good gifts! So if you are willing to accept fruitcake as Christmas in April, or as an early May Day gift, or just a plain gift from me to you to let you know I am praying for you, my neighbors, text me back and I will leave fruitcake for you on my rain barrel today!
While M's response to this message was discouraging, God had something else in mind and used his request for fruitcake for the good of another! My other neighbor, C and I had the following texting conversation:
C said, "Thank you, Kari I just finished with a rough day when I saw your message and want to thank you for the message and for the fruit cake offer. Sure, I’d love one. I’m a big fan too! Work is feeling very difficult and thankless right now. But your text reminded me about all the things to be grateful for right now, so the timing was perfect. And I’ll come get the fruitcake! Thank you!!"
God is so, so very GOOD! I wrote a blog article a couple of weeks ago about isolation. We have to be extra careful because we are high risk and I have been feeling sorry for myself. God gave me a view of what frustrations are happening for people who are working in thankless jobs and how I am not alone in my feelings AND how I have MUCH to be grateful for!! God always does more than I expect - my prayer is to learn to see/expect the greatness of God!
I am anxiously waiting to see what God has in mind for the other fruitcakes!