For well over two and a half years now I have been serving as the president of my church's women's organization. I have been entrusted to watch over the physical/mental/spiritual needs of over 150 women. This isn't something I volunteered for, desired, or even remotely wanted, but I was asked to do it and I said yes. It has been quite the undertaking and the weight of the responsibility has been heavy. As much a survival mechanism as anything, I learned pretty early on that a freezer full of frozen meals was a huge help in my efforts to support others. Every now and then I would spend an entire day making meals that I could freeze and then later distribute at a moments notice. Right or wrong, I tend be more generous when the work has already been done and it requires nothing more than pulling something out of the freezer.
But last fall my personal stockpile had completely dwindled away and I had nothing to give, and no time (or energy) to restock my supplies. Meanwhile, I was feeling more than a tad overwhelmed by all the different needs that I was aware of. Several of the situations were known to only a very few people, which added to the responsibility I felt. I wanted to offer some kind of relief for these women, but I didn't know what. Normally, I would have stopped by a frozen dinner or two "for whatever night is particularly tough," but I just wasn't situated to do so. I keenly felt a need to do something for these women, and felt both frustrated and discouraged by all that I was not doing.
Then I went to our ward fall party. The committee who put the party together had recruited a member of our congregation to prepare and serve beef brisket to 350+ people. (As an aside - this guy is amazing. He grew up on a cattle ranch, takes his BBQ seriously, and even enters competitions with the meat he prepares. This brisket was good.) At the end of the night, there was a ton of meat left over, and I was able to bag it up, deliver it to multiple families and still come home with enough brisket to refill my freezer.
As I was driving home after the last of my deliveries, I began a silent prayer to thank my Heavenly Father for providing for all of these different families. Then it hit me.
Those people who received the brisket were certainly grateful for the meals. Having dinner brought in was genuinely helpful. But it was my burden that was lifted. I had been feeling like the weight and the care of those families was entirely on my shoulders. But that night I began to understand that I'm not in this alone. That God is there to help me and sustain me as I do my best to love and serve His other children. I had been trying to shoulder the weight on my own - and that is simply not how God works. He had asked me to do this job, and He was there to compensate for what I couldn't do. I cried the rest of the way home.
I refer to it as the Miracle of the Beef Brisket.
Fast forward to today. Once again there are several families that I am aware of who are having a hard time. People who could use both the logistical and emotional support that a dinner can provide. Once again, my freezer was bare and I was not situated to refill it. And then there was another miracle.
The teenage girls in our ward each pitched in a few ingredients and spent an evening putting together some meals. I took in over fifteen meals this afternoon and my freezer is now overflowing. Tomorrow I plan on making some deliveries.
It may not be the miracle of the fishes and the loaves of bread, but God has taken the little I had to offer and has given back more than enough to meet the needs of these families. But this miracle is my miracle. My personal witness that God is there to lighten my burden, to sustain me and to be my partner in this incredible work.