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Stawberries, Tithing, and the Love of God



When Meredith and I were first married, we were very poor. Meredith was pregnant almost from the first, and since the baby was coming, we decided she’d focus on getting as much school as possible rather than working.

So I supported us on part-time wages. They didn’t go very far. Happily, one of Mere’s showers was a food storage theme, so our pantry was stocked. We ran through it pretty fast, though, and before long, we were down to a large bag of pancake mix.

We ate pancakes. A lot. Eventually, we ran out of mix. No problem. We used flour and water and lots of syrup. Then we ran out of syrup. We still had the pancakes, at least. But the flour started to run out, too.

We were too proud to ask anyone for help, and our flour kept dwindling. I worked and we prayed. And we paid our tithing.

We were pretty hungry. But with the hunger came discouragement. It’s depressing to not have food in your house. There is an emotional hunger as keen as physical hunger and we were pretty glum.

One Sunday afternoon, since we had nothing to eat, we went on a walk.

When we got home, there was a bag on our door. It was full of food: grapes, strawberries, cookies, and even a high-quality frozen pizza. And, there was a note. 17 years later, I still remember what it said and can even picture the handwriting. It said, “Meredith and Braden, God loves you.”

We were overwhelmed by this gesture. We had, and still have, no idea who was behind it. No one, and I mean NO one, knew about our situation.

We saw it as a huge validation of the principle of tithing. We gave thanks for our angels, whoever they were, and had our first real meal in at least a week.

The next day, I was so excited, that I told the story to a friend of mine at work. We worked at the MTC, so trading spiritual experiences was normal. He was a young single guy and really thought it was cool.

That night, our landlady came down to tell us she had something for us and asked if we could come up. We did and found about ten bags of food—someone had dropped them off and asked her to get them to us. It looked like a bunch of young single guys with a few bucks had gone to a store and gone wild. Those bags were full of every staple and luxury item you can imagine.

I’ve pondered this experience many times since then. There’s a lesson not only in the fact that God answered our prayers by sending food. It’s about tithing, for sure, but it’s about God’s love. It’s not only that he sent food, but what he sent: strawberries, grapes, and pizza. At that time, our souls needed the strawberries as badly as our bodies needed the food.

One of my favorite scriptures says that "all things which come of the earth...are made for the benefit of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart; yea, for food, and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul."
(D&C 59:18, emphasis added)





Braden and Meredith are now the parents of five children. They still see miracles from paying their tithing. Braden blogs at http://www.bradenbell.com/blog.html,where you can read about his forthcoming novel, The Road Show.



 
Enjoy shopping for quality baby clothing at TradeTang.com

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