The Cost of Hope

A woman in financial despair discovers the joy of giving to someone else in need.

Danielle sat down with a sigh, discouraged and exhausted. The day had proven frustrating. With only forty dollars left in her wallet, she desperately needed to find a bank to cash her paycheck. She was living in a new city with no local bank of her own - and the banks were not eager to help her. For more than two weeks, she made attempt after attempt - to no avail. With her cash supply dwindling fast, she had no other resources. How could she continue to support herself and her two children? She wondered just how much longer she and her children could get by on the little money they had left.

Taking a break from her struggles, Danielle decided to attend a meeting at the local women's resource center. The women there had been a strong source of encouragement since she fled her home in fear for her safety. Her thoughts were far away as she settled into a chair in the meeting room. In deep despair, she longed for renewed hope that she could make it as a single mom.

Live life more consciously by reaching out

"Good afternoon, everyone," a voice said, breaking Danielle's thoughts. It was the leader of her women's group. "Does anyone want to start?"

Sitting next to Danielle, Amy cleared her throat. "I would," she said. Amy began to share the details of her desperate situation. She had run into severe personal struggles and was just days away from losing her home and her car. Her phone and electric services were both scheduled for disconnection. Her husband had gambled away their money. What little she had tried to squirrel away, he had used to support his drug habit. Their relationship had deteriorated to the point where she feared for her very safety. The last of the money she managed to tuck away allowed her to buy food for her children and diapers for her baby. She had nothing left. Nothing.

As Amy described the extent of the situation, Danielle heard God's soft whisper in her heart: "After the meeting, give Amy twenty dollars." Danielle immediately thought, But I can't. I only have forty dollars. She heard the order again. It was unmistakably clear. Danielle knew she needed to comply. When the meeting concluded, she reached into her purse and quietly slipped twenty dollars to Amy. Knowing Danielle's situation, Amy was reluctant to accept it at first. But as a crowd of women came to give Amy hugs of support, Danielle told her that God wanted her to have it. Then Danielle left.

As Danielle unlocked the door to her car, she heard someone call her name. She turned to find Amy walking toward her. Tears filled Amy's eyes as she began to speak. "How could you have known?" she asked. A large tear rolled down her cheek and dropped onto her shoulder as she reached into her purse. She pulled out a small amber prescription bottle. "I took the last one yesterday." She pointed to the bottom of the label. "I'm a medication-dependent diabetic. I need this medication every day. I had no idea what I was going to do." Another tear rolled down her cheek as she pointed to the refill cost printed clearly on the label: $20.00.

It was at that moment that Danielle was renewed with a sense of hope and peace. She told Amy that she did not know, but God did. While Amy's situation seemed to be a mountain before her, God alone could help her navigate every step and meet every need to move beyond that mountain, one step at a time. The words of hope that Danielle spoke to Amy that day were the very words of hope she herself needed.

Now with just twenty dollars left in her wallet, Danielle decided to try cashing her paycheck at just one more bank before heading home. While she anticipated the rejection she had received at so many other banks, she was somehow filled with renewed confidence and optimism. With hope in hand, she walked into the bank adjacent to the women's center. Moments later, the bank cashed her paycheck with no questions asked.

Beaming, Danielle returned home. While she knew there would be days ahead that would certainly hold challenges, her newfound hope inspired her. She never did see Amy again, but she continues to rest confidently that God is still looking out for her and is meeting her daily needs, just as he continues to look out for Danielle and her two children. As for Danielle, it has been three years since that day. While she realizes true hope has no price tag, she continues to be thankful for the lifetime supply that she received for the price of just twenty dollars.
 
© Chicken Soup For The Soul
 

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Kids

 I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her.  I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me, and always she was correct. But it was fun for me, so I continued.  At last she headed for the door, saying sagely, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these yourself!"

Wonderful Fall Recipe

Cheese-stuffed Meat Loaf

RECIPE INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup minced Italian parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 3/4 teaspoons chili powder
1 1/4 teaspoons cumin
3/4 cup salsa
2 eggs
1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or a mix of lean ground beef and ground turkey
3/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 pound sliced mozzarella cheese

1. Heat the oven to 350º. In a skillet, sauté the onion, celery, garlic, and parsley in the oil over moderate heat until softened but not browned. With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a large bowl.

2. Add all remaining ingredients, except cheese, to the vegetables. Mix well with your hands.

3. Transfer half the mixture to a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan. Place mozzarella slices on top, then cover with the rest of the meat mixture. 4. Bake for 75 to 80 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 170º. Cool and chill. Wrap tightly in freezer foil. Place in a resealable plastic freezer bag. Label and freeze. To serve: After thawing and unwrapping, bake in a covered pan at 400º for 20 to 30 minutes. Serves 5 to 6.

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