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Holiday times can be joyful, fun, stressful, even painful - often times a little of each. When we do the things He puts before us, God always provides the blessings in the outcome. We never know, but He always does. Thank You, Lord.
A Thanksgiving Story
The beginning of my new life

"Well, it's all over now" I said to my dog as I drained the last of a bottle of cheap vodka . My DUI arrest and conviction had cost me my job, my savings, and ultimately, my hope. No food left, no alcohol, no money, and not one idea what I was going to do. Rent was past due, phone about to be shut off. I had only one chance - welfare! 

Spent a day at the Social Services Office, I was told that I did not qualify for any type of financial aid, or food stamps, or anything else. "We are sorry, but we cannot help you" she said. With tear-filled eyes and desperation in my voice, I asked "What will I eat?" to which she replied: "I can give you a one-time voucher for the food bank if that helps."

After a 3 mile walk, I entered the food bank to find that the shelves held only a few loaves of bread and a can of jalapeno peppers. The volunteer behind the counter said "Keep your voucher and come back early tomorrow. We will have more food then, but come early." I turned and left, dejected, hungry, hopeless. As I approached the door, I passed a well-dressed lady coming in, and I heard her say to the volunteer "My church wants to offer 20 Thanksgiving meals - do you know any families in need?", to which the volunteer replied "I might - oh, sir! Sir! Would you like one of these meals?" I was told that the meal would be delivered Thanksgiving morning, so I gave the lady my address, and went home. Thanksgiving was a week away - maybe I will make it. Stole a bottle of vodka on the way home and slipped back into the alcoholic fog that had become my universe ...

I had completely lost track of time or days, so when I woke to the dog barking and someone knocking at my door, I was not too happy. In fact, I was miserable. I yanked the door open to be greeted by a smiling face saying"We brought you dinner!" The smile soon faded a bit as the young man stepped into the room and set down the tray and 2 bags. Disheveled, confused, and reeking of old alcohol, I mumbled "Thanks a lot" and sent him on his way. And then I looked at what I had just been given ...

It was a whole turkey, roasted to golden perfection, with containers of mashed potatoes, candied yams, green bean casserole, gravy, a dozen rolls, and a pumpkin pie - food for a whole family! My first reaction was guilt - someone else is more deserving - why waste this on me? There was nothing left of me to love, but those strangers, this meal - why?

I was so overwhelmed that I had to sit down. Head in hands, I began to sob uncontrollably as wave after wave of revulsion to what I had become swept over me. How could I live like this when there was so much love "out there"? I had become so wretched that I could not even thank my benefactors. Strangers we met, and strangers we remained, yet they introduced me to grace. The dog and I ate well for over a week,and more importantly, there was hope, thanks to some people giving unreservedly to those so undeserving - unconditional love.

Thus began the long and painful process of the softening of my heart, 14 years ago. I was in a painful reality and worked hard to stay there until some 8 months and a 2nd DUI later, when I offered my broken life to Jesus and accepted the gift of His Grace. I am forever grateful to the people everywhere that give of themselves to help others, and for the chance to share this story with you. 
Happy Thanksgiving.
Jeff M 
"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." - Luke 6:38

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