By Jacqi Ballough

A knock came from the front door. Our dog began barking hysterically, and my son jumped up from his work to run and be the first to answer.

It was almost lunchtime, and there he was smiling. Our elderly neighbor, “Papa” as my son affectionately calls him, was standing with a dog treat held behind his back and in his extended hand, a jar of jelly. “Can you use this? It’s currant jelly, and the seeds don’t agree with our stomach.” 

Papa lives across the street with his wife of 61 years and adores our son, our dog, and is always ready to share a funny story of his youth or lend a hand when something breaks around the house.

He often drops by to bring cookies or cakes his wife bakes, but every now and then, something they can't use finds its way to our door.


Early that morning, I had run out of jelly while fixing my husband’s lunch. Jelly was a major food source at this time in our life as I was a stay-at-home homeschooling mom and my husband was a full-time student.

All of our lunches consisted of wheat bread, peanut butter, jelly, and an apple. In fact, I sent my husband to pharmacy school every morning for four years with four PB&J sandwiches and a container of homemade pasta salad. This day, he had taken the last of our jelly.

My neighbor’s gift was so incredibly simple, but meant so incredibly much. My gratitude probably seemed excessive, but I was delighted. It was a gift from God. A reminder: I’ll take care of you.

When my husband knew he was supposed to return to school full time and I knew I was to teach our son full-time, we didn’t know how it would work. The numbers didn’t add up. It was irrational, but we knew it was what God wanted for our family.

We had to trust Him. In that moment, I felt extremely loved. It was divine provision and throughout the four years of my husband’s schooling God used numerous people and countless random acts of kindness to provide

I’m so glad we decided to trust.  God not only provided materially and financially, but more importantly he provided spiritual protection for our family and brought the relationships needed for encouragement and wisdom. For that, I am extremely grateful.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19                 

Lord, thank you for being our provider. Thank you for keeping us on your path and helping us to remain there. Father, I pray that we will be used by You as You used so many to encourage and help us.