Easter dinner.

The Easter Gift

It had been a busy time adjusting to a new school for the children as well as making friends and feeling settled in a suburb of Atlanta. With two in elementary and one in junior high, it was a fragile age, and building friendships without peer pressure was important.

The days were warm and the azaleas were out in full bloom by mid-March. The new life and spring flowers helped us to enjoy our new home. We had joined a nearby church and met a number of people who were friendly and included us in the social events, always thinking of our children as well.

We knew Easter was coming and our family was back in Michigan. At night, as my husband and I were talking, I shared some of my feelings about the area still not feeling like home, and I was concerned about the kids and how different it was for them in a Southern city, coming from Northern roots.

We both agreed that the church family was a big help as people from all over were part of the congregation, and we felt secure that the Lord would work things out in His own timing.

One afternoon, I received a phone call from a lady I had come to know at church. Our children were the same ages, and I felt instantly drawn to her. She had called to invite us over for Easter dinner. I was so touched by this generous offer and delighted to have something for the children to look forward to as well as fellowship for Steve and me.

After Easter services, we followed them back to their home. It was a large, welcoming house, and my eyes immediately fell on the bowl of colorful finger Jell-O that had been cut up into squares and placed on a plate on the buffet. The table was adorned with colored eggs and flowers, and the children were seated together where conversation could flow easily.

I thought about how God brings people into our lives at just the right time and how fortunate we were for their friendship.

We were getting settled and feeling like the South was somewhat “home” to us, when Steve came in and announced that they wanted him to consider another position, but it would mean moving—a move back to Michigan. Wow!

I guess my excitement was quite evident, and then I saw the faces on our children.

"Home again?" said the oldest. "I vote, YES!" The others were in total agreement.

The days packing boxes took some time, but soon our departure was upon us. On the day of the move, I wondered how we would get everything done. Just then, our friends arrived with some people from the church and pitched right in. I remember thanking them for being such an encouragement to us during the months we had lived there. My friend simply said, "Just pass it on." She never took credit for anything—she just praised the Lord for everything. I was so grateful they were in our lives.

After returning to Michigan, I realized I had neglected to get their address and I contacted the church In Atlanta. I received the strangest reply. They had no record of a family by that name attending. However, they did remember us and wished us well.

I made a telephone call to the church secretary the next day. She remembered my letter, but she had no idea who I could be referring to. I explained the names and ages of the children, where they lived and what cars they drove. She was sorry.

That evening when Steve got home I told him about the conversation and how our friends from Atlanta weren't part of the church. How ridiculous did that sound? They were in the services with us and other functions. I tried to contact them by telephone but the number was disconnected.

Steve and I looked at each other. We weren't going to question God on this one, but we certainly thanked Him in prayer.

Whenever I make finger Jell-O for our grandgals, I always think about a special Easter years ago when God gave us some warm and caring friends that we will never forget.

~ Diane Dean White ~

Diane is a freelance writer, author of two books, columnist and contributes to a wide range of publications. She and her husband of 37 years live on the Carolina Coast. They are the parents of three grown children and three grandgals. You may visit Diane's website for more stories at www.DianeDeanWhite.com

[ By: Diane Dean White Copyright © 2002 ( Thelamb212@aol.com ) -- submitted by: Diane Dean White ]

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