To help understand this, let me tell you a story about a young mother of four, who lost her husband, at the age of thirty. She struggled through funeral arrangements and buried her husband, after just nine short years of marriage. During these nine happy years, her husband made a good living as a union truck driver, with a standard run to Ft Smith, Arkansas.

He was in the process of building a new house, had the sub floor down, and was ready to start standing walls. Upon returning home from working on the house one Saturday, he became ill and was rushed to the hospital in Little Rock, where he underwent emergency appendicitis surgery. Everything seemed alright. The next day, he was recovering well, and that morning sat up and was shaved by the nurse. Then things went wrong, that afternoon shortly after one P.M. he experienced a blood clot of the heart and died, leaving four young children and a loving wife. This young mother found out later that the Doctor that operated on him had been drinking, and had botched the surgery. Not much you could do in those years, but say a mistake had been made, and move on.

She went to work after the funeral and proceeded to finish building the house that her husband started. With help from her father on the weekends, she completed the house, and moved the four children in, within three months.

In May 1948, This young mother started her lifetime of raising four young children, the oldest at six years, with Muscular Dystrophy, and the youngest girl at six months. As fate would have it, living in the country with four young children, with one in need of special services each month, offered only at the Pulaski special school in Little Rock; she decided to sell the 60 acres and move to town. She sold the land, house, barn, chickens, and a jersey milk cow, all for eight thousand six hundred dollars, and moved to town in July of 1950.

In September of 1950, her father passed away and her mother moved in to help with keeping the children, as she looked for work. This young mother struggled again to find work to support her family, and finally found employment at Othenhimer Brothers in Little Rock. She would walk to the bus stop two blocks away, early each morning, in a old worn-out green coat and catch a bus to downtown North Little Rock, transfer to Little Rock, and then catch a trolley to the railroad station where Otheminer Brothers was located next door. After working all day, she would repeat this process, sometimes getting home around 6:30 in the afternoon. This happened five days a week, fifty two weeks a year, without fail. She could not get sick, because she needed the money to provide for her family. Her starting paycheck was $27.00 per week.

She never asked for any kind of assistance, too proud. The local community lumber company would always show up at her door on Thanksgiving and Christmas, with enough groceries to provide a nice dinner for each event. She never turned these gifts down, although she really wanted too, but knew better. The children were excited about receiving such a bountiful gift of food. The children were always fed. The youngest boy would often ask his mother if she wanted that last biscuit, and her answer was always, "No, I'm not hungry, you eat it." There is no telling how many times this young mother went without eating, just to ensure her children were all fed.

The three younger children were raised, educated, married, and found their place in life. This mother retired after 34 years of service, bought a car and learned to drive at 66 years of age. The oldest boy was kept at home, receiving the best of care daily, until his mother died at the age of 83. She only had one last wish, "Do not put the oldest boy in a nursing home, he would not survive there." The three younger children obeyed her wish. The oldest boy (with muscular dystrophy) stayed at his home, with a care giver helping with his daily needs, until his death at the age of 62.

This woman made her mark on many lives, through giving to others, never asking much for herself. She was dealt a rough hand in life, and never complained.

So I ask you again, during this holiday season, does giving really have the same meaning as receiving? I think it does, because it was that special gift of relentless giving from the mother in this story, willing to give more than she received. So as you go through this Holiday Season. I would only ask that you give from the heart, and receive from the heart, whatever might come your way. Because giving is truly the same as receiving. I know all this to be true because, I am the youngest boy in this story of giving and receiving.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas,
Herman Joe Phillips
**Note: My cousin, Joe, related to me that he was unable to finish the above talk at his prayer breakfast, due to the memories. One of his other Brothers-In-Christ finished it for Him, just as written. I remember hearing family stories of the strength of my aunt, whom I never had the privilege to meet, and how she devoted her entire life to providing for and educating her children. She had been told her oldest child, Jesse, would not live to be very old, but with her special love and care given him at home, he proved the physicians were wrong, as God is the greatest Physician. This story shows that one really can do all things through Christ Jesus, who strengthens them.
Philippians 4:13

Giving is a blessing, just as receiving. When we give unto others; we show forth the love of Christ and will be abundantly blessed.

A special thanks to our Sister-In-Christ Jo Ann Kelly
for the use of her writings.
May God bless you abundantly my sister.

As the web sevant I chose the song
Whispering Hope that was on a Christmas
Piano CD. As you listen to the music I hope
and pray that you are blessed by this page.
Beloved without faith we have no hope
and without hope we have no faith.

I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35

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