Sherri Stewart


Modern Manna

It amazes me that I enjoy writing—me—the girl who spent more time counting the words on a page in school than writing them. So, imagine my surprise now more than a few decades later that I look forward to writing every day. It boggles my mind.

It all started when we lost everything, or so it seemed. Our house, our savings, my husband’s job, and with it his joy and love of life, even part of both feet. For four years, we struggled, but those four years were sweet because God gave me manna.

Manna isn’t always wafers from heaven. Manna is provision that can’t be explained or described until one receives it. It’s special and personal and different for each person. It lasts for a season, and it’s gone, but the effects remain.

For me, manna showed up in two forms. One, I discovered the ability to memorize scripture and put it to music—my music, sung to the Lord as I walked around a lake close to home. The list of verses increased over the four years to the point that I could sing my way around the lake. And the tunes were good. The verses chronicled different problems with which we were dealing and promised an end to the darkness. I clung to those verses as I sang them, as I clung to God. For me, it’s during the hard times that I cling, and he feeds me.

The second way manna showed up in my life was in a new-found love of writing, all because of Faith. Faith was a second-grade teacher at a school where I was principal in the 90s. She was young, fearless, and loads of fun. The students adored her. We lost touch over the years until Facebook reunited us. It was Faith that challenged her friends to write a novel in a month, not unlike Nanowrimo.

I took Faith up on the challenge. For one month, every day, I wrote 2000 to 3000 words after a day of teaching high-school French and caring for my mother who was living with us at the time. I was a woman driven to finish, no matter what. And out of that came my first novel, although it took years to revise and edit. But more than that, God gave me a newfound love of writing. If you knew me in high school, you’d know it was a miracle.

Manna came at a time of need. I just read II Kings 4 this morning. A widow was down to her last jar of oil. She cried out to Elisha to help her before the creditors took her sons as slaves. Like the Israelites, she was in survival mode. God didn’t take away her debt. Instead, he took that jar of oil and filled all the containers she could find. Her part was to ask her neighbors for containers. God did the rest, providing her with a way to pay off her debt.

God gave manna to the Israelites for a limited time when they needed it. It was something that hadn’t existed before, and except for a slice kept in the Ark of the Covenant, it hasn’t been seen since. But my manna will live on in the form of more books and more songs.



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