When I was in junior high, my family lived in temporary army barracks housing where I shared a very small bedroom with my younger brother. My dad’s teaching income just wasn’t sufficient to buy a house, but I longed for a real home and especially a room of my own.
One Sunday, our pastor preached a sermon about Jesus and the fig tree, and the words spoken by Jesus came alive to me:
“If you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to this fig tree, but if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done. Whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.” Matthew 21:21-22
For me, the biggest "mountain" in my life was getting out of those army barracks and into our own home. So I began asking the Lord for a house . . . one where I could have my own bedroom with pink walls and flowered curtains.
For two-and-a-half years, I prayed in faith, trusting God to answer. I trusted God’s promise so completely that when I got up in the morning, I would look out the window at the vacant lot across the street, fully expecting that God could even place a house there for our family.
In my naivety, I didn’t think about the fact that if God did put a house on that lot, the home wouldn’t belong to our family, but to the owners of the lot!
|2nd Prize Junior winner |
1954 Pillsbury Baking Contest
The man on the phone informed me that I had been selected as one of twenty junior winners to go to New York City and participate in their annual "Bake-off" contest. I was so stunned that I didn't even hear the man explain that they would be coming to my hometown the next week to take some photographs (see the picture at the end of the story).
During the next two months, I practiced baking my cookies so I'd be ready for the bake-off. But neither my parents nor I ever dreamed I would win any prize. Not those plain little butter cookies with a fork mark! Mother and I considered it a great prize just to go to New York City, all expenses paid! I think she was even more excited than I was!
Baking my cookies in the Waldorf Hotel Ballroom was an incredible experience. As I looked at the rest of the contestants baking around me, I wondered how I ever got there! The beautiful cakes, pies, tortes, rolls, and other fancy entries were a sight to behold. I knew it was only God!
At the Awards Banquet on the day after the Bake-off, they announced the winners. I was absolutely shocked when they announced I had won the Junior Second Prize! Tears streamed down my face as I tried to find my way from our table up to the stage. A kind man came alongside me, took my arm and led me to the stage stairway. Receiving the award was a most humbling experience. I knew it wasn’t because of my expert baking skills. This award was God’s merciful answer to my fervent prayers.
When I look back, I realize how the second place award of $2,000 was God's perfect answer to my prayers. If I had won the first place award of $3,000, it would have more more than we "needed" and it also would have involved photographers and interviews for magazine articles which featured the the first place Junior winner.
I really couldn't have taken all the publicity given to Nancy (the lovely farm girl from Kansas who won first place), and our little barracks home was not very photogenic either! Also, if I had won the third place award of $1,000, it would NOT have been sufficient for a down payment on a house.
But, back in 1955, that second place award of $2,000 was just exactly the right amount we needed. And several months later, after giving a tithe to the Lord of $200 (which purchased a cross, candles,, and a communion set for our mission church), the Lord brought along the perfect house that just happened to come on the market, at just the right time. That is a story in itself!
On the day of our move, my mother, brother, and I gathered around the piano (another amazing gift of God that came with the house), and we all sang while my father played the hymn, "Now Thank We All Our God." All of us knew that house was God's gift --- an incredible answer to nearly three years of prayer. And, as I'm sure you can imagine . . . I finally got to enjoy a room of my own with pink walls and flowered curtains!
|Helen Beckman Haidle |
(1954 - Mount Vernon, Iowa)
The recipe belongs to Pillsbury. Find it on p. 220 of:
Pillsbury Best Cookies Cookbook: Favorite …