Healing Ministry in a Mason Jar

A simple jar of soup lovingly offered during a time of heartbreak leads to a program to help others.

Posted in , Jul 21, 2015

vegetable soup and cornbread healed her soul and sparked an idea to help others

My guest post today is from Dee Dee Parker. I think you’ll be inspired by her story.—Michelle

Have you ever tasted manna from heaven? I have. No, it wasn’t the food supplied to the Israelites wandering in the wilderness that I tasted. My manna was delivered to my front door, in of all things, a mason jar accompanied by a golden cake of cornbread. It came to me at my time of deepest weariness and heartbreak.

“Would you like some homemade vegetable soup?” my friend asked, holding a jar out to me. “Hope you don’t mind the jar. It was the easiest way for me to transport the soup without spilling it.” The aroma of vegetables and a rich beef broth teased my sense of smell, awakening a need I didn’t realize existed.

“I am so sorry about Brooke,” she said, “so very sorry.”

My precious daughter, Brooke, had passed away a few days before from breast cancer. She was diagnosed at 28 and had fought for four years. I’d been her caregiver, moving to her home, leaving my husband to care for my elderly mother.  

I was exhausted from weeks of not sleeping or eating. I’d spent the last days of my daughter’s life sitting by her bedside, and then I received a call from the hospital back home that my husband had experienced a terrible fall and would have surgery the next morning.

Brooke’s life here on earth was ebbing, and I was torn between leaving her and going to my husband’s side.

Unbelievably, I also learned my mother had a heart attack and had been admitted to another hospital. I asked God to guide me. I didn’t know what to do or where to go.

Brooke encouraged me to go be with my husband before his surgery. I traveled four hours and sat and prayed with him, and then I left and held my mother’s hand before returning to my daughter.


A few days after Brooke’s death, both my mother and husband returned home from their respective hospitals. Without any rest, I was thrown back into the role of caregiver. I was exhausted and brokenhearted.

I accepted the jar of soup and cornbread that day thinking I wouldn’t be able to eat any but thankful for the loving gesture. But that night as the taste of the warm soup flowed through my body, the beginning of healing flowed through my soul.

I thought about the many people who were going through illness and heartbreak and what a simple meal would mean to them. From that, a ministry was born.

After my husband’s health was restored and my mother’s heavenly home-going had been celebrated, I prepared for my new ministry by doing the following:

  • Praying for ministry direction
  • Asking for donations of jars
  • Asking others to share coupons for soup ingredients
  • Making soup and freezing batches
  • Making cards (to accompany the soup) to share the love of Jesus

With my plan in order, I launched Manna in a Mason Jar. I found many opportunities to share my faith and concern in my community by helping others weather bereavement, illness, the birth of a baby. I even welcomed new neighbors with jars of soup.

Before each delivery of soup and cornbread, I pray that it will minister to the recipient and will open a channel of conversation in which I can share my faith.  

The joy I’ve found in delivering the food in His name is immeasurable. I give thanks that my ministry came by way of a humble mason jar. What ministry could you do for Him?

…As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another… (1 Peter 4:8-10)

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