A Tumbleweed Christmas

January 4, 2014 — 4 Comments

The following article was written by a good friend of mine, Bradley White.  I also asked Bradley if he would bless my readership with his testimony.  He graciously agreed to do so.  I have included his testimony at the end of his article below:

 

by Bradley White

For most people around the world Christmas is a time of joy, family gatherings, giving, receiving and enjoying food that is generally too rich and served in great quantities.

There will be hectic shopping sprees and “to do” lists a mile long. Some will spend enormous amounts of time, money and effort as they scrounge through dark, dusty attics and garages searching for carefully packed decorations that they have accumulated over the years. I have spent many an hour performing the same routine each year. For me, however, this year will be very different. In the last year or so I have suffered the loss of my aunt, grandmother, uncle and my mother just a few weeks ago. You see, this will be the first Christmas in 48 years I will be spending without my mother.

“We were broke, we did not receive many gifts but Mom and Dad found a way to make that Christmas my favorite.”

I could simply not celebrate. In fact, until this morning that was exactly what I intended to do. However, for some reason, I thought about tumbleweeds. My mind was changed and I started decorating today. I guess, someway or somehow, my Mother dropped a memory in my heart and mind. It is suddenly 1968 and I am 4 years old again. I am transported back to Monahans, Texas where my mother worked as a legal secretary and my father owned his own business. He was a Master Electrician. I remember that year our family was broke. Dad was struggling in his business and my parents explained that our Christmas was going to be extremely lean. I was only 4 but I will never forget the night Dad said, “You all pop some popcorn. I’ll be back in a little bit.”

We, with Mom’s help, popped popcorn and in about an hour Dad came home. In his hand was a sack from the local market. He handed the bag to Mom and asked my brother and me to help him get something out of the car. In the trunk of the car were three tumbleweeds. One was large, another a little smaller and the third smaller still. We dutifully carried them into the den of our home. You may have guessed the rest of the story. While Dad was assembling the weeds, Mom opened the bag revealing six or seven cans of artificial, spray-on snow. We all took turns transforming the dead weeds into a beautiful, snow covered tree. My sister and Mom began stringing popcorn while being careful to instruct my brother and me on ways to place ornaments. As always, Dad enjoyed the honor of placing the angel at the top of the tree.

We were broke, we did not receive many gifts but Mom and Dad found a way to make that Christmas my favorite. I will never forget our Tumbleweed Christmas!

My father died of a heart attack in 1978. I was 13 and he was just 43 years old. After 34 years, Mom and Dad will enjoy another Christmas together. If there are tumbleweeds in Heaven, I think Dad will build a tumbleweed Christmas tree for Mom. Only this time, they are not broke and they will feast and look down and enjoy their kids, grand-kids and great grand-kids.

Here’s to all! Wishing you a very Tumbleweed Christmas.

 

Here is Bradley’s testimony as promised:

 

by Bradley White

My name is Bradley White.  I have been asked to give my testimony by Pastor Zach.

We all go through trials and, to each of us, it seems to always be a “trial by fire” no matter the situation.  Here is what God has seen me through in the past few years.

In December of 2007, I moved back home to Abilene, Texas with my mother.  She, along with failing health went with me because her Mother, my Grandmother was in her nineties and needed constant care.  We’ll call my Grandmother “Momo” because that is what I called her.  When we got to Abilene, things were tough.  I was having health issues as well.  While caring for Momo, I was finally diagnosed with a brain aneurysm…after almost 20 years of mis-diagnoses.  One day, while driving to work, I lost my vision and underwent brain surgery in 2009.  I looked like Frankenstein!  Still caring for Momo even with staples in my head.

Then the heart issues started.  Suffice it to say, since 2011 I have suffered four heart attacks and underwent triple bypass surgery.  During this time,  I lost my Aunt, Momo, Uncle, Mom, and another Grandmother.  I ended up back in New Mexico where, due to family disfunction, I ended up homeless and without a job.

I found myself in Ruidoso, NM on the street with no place to stay and “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”!  But God had a different plan.  I was given Pastor Zach’s number by the local police department.  He saw to it that I had a place to stay for that night.

I believe that was in June of 2013.  Shortly thereafter, I went to California to care for an elderly friend.  That didn’t work out, however.  BUT, it was all still in God’s plan.

You see, years ago, I lived in California for about 16 years.  In that time I was a Minister of Music.  Long story short, I stopped going to church and went through a divorce.  I gave up singing and playing for God.  Instead, I became a professional pianist for another 16 years or so.

What I didn’t know was that a young man that I had ministered to in that church had been looking for me for 16 years.  He knew I was in New Mexico and every time he would visit the state, he would look through phone books in his hotel room to try and find me.

You see, I met Laban when he was two years old.  His Mom visited our church and asked me to hold him.  I took the toe-headed two year old and he immediately clung to me and put his head on my shoulder.  I’ve never been the same since.  Have you ever had that instant connection with another human being?  If you haven’t, hold on because you’ll never be the same.

When I was in California, Laban found me on Facebook.  Immediately contacted me and made plans for me to fly to Georgia where I now live.  I’ll never forget the night I landed…

We drove home and stayed up all night talking, catching up.  As soon as we got to the house, he said, “Come here I have something for you.”  We walked to his and his wife’s bedroom and he reached up on the chest of drawers and handed me something.

It was MY Bible!  When I left California 16 plus years before I left my Bible on one of the pews in the church.  He went through the Army, several moves but never lost my Bible.  By the way, he was 12 years old when he saw my Bible on the pew and “snatched it up”…his words.  He told me later that night that the reason he was so drawn to me was because I always had a kind word for him when he was growing up.  Kind words go a long way, my friends.

That was in August of 2013.  I now have a great job making very good money.  Have purchased a new car and am back in church worshipping God.  God is truly amazing.

Please remember, you may be down but you’re NEVER alone!

Pastor Zach is adding this testimony to a post of a short story that I wrote about a month after my Mother passed.  It is a true story.  I hope you enjoy it.

Thank you, Pastor Zach for showing me the true love of Jesus!  I consider you a very dear friend and a true man of God.

 

Editor’s note:  If any of you would care to personally write a line to Bradley White, just click on the Contact Us at the top of the page and I will personally forward all correspondence to him.  He would love hearing from you.

 

ENCOURAGE US:  Would you please share your testimony with the group in the comments?

  • http://gravatar.com/robert0199 Robert OBrien

    I can relate to losing a father too soon as I lost mine when I was 22 and in the Navy. That was in 1970 and I have missed him since more than I can admit.

    • http://www.zachmalott.com Zach

      Robert, I think it is natural to miss our parents when they pass on. I know I miss my mom and dad, especially when I still reach for the phone to talk with them during times of heartache or times of celebration. When that happens, I focus my mind on Christ and have that conversation with Him. I will be praying for you and know that you are not alone in this.

      Blessings,

      Zach

  • http://www.battleforthesoulofcanada.blogspot.com edhird

    Very moving story. Thank you.

    Ed Hird+
    http://edhird.wordpress.com

    • http://www.zachmalott.com Zach

      Thank you for commenting, Ed. It really touched me.