I had smoked ever since I was twelve and by the time I was sixteen, I was given permission to smoke in the house. In those days we had no idea of the dangers of smoking. I am one of those people who does things all the way and so,when I smoked, I really smoked and that meant it was about two packs a day, non-stop, that I was smoking for most of my life.
When I was in my late thirties, I got pregnant and had my two youngest children one right after the other. When I was in my forties I got Breast Cancer and had a mastectomy. The first thing I wanted after my surgery was a cigarette and during my entire stay in the hospital I spent much of my time going downstairs and outside for cigarettes. I went through eight and a half grueling months of chemotherapy and I still didn't quit smoking. When I was about forty five, I was learning just how hard it is trying to get by on disability payments with no child support and yet somehow I still found the money for my cigarettes.
Christmas was upon me. I was flat broke and very depressed. Fortunately, one of the local churches sponsored families for Christmas and we were picked, so my children would have a Christmas after all. I was grateful. However, I was not in a very festive mood so we didn't take part in the usual Advent preparations that my children were used to that year. On Christmas morning my little boy asked me what I was giving the Baby Jesus for His birthday and I was crushed because I had nothing. I hadn't even baked the birthday cake for baby Jesus and we hadn't saved any good deeds to fill the manger with straw, like in other years.
Yes, I was crushed but the look on his face told me he was even more crushed. The next thing out of my mouth was not at all what was on my mind. I said " I know... I am giving the Baby Jesus my smoking habit. The whole thing: the cigarettes, the lighters, the the cravings, the crabbiness, the ashtrays both dirty and clean, everything about smoking is what I am giving to the Baby Jesus". He was delighted and ran to tell his sister. They were filled with such joy and here I was stunned and very worried. I was obsessed with cigarettes and I had just told my son that I was giving up smoking as a gift to the baby Jesus. Was I nuts?? Could I do it?? No, I knew in my heart that I could not give up smoking and I also knew that this broken promise to my son, would stay with both of us for years to come. So... I prayed and said " Look Jesus I am sorry for jumping the gun here but I made this promise to my child and now I need You to help me keep it".
Suddenly I was filled with a deep sense of peace but I still didn't realize that, because I had stepped out in faith (led there by grace alone) I was on my way to a miracle.
I jumped up and we all had a ball going from room to room gathering everything to do with cigarettes. There were packs hidden everywhere and five in the freezer alone. We took the cigarettes, lighters and ashtrays and either gave or threw them away. Then I went from room to room taking down curtains and cleaning them. I washed walls, ceilings, clothing and everything I could find from Christmas morning until well into the New Year.
Each time I would see someone with a cigarette I would privately Thank God for taking the habit from me and ask Him to do the same for them. I do that to this day. I have never once craved a cigarette in seven years. That was one of the biggest steps I had taken on my spiritual journey because I learned through it all that we can do nothing on our own. Only with God is everything possible. I learned that when we step out in faith and expect a miracle that is not contrary to the Will of God then we will be given one.
That year changed my life completely. I saw firsthand what Jesus meant when He spoke about having faith the size of a mustard seed. That was the year of my Christmas Miracle.