On Saturdays, I’m drawn to the kitchen to create food like a fly to raw meat. This is not the norm for me. In fact, it’s downright unusual. When my kids turned into teenagers and writing became a serious endeavor, cooking dissolved into something I had to do because our stomachs hurt from hunger.
The whir of the Kitchen Aid, the ting of the timer, chocolate melting in the oven, the aroma of chicken simmering in the Crockpot — it all seems like a holy union, as if the act of cooking is saving me somehow.
It’s been four months. Four months of waiting for a departure date to London. Four months for H to wake up without a specific reason for getting dressed. Four months without an office to drive to, or people to lead, or a vision that needs strategy. Four months without a pay check. Four months of waiting for news to trickle in from London through random emails a few times a week.
Four months of living in exile leads me back to what is base to humanity. In cooking, I’m looking for some small crumb of hope in the silent mystery that currently encompasses life.
Routines are often where we find anchors to sustain the storms of life.
With every delay in the timeline for our departure, joy fueling the future becomes further depleted. Hope, once vibrant and burning with passion has become fumes, odorless and invisible.
In the uncertainty we find ourselves living in longer than seems prudent (even for the most spiritually healthy) I am reading recipes as if each ingredient is the answer for what God will not allow us to figure out.
Every heart is born with the need to accomplish and when that opportunity suddenly vanishes, hope often travels away with it. Hope leaves if we assign it definition casually.
Kneading flour, water and oil with my hands to make Challah in preparation for Sabbath is a weekly reminder that though we are born with recipes for success, the outcomes are God’s business.
While we insist on knowing details, He is steadfast about mystery.
I would be less than honest if I didn’t tell you that these golden days of finding intimate companionship with Christ in our waiting season are also accompanied by a crumbling of life as we know it.
We are fallen leaves in the hands of Jesus, praying that He won’t loosen his grip, that he’ll save us from being crushed into a million tiny untraceable pieces of humanity.
Aren’t we all dust anyway?
Faith isn’t a magic formula, of sucking it up and believing God has something better in mind just because you are suffering. No, that recipe has been passed around, overused and retired at the turn of the century. We are, many of us, still recovering from the outcomes of concoctions our well-meaning spiritual fathers dished out in the 80’s.
The mystery of Christ is more than a seven layer dip you scoop up and swallow whenever the mood strikes. He is the invisible powerful presence, unseen organisms detected through all of your senses, an unexplainable flavor satiating the hunger of life.
That is why I’m drawn to my kitchen to create and cannot explain it. And why I cook with my shoes off.
I understand…..these waiting months have been hard in many ways…it’s good you can find comfort making Challah and spending extra time with Murielle before you go. Way down the track you will find the treasures God has planted in the darkness and rejoice you had this time……these light afflictions are but fr a moment, but a working for you an exceeding weight of glory.
I see the redemption in our waiting period, for sure Mary, especially regarding Murielle. And I know you are right, that we will look back on this time as precious preparation. But some days, it all feels a bit weighty.
Shelly, you are truly, truly living out your journey with hands open wide, trusting in the Lord for your every need. I understand (to a small degree in comparison) how hard it is to WAIT for the promise to be fulfilled…and thinking that there is no more to give, or do…and yet there is more waiting…this ever decreasing and Christ increasing.
May your hearts be assured and confident that His promises are true ~ and He is waiting with anticipation and joy for the perfect moment to give to you in the physical what has *already been accomplished* in the spiritual.
“Every heart is born with the need to accomplish and when that opportunity suddenly vanishes, hope often travels away with it. Hope leaves if we assign it definition casually.”
Love to you <3
Holding onto to your words Caryn, thank you so much.
I love the comparison. Mystery of Christ. Mystery in the kitchen. Both speak to the soul. “it all seems like a holy union, as if the act of cooking is saving me somehow.” What a great line! Press into Him as you wait.
Thanks for being here Traci, appreciate your encouragement.
This is Brother Lawrence stuff! Being in God’s presence while in the middle of life. Such a time full – of wonder. Thank you for sharing these thoughts with us.
I’ve been reading Waiting on God by Andrew Murray every day Kelly. It’s helping me find some small hint of understanding in the waiting. Thank you.
Your words satisfy a need to understand. I They’re as good… even better than your cooking. You know I love your cooking.
Well, that is a compliment, thank you. Miss you LuAnn. We need to catch up soon.
This is just so exquiiste, Shelly….beautifully, soufully composed as you set your kitchen timer (with no certain setting) while you wait for the Bread of Life to rise in you and nourish you in spiritual ways you cannot yet fathom. He will feed you. He will sustain you. And He will make *you* breat, too. He will knead you from the inside-out…….and one day, way, way across the ocean, the way you feel now, like broken bread, yourself, will become the trail of breadcrumbs that others follow, as they follow you, who follows Christ. And they will meet Him at your table and His! I love you, and continue to pray.
I came back to read this comment and realized I never responded to you Lynn. I love what you’ve said here and while I’m realizing much of what you’ve expressed currently true in our day-to-day life, I know it is only a small fraction of what we have yet to experience in the near future. Thank you!
I too resort to the comfort of things like cooking and tasks around the house when life doesn’t make sense. I know that looking back these delays will one day make sense to you. As you walk through this waiting season I pray for a sure word from the Word to stand on, an undeniable sense of God’s presence, and His faithful provision.
Thank you Elizabeth, it is nice to have an empathetic shoulder in you as we walk out this hard place. I know you are right, we are already reaching a small bit of understanding as we look back over the past few months of waiting. An extravagant gift for sure.
Part of the mystery of Christ is the way he deals differently and creatively with each person. I’m thinking of the various ways he healed people during his earthly ministry. Sometimes he touched, sometimes he just spoke. At least one time he made mud and applied it to a blind man’s eyes. My point: your wait time, the uncertainty of these days, cannot be explained definitively by observing the way God has worked in others’ lives. He rarely follows a protocol when orchestrating the destinies of his children. But we do know this: God does have purpose in all this uncertainty. And he doesn’t waste wait time. Just the same, I pray God’s blessings of London upon you–SOON!
This is such good truth to ponder, that our waiting season is unlike the mold of another. “He rarely follows protocol” — this has been our experience in 24 years of ministry. Wouldn’t have it any other way!
the picture looks yummy … as someone who loves to cook on the weekend — recipe?
Leanne, I wish I had this recipe. It was a yummy meal I ate at one of our favorite pubs in London. *sigh*
Glad you are having fun in the kitchen. Praying that kitchen is soon a London kitchen.
Me too Glenda, me too!