Thursday, February 7, 2013

What I've learned in the kitchen

I am not a cook, not even close.  Before we got married, my repertoire included such dishes as macaroni & cheese (from a box), ramen noodles, grilled cheese & egg salad sandwiches.  All highly gourmet options...not!  For several years before we got married, Jesse was the manager for a restaurant chain, so he did all of the actual cooking when we would get together.  I managed to survive on whatever I threw together.

After we got married, our cooking pattern continued.  Jesse left his job at the restaurant & spent a few months out of work before his next job, so he had lots of time to cook meals.  However, once he began his demanding youth minister job, his hours at home started to dwindle.  Not long after, our oldest, Sophia, was born.  For the past few years, and two more children, I have managed to make my way through the kitchen without setting anything on fire!  Although I always wanted to become more kitchen savvy, it wasn't until Jesse was unavailable to cook that I realized, "I cannot raise my family on frozen dinners & basic, college staples!"  It was certainly scary to think about truly cooking, but I understood the importance of getting good nutrients into our diets.  Plus, I have very fond memories of family dinners growing up and I wanted my girls to have similar experiences.

Everyone has heard the expression, "If God leads you to it, He will take you through it."  Perhaps a bit dramatic for my cooking stories, nonetheless, I have found this expression to be very helpful during various trials in my life.  It can be easy to point blame or ask, "Why me, God?" when dealing with difficult circumstances, but I find it much more productive to try and focus on gathering strength from God & growing closer to Him in prayer.  Only when we are at our weakest, most vulnerable moments, can God truly mold us & teach us so we can become more loving, more Christ-like.

Today I read a blog from a woman not much older than me, who had successfully fought cancer twice.  When she was diagnosed the second time, she was unsure if she would have the strength to go through it again.  Her mantra was, "The strongest steel has to go through the hottest fire." Our company is involved in the metals market, so I'm familiar with the blocks of steel are pushed through a series of hot (and by hot, I mean about as hot as lava) rolls until the steel is the desired dimensions.  As the steel cools, it has time to "de-stress," thus the finished product has fewer surface stresses & is, essentially, a stronger steel.  The imagery of this is something I plan to use during my prayer/meditation.  God wants take each and every one of us and "roll" us...mold us...into a more beautiful, strong person.  Yet, He is willing to show us the way & be with us along the journey as we learn how.

Though I'm far from the perfect cook & I still make lots of mistakes, I take every experience as a learning opportunity.  I relish in the success of making something that my family enjoys & even requests!  But, I also know I have a long way to go.  Thankfully, I have a house full of empty tummies willing to try my offerings.  I only hope we can be so open to the courses that God has in store for us.