Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Kitchen Refrigerator


Karen Ware, Flicker
When my husband's mother moved to heaven, we moved her large refrigerator into our kitchen. One door opens to a freezer section and ice water dispenser. The other side is full of roomy shelves and drawers for food storage.

To the delight of the children, cold refreshing water is a button away and there's always room for artwork and photos. I frequently discover handmade gifts, hung by smudgy little fingers, on my fridge.

God must have a refrigerator. Wouldn't a wedding feast require a kitchen? Surely there is room for His children to have their creations and special moments displayed. What have I done this week that merited His pleased smile? Does He say with love and pride, "Look at this. Look what she did!"

Johnathan runs into my kitchen, opens wide the refrigerator and announces his need with complete confidence that it will be met.
I need water. I need milk. I need food. I need...something.
He reaches for his sippy cup of milk and whatever fruit is in his reach.

When I am hungry, I can go to God's refrigerator with that same confidence. He has cold living water to refresh me, pure spiritual milk to nourish me and an endless supply of Spirit fruit.

A jar of joy, a platter of peace, with a layer of love. Maybe a kettle of kindness when my heart is running on empty. He's always thinking ahead of me, always ready to meet my needs.  I just have to open the door.

"I have loved you with an everlasting love", the Lord said to me.  "For I satisfy the weary ones and refresh everyone who languishes.  Hearing this, I began to awaken, and I looked, and my life was pleasant to me."  Jeremiah 31:25

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mushrooms, Onions and Peppers

I would love to be a great cook, but I'm not yet. I've been an excellent country cook, but now I'm learning to cook with healthier, better choices. It takes quite a bit of time experimenting in my kitchen.

I choose onions from the basket and grab a few cloves of garlic off the counter. Beside my wooden cutting board I line up colorful sweet peppers, red, yellow, orange and green. Lastly I wipe clean a pile of mushrooms then begin to chop.

I fill my old iron skillet with the colorful, healthy jumble of vegetables and it's ready to cook in a splash of olive oil. This mixture will be ready to add to breakfast eggs, meatloaf, soups, fish and chicken through the week.

Beautiful old hymns fill my kitchen with music and my heart fills with joy.  I love my kitchen and I'm thankful that this now familiar habit has become easy. I love experimenting, but this task is a reward, not experimentation. It is a habit, welcome and established.

I would love to be a great Christian, but I'm not yet. I'm learning to be more faithful, to make healthier, better choices. It takes quite a lot of time in my life experimenting. Every year I choose a new habit to experiment with in my life, one thing to focus on while God is daily refining me from the inside out. Gradually, habits are being welcomed and established, rewards for experimentation.

"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."  Hebrews 12:10b-11

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Coffee With Cream

The sun is rising, a new day breaking through the darkness. While the kitchen fills with the warm, familiar aroma of my coffee, I read a Message from my Father on the window sill:
If your heart is broken, you'll find Me right there;  if you're kicked in the gut, I'll help you catch your breath. A soldier-princess so often gets into trouble; still, I'm there every time. See you at 7, Father
Today will bring concerns. Trouble is never far away. Holding on to joy can be a challenge. A friend's cancer, depression, a painful divorce, mental illness, abused children...on and on it goes.

But for now, I set aside the challenges and disappointments, taking every thought captive to celebrate this moment, this opportunity to be fully awake and in God's presence.

Rich dark coffee, drip by drip, little bit by little bit, fills my coffee mug, but I always leave enough room for cream.  As the cream stirs in, streaking the dark, gradually my coffee lightens, becomes richer, sweeter, more flavorful.

In the same way, moments of thanks giving, little bit by little bit, fill my cup of joy. The warm, familiar aroma of my prayers lifts me into the throne room of the King, where God, my Father, will be waiting for me.

Like coffee with cream, my burdens become lighter and my cup of joy becomes richer, fuller, more flavorful. I am my His and He is mine. In His presence is the fullness of joy.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Saddle Up

"Please pray for me," Andie said softly. "I'm not okay. I'm so scared. I hurt so bad."

Recently released from suicide watch for the second time, desperate for someone to walk alongside her, this sweet wounded soldier came to me for counsel in the state prison.

Medical attention in the prison can be slow moving, overcrowded. Enduring pain in the wait can become excruciating, terrifying. Death seems preferable when fear overwhelms a broken heart and a body wracked with suffering.

Life hasn't always been this rough for Andie. But when comfort is hard to find, when a person is wounded and broken, a future and a hope grows dim. I heard her silently begging for help as she limped her way toward me, her arms reaching, her hands trembling.

Come for me. I've lost my way. I'm wounded and bleeding, come for me.

"I feel like I'm going down for the count," Andie shared. "Like I will never be happy again. I can deal with my stomach pain, but the pain in my gut, this fear...I'm a mess. I can't fight it any more."

Crisis in a dying world has become commonplace. Reports of bad things happening to good people is a mere tweet away. We turn from the brokenness and pain, escaping into our own interests, into that which is easier to endure. But, our Savior came to seek and save the lost. We need to consider the interests of others, the needs of others, before our own.

My mission as a soldier is not complicated. It's not gray. It's black and white. Good versus evil. The God of angel armies gave His marching orders. He designed the rescue mission and sent us to bind up the brokenhearted, the wounded who lay dying alone, face down, bleeding out on the battlefield.

Storms of life are raging, blinding us to one another. This is enemy territory. Do you hear the faint whimper on the wind?

Come for me. I've lost my way. I'm wounded and bleeding, come for me.

Choose a side and saddle up. Ride deep into the battlefield or ride away.