“So, whether you eat or drink,
or whatever you do,
do all to the glory of God”
~1 Corinthians 10:31
I gave my youngest son a gift the other day after school – silence on the ride home. As the car climbed the mountain to home, I pointed out, “Just to make sure you understand – this silence is a gift. I don’t want you to accuse me later of not paying attention to you”
“I know, Mom,” he answered, with a smile that told me he valued this gift. He’s 16 and, right now, he and his 18 year old brother are sharing a car, hence the ride with mom.
This youngest one, he’s an introvert (an engineer-type like his dad) – until he’s not. When he’s not, roll the camera – it’s a sight to see.
One evening last week, as I was cleaning the kitchen, he slid onto one of the five stools at the kitchen counter. I hadn’t cooked dinner. I think I’d brought in t0-go because I’d been run down from the three-week crud going around.
He unleashed a lecture on me: ” Mom. . . Mom! You’re slipping. What happened to the breakfasts – the homemade pancakes, the granola bars made with the oatmeal with the picture of the man wearing a wig, the eggs and bacon sandwiches with ketchup? Breakfast used to be your BEST. You only have a few more years before we’re gone. I think you need to step it up. You’re slacking – you need to push through – Be Your Best with the time you have left with us at home.”
Teens like turning the table – giving your words right back at you wrapped in one liners and lectures.
I stood on the other side of the counter, cleaning up after having let the kitchen go for a while under the weather. Really, to be honest – I probably hadn’t really been my best since right before this time last year when I’d been hospitalized with pneumonia – this time last year when this same boy the day before I’d gone into the hospital had asked me for “Just one Word, Mom” – because I’d stopped talking -Talking cost so much physically. All the boys were a bit unnerved that I’d stopped. But when this boy asked for one word, I gave him that one word – he’d bartered a two minute snuggle for that one word – and, well, no matter how ill, I guess the mom in me values that more than anything in the world. But I digress.
I stood in the kitchen, drying soup bowls,rinsing milk out of glasses, smiling sheepishly – admiring my son’s eloquence, loving that he admitted enjoying one of my love languages (not the talking gift, but the cooking gift) – and dismayed that one of my sons labeled me a slacker.
Later, as I mulled over what he’d said to me, I realized that since I was released from the hospital last year, I have baked through this year-long recovery – and it has been a year-long recovery. Two months after pneumonia, I had a complete hysterectomy (planned) – accompanied by plantar fasciitis. I went from walking three miles about three times a week to not being able to even walk to my mail box. There were other challenges, too, maybe just as you had your individual brand of challenges.
After you have prayed, what do you do? How do you walk through, push through, live the daily through your challenges?
We all have different ways of pushing through these challenges There have been challenges I’ve knitted through, written through and just stood through. Last year, I baked through.A few weeks ago, I drove my sons to Death at Dawn (a two week running event in our community at 5:30 a.m.). I did my own version, walking around town, climbing the bleachers -to, finally, reach my three-mile goal. I’d pushed through to rebuild my strength.
This last year, I’ve felt like an introvert – and wondered where my extrovert went. No knitting. Not much writing. I gardened, grew zinnias and cooked soups, stews and bisques. I grilled cheese, burgers and brats. I baked and baked and baked cakes, cookies, brownies, cake pops – and cakes and cakes and more cakes. Of course, it helps to have 5 sons with 5 birthdays plus grand girlies and beautiful daughter-in-laws to bake for. That’s at least 10 birthdays a year – but baking steadied me. It allowed me to love when the words didn’t come, the directions wouldn’t knit – and, well, the get-up-and-go just wanted to stay home.
God met me in the baking – in my kitchen – over the flour, vanilla, sugar, chocolate, flavorings and fixin’s. Measurement by measurement – faith step by faith step over big and little things that make up the daily – my father and I met there, shared the big and little things on my heart – and I just trusted it was o.k. to have this quiet that left me wordless. I didn’t chase ideas down rabbit holes, searching them out like I’ve done all my life. In the quiet, he assured me this was exactly how he wanted it for now. I didn’t need to know why. I just needed to live faith in it.
A few years ago, this quiet would have unnerved me – but I have learned to trust that He’s got the plan- and this year, I’ve trusted him so very much about this quiet, wordlessness. Somehow, all this baking (but, apparently, not cooking the good breakfasts) has been my way of trusting, my way of walking my faith in the daily, of pushing through by trusting that my faith in the hope of his care, all will be well.
This has been a year of baking sandwiched between a son asking for, “Just one word, Mom” and giving a lecture encouraging me to start doing my best again, at least with breakfast.
I realized as I was cleaning my kitchen one evening last week, that we all have different ways of pushing through challenges. I have baked my way through the last 365 Days, so much so that my boys are tired of cakes. The Year of Baking Through is done.
I don’t know about this next year. I don’t know if the words will come more frequently. Maybe my extrovert will re-assert itself. I do know one son graduates from high school in May. Another son and his sweet wife are having a baby boy in July. In between is the daily and all its challenges, the best breakfasts and God’s plans for it all! I will taste and see that the Lord is good! I will take refuge in Him – and be blessed! (Psalm 34:8, paraphrased).
“They Broke Bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” ~Acts 2:46
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