[serialposts]I come from a long line of food lovers, and some of my strongest memories are connected to family kitchens I remember in snap-shot snippets. It’s no surprise to me that I feel closest to God when I bake. It was only last yearover a pan of chocolate chip cookies.
Recently when the walls caved in a bit, I sought refuge in my kitchen.
Elbow deep in flour, I plunge my hands down into the dough–fold and press, fold and press. I consider, after a few minutes, that perhaps I have over-worked this boule. Still working the dough, I wonder how it might turn out. Have I ruined it with all of this handling?
The repetitive motion of the press-and-knead feels good–rhythmic. I lose myself, watching the dough smooth and soften in my hands. I need this quiet repetition because even as there is motion, a stillness rolls across my shoulders and down my arms. I feel the calming quiet I’ve craved and avoided all at once.
I no longer hear the buzzing of my children and the dog, I am deaf to the birds outside and the TV droning on in the background. This is Holy work here now, just me and Jesus. I feel Him pressing me as I stand, pressing flour and yeast over onto itself, pulling, rolling, folding, repeat. Again. And Again.
The sweet scent of yeast and sugar hangs under the tip of my nose, a cloud puff of loose flour poufs briefly as I press the dough over onto another side of the board. I watch as the dusting rises and falls silently. I store that image away.
The dough stretches and softens with each new fold and I can’t help but consider my own life–folded and pressed in the Fathers hands, proofed and risen by His grace and mercy, that I might yield something whole–something that can feed and fill.
My life’s purpose is His, and as He has pulled at me, and stretched me in recent months, I find my purpose emerging. It’s terrifying and glorious and all too miraculous really, that He can pull the ingredients of a less-than perfect life together to make something complete–that I, so full of errors and cracks, can be used at all. We can give glory, when we surrender.
It’s become our mantra here in the school room, I say to my children, “My life’s purpose–“ and my children answer back, “is to give God glory!” And they shout it joyfully, not militant or coerced, but with utter joy because we have purpose and knowing this makes our hearts rise, even as He presses and pulls at us. Even as we endure painful seasons of doubt and fear. We are assured that through this folding, through this pressing and shaping, we indeed have purpose.
We rise in the morning, under the heat of this world, knowing that our lives are an offering, that you and I can be like manna to strangers along the journey. We can be cut open by the world, and shared through our willing sacrifice and all around the aroma of grace wafts out of the broken bread–we can feed the soul-starved of this world by sharing our broken selves.
It’s a mystery, how our mess encourages. We say “misery loves company” but it’s not because we want to bring others down but more because our wounds somehow lift others up. We are no longer alone. In our brokenness, we can still feed each other.
Christ’s own body, this Bread Of Life, breaks again and again for us and we feast on His sacrifice.
Turning the dough in my own kitchen, I see the necessity of the breaking, the bending and pressing. I see the beauty of the rising.
An hour later I return to the warmth of the stove top. Pressing my finger into the top of the dough, I see that it has risen enough, the dent left by my fingerprint signals the transition–Gods fingerprints remain on me, He knows when it’s time enough.
In April, our writers are sharing stories on the theme Rise, telling everyday tales of awakening to the mystery of the resurrection during Eastertide. Together, we’ll celebrate and ponder the message of Christ through the lens of our unique perspectives. And we’re giving away one copy of Wonderstruck by Margaret Feinberg to a lucky person who comments – one every Monday in April. Winners will be announced every Tuesday morning .
On Monday of next week, April 29, join us in welcoming our guest writer, Margaret Feinberg, popular Bible teacher, speaker and author, and link up your own story on the prompt Rise. One story will be selected from the collection and featured here on Bible Dude. It could be yours.