Thursday, August 1, 2013


Join us September 27-28 at Hope at Home 2013 

From Susan: 

With our family of 12, Brian and I and our kids have spent countless hours in the kitchen preparing meals for our family and for guests. In so doing, according to my friend Carter Jenkins, "I am not feeding bodies; I am feeding souls!" I might expand upon this to say, "we are not only feeding bodies for strength;  we are also feeding hearts and minds and souls!"  Let us then realize the honor and importance and blessing and influence we have as we do the work of grocery shopping, preparing, and cleaning for meals and snacks and cups of water. We have been chosen to serve in Heaven's Kitchen (don't you just hear the name of a new TV show???).  And as we do so, we may not get a pay check via direct deposit into Bank of America, but we do get auto-draft transfers with interest into our heavenly bank accounts. Doesn't matter how simple the fare. Doesn't matter if my husband or kids or guests like it. It matters only that we are doing the work set before us for the Master. 

Success in the Kitchen

Who here is qualitifed for the job of overseeing the kitchen?  A person the Master can depend on to feed the workers on time each day.  Someone the Mater can drop in on unanounced and find him doing his job.  A God-blessed man or woman, I tell you. (Matthew 24:45 MSG)
It is so easy, in this business of parenting, to get our sense of blessing, of happiness, from whether those around us are pleased with what we serve up in our homes. When my husband and kids are happy with our family, I am very happy; and when one of them is unhappy with our family, it is easy for the rest of us to be unhappy. What I love about this verse is the clarity about what makes me, as God's daughter, happy. It is not the presence or absence of another's gratitude, rather it is simply doing the work the Master has set before me! Then comes that glorious progression: 

So in summary, here are the questions this verse answers:
1.  Who is my boss? The Master - a wonderfully gracious and joyful boss!
2. How often do I work? Daily
3. Where do I work? In the kitchen, both literally and figuratively.

In our family this means food is accompanied by intentional conversation, broadening the nourishment to the heart amd spirit. Intentionally focused on caring for those among us. A simple question to prompt connection is one we've been asking for 15 years at our table: let's each share something we at thankful for today. Then we go around the table, inevitably stop to talk about many of the things that were shared. I love this time of the meal! Just this past week, among the "things I am thankful for" were: my nap, my hard work is over, that I read this morning that God is rich in mercy and it helped me be kind to someone who was screaming at me angrily, and the good dinner. The very next day one of our kids found themselves in a difficult circumstance of rejection, and shared with me later about being able to use the "rich in mercy" response that had been mentioned around our table!!

A Story

Sitting in Ukraine last week around a simple wooden table, drinking tea late one night, I found myself having a talk  with an 18 year old I had just met. N had lived on the street from age 6 to 8, then lived in foster families, and finally been adopted to America at 13. She remembers at age 6 her mama placing her on the table, then lifting up an ax over her head to try to kill her. Terrified, she rolled off and ran to the street. After leaving the street to live with loving Ukrainian foster families and then an American family through adoption, she is now back in Ukraine, determined to help other kids on the street know they can make something of their lives. But mostly, most importantly, she feeds them from her "kitchen." 

I know what those kids want: they want someone to look into their eyes, listen to them, and talk with them. Basically, they want to feel like they matter. Like someone cares about them. I didnt have that on the street and it was the only thing I wanted. I didnt want the candy and food, really, that many people tried to give me. And I know Jesus has a purpose for all I went through. I want to tell them they can make something of their lives, too. 
So dearly beloved, we pray for those we will love over meals and coffee and cups of cold water this week, that we will give them what they really are wanting, in a word--Love. 
Our simple faithfulness in our unique kitchen helps visibly to reverse the proportions of darkness and light in the world.  Like this picture I took  from my time receiving the Bread from Heaven yesterday morning that was served later that day in prayer and conversations, we are simply passing on what we receive. We are distributors, not producers. 

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