I find Jesus in the Kitchen


I work at a hotel. Most days, I’m either working the front desk from 5:45 am until whenever I get off, or I’m working my backside off cleaning up the messes of a small town. Sometimes the mess belonged to a man who left his wedding ring in the room because he wasn’t staying there with his wife, sometimes a group of very messy Mexican workers who cook moldy burritos in the microwave and have idols and candles to worship the goddess of death who will keep them safe. I work for a Hindu woman whose parents were Indian and emigrated from India to South Africa. I learn a lot from her about God, and she inspires me to spend more time with Him. Her ideas of culture and God coincide with mine some days, but other days, they are very different. Other days, I get very frustrated with her lack of patience for people who are doing their very best to help her. Some days my frustration for this place makes it hard to feel like Jesus is present anywhere in or around me, like I’m in any way making a difference in the midst of all the things I see: the drug addicts with “Do Not Disturb” signs on their doors, the men coming in month after month with increasingly younger women, never wanting receipts that would incriminate them, the coworkers who struggle through things I never could have imagined struggling through. Sometimes, Jesus seems a little far in that.

This morning, I was standing at my kitchen counter making breakfast. I was cutting mushrooms and potatoes, I had just thrown a baked oatmeal in the oven, and my eggs were ready to be scrambled, my sink was overflowing with dishes because I haven’t been home very much this week because of work, more dishes still were stacked on the table from Thursday night’s dinner, I have 3 loads of clean laundry from several days ago in my bedroom that need to be folded. My house becomes chaos some weeks. Standing there at my pumpkin colored countertops slicing food for my breakfast with my husband with my worship music playing, I felt Jesus so near and close to me. Since then, the phrase “I find Jesus in the kitchen” has been lodged between my ears. It’s been an anthem of sorts, telling me that even in the midst of chaos, I can find Jesus in these moments that seem so insignificant.

Jesus is in my mountain of dishes that reminds me I didn’t have time to do them because I have a job where I can excel and solve problems and work with my hands, and because we had company over and spending time with our friend is a beautiful blessing. Jesus is in a pile of diced potatoes and Baby Bella mushrooms and the aromatic garlic cooking in coconut oil. Jesus is in that baked oatmeal in the oven baking all warm and cinnamon-y for our friends at church. Jesus is in the small moments reminding me that He’s provided space for me to serve my husband and our friends and the people I work with and to do things, like cooking, that I love doing so much.

My worship music played and I couldn’t do anything but smile, sing a little louder, and bask in the presence of Jesus I could feel swelling through me and around me in my little kitchen telling me again and again, “No matter who you are or who you’ve been, I’m still here filling every little moment of your life with gifts and building you into who you will become. I’m not done with you yet.”

Zephaniah


You’ve put on the clothes of two kingdoms

You put on My garment

To say you’ve adorned yourself in peace

But you layer on the garb of your oppressors

To keep you warm at night

You stand on the threshold of Dagon and Zion

You serve gods I’ve already put to shame

Holding loosely to me like a talisman—

A lover on a string

Calling me the likeness of a wooden pole

But haven’t I shown you?

Do you still not understand?

Haven’t I proven my greatness since Egypt?

Or have you again forgotten?

Wood will rot and rock will crumble

But you still lust after their abusive thrills

While telling Me you love Me

You’ve walked into your own fire

You’ve let your hands seek their own right and wrong

If only you would turn to see Me

If only you would let Me be yours

I am compassionate

Even Ninevah knows that

I’ll gather you in My arms

Lean into Me

Let Me sing you to sleep

Because I take joy in saving you

Give Me your burdens

I’ll restore you and add to you

Oh, beautiful daughter of Zion

I will be your King

Waking up to humanity.


Today, I woke up tired, and for some reason, acutely aware of my humanity and how much I have that I don’t deserve. I opened my eyes and spent the next several minutes horizontal, kicking myself for keeping my boyfriend up too late last night, feeling stupid because I’m not as “spiritual” as I think I ought to be, and I don’t always know what I think I should. I beat myself up for being so messed up. +I asked God why in the world He would choose me to be an ambassador of His grace and love when I so often fail to trust in it, when I so often believe that my own failures have an effect on the fullness of Himself in me. Why would He choose to use someone as screwed up as me? Why would He spend so much time transforming me, working on me and tearing down the lies I believe about myself? Aren’t there better people to work with? I became angry with myself about the coffee I’d failed to make at church this morning because I couldn’t find my key, and frustrated that I’d decided to go back to sleep instead, even though exhaustion told me I needed it. I grumbled at myself and yelled at God for loving me. I put on some music and showered. “Only by grace can we enter” the speaker on my iPod spat out these words in tinny notes. “Not by our human endeavor, but by the blood of the Lamb.” I felt my spirit begin to thaw and soften. All the crap melted. It wasn’t magical or instantaneous or anything, I could just feel the process beginning: the being reminded to let God love me because His love is bigger than me and I have no control over it; the opening myself up to that which I do not feel I deserve – mercy, joy, hope, purpose – because the One Who created me wants to pour these things into me, and leak them through the cracks humanity has chiseled in me. He wants to fill me so abundantly that it breaks open the reservoirs filled with the murky waters of insecurity and upside down pride.

I am allowed to let myself be loved. I am allowed to let my walls come down and walk out onto that which bridges the gap of the vast expanse ahead of me. The Creator of the freaking universe wants me to experience His beautiful nature, wants me to be drenched in the complete love He created me for, wants me to know how far He’ll go for me when I walk away and forget. He doesn’t keep His love a secret. He holds it out for us to receive. In actively choosing to receive, we are transformed, taught to trust, and made whole.

Edom.


My name is Edom

I’ve lifted myself up

I’m a robber in a fortress

A bird thirsty for wars –

A predator exalted in my nest

My brother has fallen

So, laughter meets me on my mountain

I watch his destruction from my tower

And I lie in wait to show him his trouble

I abuse him for my wealth

Since he is weak and lame and empty

And his very heart has been pillaged

I’ll make him my target

Then go back to my mountain

And count up the silver

That makes way for tomorrow’s schemes

 ~

Edom, you are indebted

Your wealth is a sham

Your city gleams red

Built not on rubies

But on the blood of your brother

It glimmers not of gold, but of tears

You will pay your debt

You will fill the hole the same way you dug it

Your fortress will fall

Your haughty abode will catch fire

And thieves will plunder your lust

Your mountain stands no more

In its place stands another

A mountain called deliverance

A mountain called holy

“And the Kingdom will be the Lord’s”

Jeremiah


DSC_0001

My heart is combustion

My bones ache

Comfort me

Understand me

Find patience for me

Remind yourself of me

For, I took your name

I ate up your words

And made them my oasis

In the den of my solitude

Your passion became my own

I watered myself with you

But now my skin cracks and bleeds

My tongue is thick for lack of quenching

But I don’t lack the taunts of those I love for you

I squabble with my brothers for a living

Oh, protector!

I’m broken shards because of you

How long will I be torn apart?

How much longer will these gashes stay open?

Come along

Speak My piece

Walking with Me

They’ll fight

I’ll fortify

We’ll keep walking

They won’t win

I will loose the binds

I’ll unshackle

I am Salvation

Walk with Me

Cacophony


Photo Jul 25, 8 32 37 PM

He is the helper of my daily unbelief

My hourly falling

The filler of my spirit’s hunger

He fills me with wonder that I couldn’t conjure

He alleviates the poverty of the street rat that is my heart

I wander around and search for answers

I scramble for control

I’m desperate to know I’m right

Desperate to know I’ve walked more correctly

As though I can assemble hope myself

As though I could die for my own sins

I listen to too many voices

They get cacophonous and I can’t sort them

One tells me I’m wrong

Another tells me I’m right

A third tells me it doesn’t know

And still a fourth tells me I’ve got no time

My mind gets stuck and can’t escape

My heart is clouded by the noise

It’s got trouble travelling through the fog to Mt. Zion

It has difficulty feeling home

Lord, speak to my thoughts and heart

Let your heartbeat be my own

Fill me with wonder and love and hope

Speak to me above the noise

Scattered


DSC_1954

My thoughts have been extra scattered lately, therefore, bulletpoints.

  • The God we serve works His restoration in the context of relationship, and therefore it follows that our faith is lived out in that same context. God’s love for us, our love for God, and our love for  each another is expressed within community as we grow together and build each other. (That’s where the encouragement comes in)
  • Isolation is a form of division. It’s also selfish. And stupid. Disembodied arms aren’t terribly effective. They just kind of sit there and stink and rot and stuff.
  • God created us with the intention of allowing us to be creative with our lives, just as He is creative. (It’s that whole idea of ‘created in His image’)
  • Paradigms are hard to rebuild and restructure, and sometimes the God we were taught to follow looks a bit different from the God we discover in living life away from that with which we are familiar.
  • God values the honesty of His people. Take a look at Moses for that one: Moses mastered the art of the honest prayer and told God exactly what He was thinking. One particular exchange between them in Numbers 16 is especially beautiful to me. Go read it… See for yourself.
  • The point of the story is the point of the story. When the point of the story becomes the pursuit of the minuscule, time is wasted. Sometimes those minuscule things are important, but that doesn’t make them the point. (I’ve spent a lot of time learning this one over the last 6 months.)

Realization


Image

I was at camp this past week. My group and I were discussing eternal life one night… You know those really awesome times when you have ideas and you  know they aren’t yours? This was one of those times. We were talking about how eternal life doesn’t begin after we die. As we were discussing, three little words popped into my head. They could quite possibly be the most amazing words that God has ever given to me. ‘Jesus is life.’ Eternal life is our Saviour. Think about it. Doesn’t it make you smile a little bit? It does for me.

Life to the fullest


I don’t know about you, but I want to live. I desire that drive that I so obviously lack. I have not been made to stand back and watch the world as it burns. My creator has given me a purpose: to put out the little fires along the way.  The only problem is that I do not know where to start. How do I begin to share my passion? Will we ever know the answer? I don’t know that the answer is always the same for everyone, but I do know this: I am capable of the impossible… I know this because I’ve experienced it.

I refuse to sit still.

Sweet Esther


This is Esther:

Esther has stage 2 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She is only 16.

Today, she has her first round of chemotherapy. Pray for her…

That she will stay strong physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Pray that others will see unconventional beauty through her sweet smile and her vibrant, loving spirit.

And pray for all of us as we embark on this journey alongside of her and her family.

http://posthope.com/gritsko