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.”