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.”

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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

Alabaster (continued)


When Jesus was at Bethany, a guest of Simon the Leper, a woman came up to him as he was eating dinner and anointed him with a bottle of very expensive perfume. When the disciples saw what was happening, they were furious. “That’s criminal! This could have been sold for a lot and the money handed out to the poor.” When Jesus realized what was going on, he intervened. “Why are you giving this woman a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives, but not me. When she poured this perfume on my body, what she really did was anoint me for burial. You can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she has just done is going to be remembered and admired.”

Alabaster jar, 
You aren’t easy to give
Nor does your brokenness 
Your surrenderedness
Your pouring out
Escape ridicule
Hide from the scoffs of others. 
But Jesus is worth it
His mission is worth my reputation
His life lived in me is worth disagreement
His harvest is worth the last of my prized possessions
I’m only alive in pursuit of His life. 
Only purposed walking in His purpose

Peace, Unspeakable Mind-Boggling Peace


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Sometimes beauty slashes us, and rips us, and tears us. A dear friend told me it can look like a cross.

Growth is usually painful, but we must be torn down so that we can be restructured, rebuilt, and renewed. A seed must first die before it can grow.

When we are faced with hardships, we have the choice to either let them force us into a shell and never come back, or we have the choice to surround ourselves with God and Love, and move forward.

We may not be able to move on right away, but we can at least move forward. We can allow ourselves to be dusted off, to be helped back up, and to hear the hardest truth — That we actually will be okay. These are things we need.

Our other option is to be an ostrich. To stick our head down in the dirt and ignore everything. To me, that’s not an attractive option. I cannot block out the world, and I most certainly refuse to block out Love. I refuse.

I will allow pain to tear me down and renew me. For me, it’s the only feasible option.

His Love is the only thing that truly heals, therefore I must cling to it, surround myself with it, let it become my reason to live.

I will not become an ostrich. I will embrace pain like an old friend, finding growth in doing so. I will rest in the grace and mercy and peace that I do not deserve by any means, and I will fall head-over-heels in love with my Abba.

… Here we go.

Contemplating.


I’ve done quite a bit of thinking this weekend. And when I say a lot… I mean a lot…

Most of it had to do with how we share Jesus with others. I’ve halfway formed a paragraph/list of things I think.

The Gospel isn’t something we hear and accept as true. It is something that becomes etched into our very being. It becomes our story. To be sold out for Jesus and completely follow Him is to sacrifice the story we would rather live to let Him live out His story in us. The Gospel isn’t all about ‘us being forgiven’ (That’s just a side effect.) The Gospel is not comfortable or pleasant. The Gospel does not depend on emotions to exist. The Gospel doesn’t give out t-shirts to attract those who will live it out. The Gospel is the story of Jesus Christ manifested in us. The Gospel is the greatest story ever being told.

There’s that…

I’ve also been thinking quite a bit about how faithful Abba is. It induces smiles, just in case you were wondering. Read about Abraham and Isaac, and you’ll see why.

Okay, Cher… I’m audi. (Name that movie.)