Last week I finished up a series entitled, “How did I get here, God?” (You can read it from the beginning here.) While I revealed many things about our marriage and life over the past 10 years in that series, I did not reveal the many ways God has continually prepared me for this new journey. So today I want to share with you one portion of what God has done for us and through us to get us ready for this time in our lives.
First off you need to know that I have never been a cook. I was so busy in high school with dance classes, orchestra, choir, school and church activities that I ate whatever I could “on-the-go.” TRUTH: My mom wouldn’t let me near the kitchen once I set bacon on fire in the microwave. It’s true!! Just ask her! And frankly, I didn’t like to cook. But one day, after the birth of our second child something changed. I found myself wanting to learn how to cook. And I mean… really cook…from scratch. My family’s supportive response…“What?! You Cook?” Exactly. Never in my life did I think I would actually make entire meals for my family from scratch, let alone…ENJOY it!! But, the Lord knew I needed to be stretched and that someday it would necessary for me to cook to survive.
He gently nudged me to begin cooking and learning all I could about preparing healthy-homemade meals for my family. I began making meal plans each week, which not only helped our grocery bill, but encouraged me to prepare meals at home. I signed up for Pinterest (highly addictive, right?!) and quickly fell in love with the ease of finding recipes at a my fingertips. I began following blogs that shared recipes and ways to teach your children in the kitchen.
My days were filled with homeschooling our oldest in Kindergarten, a 14-month old and a newborn. There were days I just couldn’t do it all and quickly found myself frustrated and wanting to give up. But, I knew what the Lord was telling me – You need to cook for your family. A loving friend turned me on to the slow cooker. Oh what a marvelous invention that gadget!!! How did I not know about this?! Where had this modern marvel been for the past 6 years of my marriage?!
Up until this point I really only saw slow cookers used at church dinners or large family functions. It honestly never dawned on me to use it in my own kitchen for daily meals. I know…I’ve lived a sheltered life! But give me a break…I didn’t cook! LOL
It was like a whole new world opened up for me! I finally found the time to do more around the house or meet up with friends when the stress of preparing dinner wasn’t looming over me all day. I would literally go into a panic if dinner was not started on time. It just didn’t seem worth it. But, the slow cooker really changed all that for me! I was finally able to plan home cooked meals every day of the week – regardless of our daily plans! It was a win-win for sure!!!
Over time, I fell in love with cooking for and with my family!! It wasn’t instantaneous by any means. It took a while. Like I said, at first it was difficult and I wanted to throw in the towel many, many times. In fact, there were times I just didn’t care and ordered a pizza. But eventually, the Lord really worked on my heart and it changed…slowly.
He took me from making Mac & Cheese every other meal to creating my own recipes from scratch!! The journey hasn’t always been easy, but it has been worth it!!! With my Ulcerative Colitis flairing up over the past year, homemade meals have become a MUST. After about 18 months of learning to cook from scratch, the Lord changed things up again, when we realized I could no longer tolerate gluten and later added grains (specifically corn and rice) to that list, and it became even more essential that I know how to cook – from scratch!!!
So at the young age of 36, I find myself studying, reading, researching and learning all about cooking. The Lord has faithfully guided me and led me in the direction of healthier eating habits.
My kids were happy with eating Mac & Cheese and hot dogs every day. So what changed? My heart changed. God got a hold of my heart and began to change me from the inside out.
Am I perfect? Absolutely not.
Do I make mistakes? Every day.
Do we still eat Mac & Cheese and hot dogs? Yes.
Am I okay with that? For now.
One step at a time people. One step at a time!! It’s not easy making changes to my own diet when all I want to do is resist. It is even harder to change the diets of 4 young children who just want to eat what they like and what they are used to.
So the process is slower with the kids. But, we are making strides. I meal plan for the entire week and we stick to it. Sometimes we do some moving around, but we try our best not to deviate from the plan.
What has the Lord taught me through this? It’s time to take a step back and slow down. I just read a post today that really hit home for me. Jacinda over at Growing Home, does a beautiful job of reminding us what it’s like to be overwhelmed with life when we put undue stress on ourselves. God has taught me through this time that I need to take the time to play with my kids and quit worrying about whether or not all the laundry is folded and put away or whether we have a 4-course meal for dinner every night. What matters is that I’m there with my kids. That I don’t miss life with them.
Strange how a simple thing like slowing down and learning to cook for your family can change your heart so dramatically, isn’t it?
Join me in the coming weeks and months as we change our family diet to completely gluten-free. I hope to share lots of recipes, tips, meal plans and MORE with you all!!!!
Has the Lord changed your heart? What is He doing to stretch you for His glory?
Make is a blessed day!
Sharing with these parties: Raising Arrows, The Better Mom, Time-Warp Wife, Growing Home, Far Above Rubies, Raising Homemakers, Deep Roots At Home, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, The Multi Taskin’ Mom (Inspired Wednesdays), Raising Mighty Arrows, Hearts for Home Blog Hop, Graced Simplicity