April was awesome! With all the sorrow in our world, it was so encouraging to read of others actively demonstrating the love of Christ. And today, we launch a new month. I did want to clarify on the prizes, as I think they may be unclear. The gift basket goes to someone sharing their Reach Out Story. One randomly selected reader also wins—a free book. So there is one gift-basket that goes to the Reach Out contributor, and a book give-away that goes to one randomly selected reader.
Today’s story comes from a sweet woman named Elaine Cooper. She’s written for me on a few occasions and always has heart-stirring stories to share. Today she talks about serving God in our weakness–when He calls us to do something we feel ill-equipped to do. As a woman who burns cookies, forgets key ingredients, and gets distracted in the middle of boiling rice, I so can relate!
Reluctant Cook By Elaine Marie Cooper
Let me be honest— I am not the greatest cook in the world. Thoughts of potlucks at church and Bible study nearly send me into an anxiety attack. I always imagine kindly Christians munching into my culinary creation and assuring me how good it is…until they turn around and spit it into their napkin, hoping not to be noticed! Now, I have never seen that happen, but it is always my fear. Cooking has never been easy for me.
Recently my husband announced that he really wanted to serve dinner to visiting missionaries from France while they were here raising support. Gary (the missionary husband) is an old friend of ours and we were so excited to entertain he and his wife Kate and their one-year-old daughter, Lucie. I looked forward to meeting his new family.
But to cook a dinner for these precious folks who are used to European cuisine? This was enough to send me into a tailspin! On top of that distress, I was planning to leave town soon and had a million things on “my plate” to get done for my trip.
I thought of that song from Scripture that I’ve loved for years: “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of them that bring good news.” How lovely indeed—and what an honor to serve missionaries in such a small way as to provide nourishment for their bodies while they seek to nourish souls.
“OK, Lord. Please show me what to make.”
Heading for my computer, I Googled “crock pot meals” which are generally a safe bet for me. By “safe” I mean, safe for the recipients of my food!
Very quickly, the Lord led me to a recipe for, of all things, Beef Barley Soup. Now, I have never made this soup before, but Kate is British and somehow it seemed like a good choice considering her background. It felt like a jolly good recipe. J
Printing off the ingredients, I headed for the store early that morning with a bit of trepidation but trusting the Lord to help me with the menu. I found everything that I needed for the soup and then headed for the breads and cheeses. That seemed European. I chose three types of cheese and two different breads and prayed the Lord would bless my attempts at presenting a delicious meal for them.
Well, it smelled incredibly tasty cooking in the crockpot for several hours and even my husband and I were looking forward to it.
By the time Gary, Kate, and Lucie arrived, we were all anxious to dig in. Gary and Kate enjoyed the soup so much they each had seconds! Even little Lucie liked it. And Kate commented on how European it felt. It was such an answer to prayer for this reluctant chef!
But the real joy was in putting myself aside—my busy schedule, my inadequacies, my fears—and allowing God to show me that He would guide me, if I would just be obedient to him.