My love of cooking developed late.
My mother made sure that I could cook as a matter of survival and she was determined that I would learn the basics and I did. She started the lessons when I was about nine I would complain and moan the whole time because I knew that the majority of my friends did not have to endure such torture and could go out and play. I saw it as a chore/bore and my pleasure of eating came from eating my mother’s traditional West-African food or eating out. I did not enjoy the level of investment and planning it took just for one damn meal. I definitely did not like baking, I still don’t. I am not a natural baker, but thankfully, I have a partner that LOVES to bake so I am never without amazing treats and desserts.
My love of cooking began to blossom, when I found out that I was pregnant with my first child. I was in university and I realised that my student diet, of takeaways, alcohol and late night eating was probably not the best things for a baby. It forced me to rethink about my relationship with food and its purpose. I thought about how my mother cooked and the effects it had, not just to fill stomachs but how it also brings people around the table and enjoy each other’s company. She is an amazing cook and I often compare my cooking to hers.
But it wasn’t easy, I found that when I actually tried to cook, I had lost and forgotten the tricks and combinations she had shown me. I would like to make it clear that I did not forget how to boil pasta or make a chile or Bolognese sauce, but when I tried to be adventurous, my attempts were actually a little bit disgusting or worst of all, bland.
It felt like I had to begin from scratch. Over seven years later I have become quite a good cook (not to toot my own horn) but I have found something in the act of cooking and feeding people that really hits my soul. Not only do I now enjoy the planning and the time needed to prepare food, because I love to listen to music and dance in the kitchen as well, but the friendships that have deepened over the dinner table is incredible.
I have found that it’s more and more of who I am than I have ever thought. When my mother comes to stay and she eats my food, she always says it was worth all the pain she had to endure trying to teach me how to cook. “You were not an easy student,” she often remarks, but she also says that she can now enjoy the fruit of her labour. My mother is astonished to see how much I enjoy cooking and being in the kitchen, a complete reversal of the petulant child.
My love of cooking and serving people food was a hidden thing deep inside of me. My mother planted the seed and it blossomed under God’s love and care.
It is a wonderful reminder that I do not live on bread alone, but by His very word. It reminds me to be thankful for his provision and for this gift he has given me but also for the fact when I read his word, I am fed. I can definitely notice the difference in my heart and mind, when I haven’t spent any time in God’s word or if I treat like a chore. Sometimes I take little chunks out of it, verses that hold me during a difficult day or time or dive deep in to the wonderful stories that God tells me. They challenge and uplift me and correct me. I also find how to express my gratitude, and praise. Have you ever come across a verse that sums up exactly how you feel? That reminds you how wonderful our father is and his love for us?
At the moment for me it is Psalm 73. In particular,
My heart and flesh may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Even when I fail, stumble and even crash and burn, this reminds me that God will always pick me up, brush me off and help me to keep walking.
At the moment, I try to get up before the kids are awake to read my bible and write a prayer in my prayer diary. I have found that it’s the best way to really give my best before the busyness and anxieties of the day take over. It’s the time when I can be fed and be topped up ready to face the challenges of the day. I took this example from a dear friend of mine, who like me with young children made this her discipline. I was challenged and inspired by her devotion and realised that it was possible.
Jesus tells us that he is the bread of life. He is essential to our lives, from day-to-day, moment to moment. Once, I was reading the bible and I had a picture of myself tearing a page out and eating it, and I came to understand through the day that his word nourishes us, that his word is our life.
His word is for every season, the good and the bad. God invites us to “taste and see” his goodness in every situation and sometimes I have to push through the feeling that I really don’t want to read the bible, pray or get up early. But every time I do, God meets me and shows me something new and gives me strength for the new day.
I want to leave you with this verse,
Let us declare that the Lord is our portion, no matter what we are facing and see him move in our lives.
Let me know how you God nourishes you in the season you are in and how you make time for God’s word.