MESSAGE IN THE RECIPE BOX

Sunday was a good day to make some soup.  The pitter patter of rain on the roof, the gray gloomy clouds darkening the sky, and the cooler temperature made me crave a delicious meal of homemade soup and bread.  I reached for my old-school recipe collection, ready to search for the spinach tortellini soup given to me by a colleague years ago.  My collection is a hodge-podge mess, housed in an old rectangular tin.  The recipes are haphazardly tucked inside following no structure or organization:  hand-written index cards, computer printed papers, recipe cards neatly written from my wedding shower 30 years ago, and many torn from magazines and newspapers.

GOD CLEARLY WAS SPEAKING TO ME

Then I came across a treasure far more outstanding than the tortellini soup recipe that I was searching for.  It was a clipping from My Daily Bread dated Sunday, April 27, 2008 entitled “Following God’s Plan”.  Attached to it was a handwritten note from my mother who died ten years previously.  Suddenly the search for the soup recipe didn’t matter.  What mattered was that God clearly was speaking to me through this message tucked inside the tattered recipe box.

SHE HAD BEEN TELLING GOD WHAT HER PLAN WAS

The Daily Bread message was about a high school teacher who taught eight years and wanted to quit her job. She needed the money for her family but felt depleted by the pressures of grading papers, lesson planning, and testing.  Feeling desperate, she took off the day from work to evaluate her career.  As she prayed, she realized that she was trying to follow her own lesson plans for her life instead of God’s plan.  All along, she had been telling God what her plan was, instead of asking Him to help find her purpose. 

SHE BEGAN CHANGING HER PRAYERS

She began changing her prayers from “Help me get out of teaching” to “Help me find your purpose for my life.  If it is to be a teacher, help me to accept it.”  Over time, her attitude toward her job began to improve.  Challenges became opportunities for growth.  Even though many days still brought stress and exhaustion, she had a renewed sense of hope knowing God’s purpose was clear. 

I BEGAN TO QUESTION MY PURPOSE

After my son died two and a half years ago from leukemia, I went back to the classroom teaching second grade.  I began to question my purpose.  How was I supposed to continue educating these little ones, giving them the love, attention, and care they deserved when my whole world was turned upside down?  How was I supposed to compartmentalize my grief so that my children didn’t see this side of their teacher? 

MEANT TO BE SHARED

While I continue to wrestle with these challenges, I know God hears my cries.  Sending me this little reminder tucked inside the recipe box was His way of telling me that He is in control and His plans for my life are so much bigger than mine.  1 Corinthians 12:4-6 reads, “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” Paul goes on to say that the gifts given to us are not meant for us to keep, instead, they are meant to be shared.

GOD’S PURPOSE IS CLEAR

The note at the bottom of the clipping was from my mom who was also a former teacher.  She wrote, “Kimmy, I know you were meant to be a teacher and God’s purpose is clear. Peace. Love, Mom.” 

THE PLAN HE HAS FOR YOU

If you find yourself struggling with your job or circumstances in life, give up trying to make your own plan for your life.  Instead, ask God to help you to know the plan He has for you.  Ask for Him to reveal how to use your gifts to bless others.  May you find fulfillment in the work that you do knowing God’s purpose is clear. As the soup simmered on the stove, I thanked God for nourishing my soul with an unexpected message from my mom.

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