I definitely wouldn't consider myself "a great cook," but I've learned a lot through the years by seeking help from women who are.
Topsy, Martha, Jennifer, Brenda, Tiffany, Donnette, and my mom pop into my mind first as women who have stood in my kitchen or guided me by phone as I have attempted new recipes.
One thing I know for sure is this:
You have to have the right ingredients
in order for a recipe to be successful.
Roast just wouldn't be the same without carrots, potatoes, and onions.
Can you imagine chicken casserole without the chicken?
If cooking demands the right ingredients,
I would think that surviving difficult days would too.
I mean surely God wouldn't place us on a planet where He knew things wouldn't always be easy and then say, "When bad times happen, good luck, you're on your own."
No, God is all about giving us the resources we need to survive anything.
He is all about equipping us for good days and bad days,
times of joy and times of sorrow.
When Nick was first diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of seven, I was reading a book in which the author said that when women face a difficult situation they should choose to ask,
"Why not me?" instead of "Why me?"
This one question carried me through Nick's brain surgery, radiation, and chemo, especially when I walked down the hall of the neurology section of the hospital and saw room after room filled with children and parents going through similar horrific situations.
Four years later when Nick became sick again, I was reading a book in which the author said,
"One way to believe God today is to remember how God was with you in the past."
I knew God had carried our family through the loss of Adrienne, and I knew God had been with us when Nick fought cancer as a first grader.
I had to believe God would be with us again all the way through our nightmare.
As I was reading this morning in Psalm 70, 71, and 77,
I was reminded of how I survived these difficult days.
I realized that there are certain ingredients necessary for walking through painful situations with the hope and peace that come only from trusting in a Living God.
First, cry out to God. Tell Him how you feel. Invite Him into your pain. Allow Him to walk every single step with you.
"Hasten, O God, to save me.
O Lord, come quickly to help me."
"Be my rock of refuge to which I can always go."
Second, remember God's presence in your past. Reflect on all He has done for you. Think back to past struggles and look for ways God carried you then. He longs to carry you again.
"I thought about the former days, the years of long ago.
I remembered my songs in the night."
"I will remember the deeds of the Lord;
yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago."
Finally, be transparent, admitting that on your own you are nothing. Ask God to show Himself in mighty ways.
"Hear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am devoted to you. You are my God; save your servant who trusts in you. Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I call to you all day long. Bring joy to your servant, for to you , O Lord, I lift up my soul."
"Give me a sign of your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for you, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me."
Just like a perfect recipe delivers a perfect meal,
God longs for you to take the steps above so that He can deliver you from every "next thing" you face in life.
I don't know a lot, but I have learned this:
No matter how great life may be at any given moment,
there will always be a "next thing" that is not so great.
Like the ocean tide, our times of joy and sorrow ebb and flow.
Balancing these changing seasons requires the ability to embrace times of joy while reflecting on these times during seasons of sorrow.
Today, you may be in a time of joy.
If so, praise God and be thankful.
However, you may find yourself in a time of great distress.
If so, do not be discouraged. God is with you.
Cry out to Him.
Remember how He's carried you in the past.
Ask Him to carry you today, showing Himself in mighty ways.
I love you all so much.
Have a wonderful Wednesday!