The coffee is just short of too hot to drink, but I sip it anyway. I’m not too crazy about the flavor. But when Dad dips Grandma’s sugary molasses cookie into his cup – I know it’s for me. I’m very little and sitting on his knee and enjoying the tiny kitchen and the smells and the family time together after church.
It wasn’t long after this time in Grandma’s kitchen that our town was flooded from a devastating hurricane and their house was ruined and needed to be torn down. They stayed with us, and eventually we moved what was left of their belongings into their new home.
Somehow my grandparents got very old after that memory. They seemed more crabby and gloomy after that. They moved into a nice little ranch house complete with a cozy, little eat-in-kitchen, but I remember, things just felt different. Everything felt new there. The carpet, the walls, the bathroom fixtures, even the concrete floor in the basement. It just didn’t “match” with my grandparents… It just wasn’t “their” house. It was a radical change. It seemed too modern for such a turn-of-the-century set of grandparents.
In the next few years we would celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and soon after that my grandfather would pass away. I remember sitting on my Dad’s lap and feeling him cry. It hurts when you lose a parent. I know. I really know too well now that both my Mom and my Dad are gone.
At some point in our lives – in our marriages, or in our family relationships – something brings about change. It can be a major upheaval, like natural a disaster, job loss or a death of a loved-one. Small things happen too, and if not handled properly, they can bring drastic and unexpected changes also.
For some of us – it’s at this major turning point in our lives – that the changes grow us and make us different. For the better OR for the worse. It may begin small and almost not perceivable, but the change occurs nonetheless. And the biggest surprise of all??? It can happen AT ANY AGE.
We don’t always have a choice in the fact that we will experience these upheavals, but we do have the ability to direct how we will allow them to influence us. It can make us BETTER or make us BITTER.
I’ve allowed many things to make me bitter, but I am never going to be too old to re-direct that into some thing better. I understand all this better today as I finish this blog than I did when I started writing it in the beginning of May – this year (2013).
**I had to clearly identify the upheaval in my life – it can be a little deceiving where the roots of the problems lie…
**I had to figure out how it had changed me in a negative way, and of course, how it was affecting others. That is usually where we throw our bitterness. It may grow inside of us, but it spreads like the plague onto others.
Bitterness and all the mess that comes out of it can come from our circumstances – but it’s also inside of us. We each have a little piece of it. I’d identify this as original sin. We need just the right formula to get the black bitterness to grow.
We have the ability to nourish and feed bitterness and take our punches and bruises in the midst of it all and then maybe eventually wallow in self-pity. I call that depression. I know that area VERY WELL.
But we also have the ability to lean on the Grace and Mercy of an Everlasting God and have Him nourish our problems and show us the way through the mess – and to be BETTER on the other side of it.
No mystery here though – we will endure some sort of battle, and we will have scars. The Devil, who is our enemy, will revel in those scars and poke them to get us back on his trail of destruction. We must continue to stand against him… most effectively by kneeling before God as many times as needed.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9
We are hard pressed on every side,
perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed.
That scripture didn’t feel real to me a few months ago …
I felt the despair.
I felt destroyed.
I did not, however, feel ABANDONED … In other words, I never COMPLETELY believed ALL of Satan’s lies.
Satan’s lies are like reeds in a basket that are tightly woven. Those lies and the defeat that they bring upon us are somewhat waterproof and impenetrable.
2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in jars of clay
to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
After many devotions on broken-ness that I have read lately, I believe that being broken is a powerful thing. And that God uses that broken-ness to show His power. His power pours out of that clay easier than that tightly woven basket that Satan would have us live in.
In other words? Jars of clay have cracks and imperfections and they sort of break easily and are more open.
Tightly woven baskets can be symbolic of a closed-off and controlled life that God can’t use very well.
There are some big lies out there. So this lesson isn’t just for me. And I don’t have a grip on all of it some days.
Because it’s easier to lie down and take the punches.
It’s easier to accept defeat.
But God desires more than that. He CAN and WILL pick you up and help you dust yourself off and show you how to realign with him …
To be used by Him …
For His Glory …
Because Satan is a liar and a thief and he is already defeated. Enough said.
I’d LOVE to share another recipe with you… This one is for a molasses cookie that literally reminded me of my Grandmother’s cookies. I hope you will try them and enjoy them. Maybe they will evoke memories of your childhood as well!
Giant Ginger Cookies
(make them small, or they take forever to cook inside)
|4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour|
|4 teaspoons ground ginger|
|2 teaspoons baking soda|
|1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon|
|1 teaspoon ground cloves|
|1/4 teaspoon salt|
|1-1/2 cups shortening|
|2 cups granulated sugar|
|1/2 cup molasses|
|3/4 cup coarse sugar or granulated sugar|
|DirectionsCombine dry ingredientsBeat shortening on low for 30 seconds to softenGradually add the 2 Cups of granulated sugar
Beat in eggs and molasses
Gradually add as much of the dry ingredients with mixer
Add the rest of dry and mix with wooden spoon
Shape dough into balls
Roll balls into the 3/4 Cup granulated sugar
Place 2+ inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet
Bake at 350 for 12 – 14 minutes
Cool for 2 minutes, remove and cool on rack