This Change is For the Good

When I moved back to Michigan fourteen years ago, I would have given anything to own a kitchen table. (Actually, any table, for that matter) In the last few months, I have stored many of my possessions, which makes me glum, including my beautiful oak kitchen table.

This table was my prized possession, and I honestly did love it. Doing my homework before purchasing it, pursuing the internet and researching all of the furniture stores in our area, window shopping in my spare time to look at different options, and saving to

buy it with my own money just before Eric and I married. It meant a lot to me; it was sturdy, extendable, and ready to seat the family for holiday dinner parties. This table was more than just furniture; it was a piece of stability that I believed would anchor our home and marriage. Boy, how wrong could one be!

God was orchestrating a big transition for us, one that was improving the resources available to our youngest son with autism, and this was important to me. We were temporarily moving into a much smaller house, which filled me with sadness; I wasn’t a happy camper. My husband Eric and I discussed moving the table into our rental home, and it just didn’t make sense. The new kitchen in the rental was much smaller than the one we were leaving, and my table would take up too much space.

I was heartbroken (although this wouldn’t affect our decision to move.) It was a done deal, and we knew God was moving our family north, giving us a new place to call home. It was also in God’s perfect timing after all the dramatic changes our family had experienced in recent years.

Seeing how distraught I was, my mom comforted me by quietly reminding me it’s a long way from the mind to the heart, and in this particular circumstance, I understood her sentiments entirely. Even though my mind understood the reasons to move, my heart had trouble catching up.

I had many unanswered questions, even though I was sure this was God’s will for our life. I needed a reminder that we haven’t stepped backward; sometimes, God stretches us before moving us forward to where he wants to grow and develop those deeper roots. I decided to take some time and ponder my mom’s thoughtful words and delight in her wisdom.

It took some time and many tears on my pillow, but acceptance soon followed. The sun came out, and I could see the light of God shining down. Seeing my son improve by leaps and bounds was enough motivation to keep me moving forward, and for this, I am so thankful to God.

Even though we are still getting planted in Midland and trying to grow those roots, we have found a wonderful community here and feel we belong. The boxes are getting unpacked, and the shelving is going up, although my beautiful oak table is still in storage. I’m learning to accept that this change is for the good and stepping out of my comfort zone to enjoy the transformation.

We are embracing the new, and I’m starting to admire my small farmhouse table. It’s cute, easy to clean, and tucks neatly into a kitchen corner. As a mom, it’s a definite win in my book! I’m learning to adjust to our new way of life, something I’ve instilled in my children to do all along. I know God is using this move to mold our family (especially me) to cultivate us so we are ready for the pruning season when the time comes.

Isaiah 5:6
“I will lay it waste; It will not be pruned or hoed, But briars and thorns will come up.
I will also charge the clouds to rain no rain on it.”

Homemade with Love and Extra Butter

     Sitting at the kitchen table that morning, I watched Mom bustle around the kitchen, prepping for the family dinner party scheduled for later in the evening. My troubled heart filled with annoyance as she pulled out her old recipe box and set it on the cupboard. She took her time, flipping through some brightly colored cards and asking me what I thought she should make for dinner that night.

                 Like I cared? All I could think about was how ugly her recipe organizer was! Pea-green, plastic, and desperately needing to be tossed into the garbage, or so I thought. Eying the box and rolling my eyes with exasperation, I silently asked, what’s the secret ingredient, mom? You don’t even use the recipe. I was in a phase back then, a not-so-pleasant time in my life, where Mom’s gentle encouragements boiled more frustrations inside me than water, and I was drowning in those flames.

                Thankfully most of the time, she pretended to ignore my hurtful behavior, probably more for my benefit than hers. She effortlessly prepared the meal and danced around the kitchen while cupboards opened and drawers closed, pulling out all the required utensil essentials. Never once stopping her methodical rhythm or missing a beat. She was like an orchestra conductor, swaying a baton meticulously around. Something that I will never forget. Mom was content and at peace, knowing that her kitchen was the heart of our home and that family dinners had good food and laughter. 

    Years have passed, and mom is in the same kitchen, using all her favorite gadgets and, most importantly, still cooking and recreating her famous masterpieces, still using that vintage recipe box. Though now, I have learned to cherish that old box, even searching for one of my own. I love the memories that come with it, all the conversations, and especially the joy.

                 I’m reminded of God’s word as I watch mom make her way around the kitchen now. The verse about rising while it is yet night comes to my mind. It’s beautiful watching someone give of themselves for the sake of others, sometimes rising just before daybreak to ensure she finished her task. Sitting in her kitchen today, I watch and breathe it all in.

                Time may have changed the color of the walls, along with the places where we are seated, but I am still a daughter watching an essential lesson from Mom.

                Mom added a little of this and a little of that to a large mixing bowl. Seasoning and spices, into a bowl, for a recipe that she recreates often. Like the seasons of life, she has a time and a purpose for everything. Mom showed us, kids, that sometimes we have to change how we do things, like with a recipe, adding or substituting the parts that were not part of God’s bigger plan. To rework the parts that were soiled. Over the years, I’ve added spice to the equation when I need to add sugar instead. However, my mom knew and was willing to share that the secret ingredient was always love.

1 Corinthians 16:14-Let all your things be done with charity.

Teachable Moments

I know you are looking at this vacuum and saying, “So What.” But there is a point to this post. The fact is, I broke this vacuum, and it’s now fixed. This moment didn’t just magically happen. There was some failure, a “giving up” escape plan, and ultimately, success because I gave it one more try. But this is not all learned. I received a special gift from my father years ago, which helped secure this victory.

It was 2013, and I was at the beginning of my computer engineering degree. In one of my engineering classes, there was a project assigned that would throw me for the biggest loop.

I needed to make electronic dice, something I had never done before. The lesson kit included all of the components and a detailed lesson plan, but one major obstacle was in my way. I didn’t know how to solder. So after some slight panic, I did what most guys would do when hitting a significant roadblock. I called my father. Thankfully in my case, my father happens to be an electrician and millwright of 30+ years, and thankfully was up for the challenge. After listening to my predicament, Dad dropped what he was doing and came to help me. Whew! There was a happy ending, I received an A for this project and ultimately graduated with my degree.¬†

Life moved on, and I forgot about that project until about two weeks ago. The day was hectic and I was sweeping out my car when one of my son’s toys plugged the vacuum. After struggling to release the plastic piece, it was obvious more had to be done. In order to dislodge the toy, the entire piece needed attention. Unfortunately, while trying to accomplish this task, I broke a few wires that power the brush. It was an absolute mess.  Out of pure frustration, I gave up, threw the whole thing into the trash, and went to bed.

In the morning, I had a feeling that my heavenly father was nudging me to try again. I knew I could solder those pieces together. I just had to try. Thankfully, an hour later, the repairs were complete, and the vacuum worked like it was brand new. What a fantastic blessing and I didn’t even have to buy a new one. What a win! This teachable moment from my father all those years ago helped shape my future, save me money, and spark a new sense of confidence in myself. Thanks, Dad!