A new friend of mine told the story of how a wild animal tore through their chicken coop and destroyed 9 of their new chickens. Nine. Enough to create havoc in their yard. Enough to create havoc in their hearts. And in the middle of this massacre was their 7 year old daughter. She rescued one survivor, giving it the care that only a child can give.
Yes, I did say this to my husband the other day. “Thank you for not listening to me.”
And he said the same thing back to me.
First, his story:
The last two jobs he’s had are because I sent in his resume when he told me not to. He’s forgiven me for the first instance, and thankfully he didn’t get any permanent scars. He did get a broken bone, a severe rug burn and a black widow bite, but he’s forgiven me for getting that job for him. Some forever-friendships came from that job.
The second time I sent off his resume when he said not to, it was for his current job. Have you ever seen someone doing what God designed them to do? Doesn’t it make your heart warm all the way down to your toes? I feel that every time my husband comes home from work. He was made for this job.
No, I’m not usually such a non-submissive wife. My husband makes the Ephesians 5:22 principle quite easy, since he tries his best to love me as Christ loves the Church.
But sometimes he doesn’t listen to me. And sometimes I’m thankful for that.
A year ago I was feverish and achy, sicker than I’d been in years and unable to do much more than lie on the bed and moan.
“I’m going to get a dog,” my husband declared. “It’s a two hour drive, and I’ll bring Kenzie with me so you can rest.”
“Please,” I croaked through a dry throat, “please don’t get a dog right now. Please. I beg you. Please.”
He didn’t listen to me.
He knows me well enough. Before an animal arrives I fight tooth, claw and nail against it. When the animal shows up, well, a different story unfolds.
“We have a dog named Faith,” my husband said. “Shall we name this next one Peace?”
“No.” I had said please so many times I couldn’t form the word any more, and Peace was too close. “Name her Hope.” I fell back into a feverish sleep, not even able to worry that they were heading out on a Friday evening through the worst possible traffic area in middle America.
Six hours later they returned.
And I instantly fell in love.
“Thank you,” I said to my husband. “Thank you for not listening to me.”
This dog has been a huge blessing in our life, and a huge promise from the Lord for the future:
Sometimes we desire things that we fight against. Have you ever done that?
I’m a guest today at Grace & Faith Author Connection and you can find my post here:
“You’re allergic to what?” I gasped, staring at the man I was so totally falling head over heals in love with. “Say that again?”
“Sweet potatoes,” he said, giving me another of his resplendent smiles.
“You’re joking, right?” I mean, he had to be. I wanted to marry this man. I wanted to marry him so badly I didn’t run. But I didn’t tell him my yearnings, so like every good woman in love, I pressed him with questions. And a very severe look.
“No, it’s not a joke, I’m really allergic to sweet potatoes.”
Since this one vegetable made up 3/4 of my daily diet, and occasionally sneaked into every meal, I had to be sure that:
1. He wasn’t just giving me a hard time.
and 2. I loved him enough to give up my main source of dietary sustenance.
He gave me his level look, one that I would come to know quite well. “You can call my mom if you want and ask her.”
“No. I believe you. But I suppose I should tell you the things I’m allergic to.”
He gave a snicker as if I was about to rattle off a list as a form of revenge. “What are you allergic to.”
“Well, not technically allergic, more like sensitive. Peppers and raw onions give me Migraine.”
“That eliminates about half of my diet, which was Mexican food.”
“So we’re even?”
“Is there more?”
I sighed and closed my eyes. “Cream cheese, sour cream, yogurt–”
“What about ice cream?”
“I’m good with ice cream.” I smiled, hoping he had a future date in mind. “Green tea is my favorite.”
“That’s all I can think of for right now.” I searched his eyes to see if he was ready to run.
He leaned in toward me. “Will you still love me if I don’t eat sweet potatoes?”
“Will you still love me if you can never eat salsa in my presence?”
His lips formed a kiss, met mine, gave me the answer.
But I had to know. “Well, what do you like to eat?”
“Meat and potatoes.”
I should have known. I should have known my attempt at a vegetarian diet wouldn’t last. “Okay, I’ll make you a dinner you’ll love.”
And as we’re approaching our 12th anniversary, we still banter about food and find things we will eat for love.
My husband’s favorite “Shepherd’s Pie”
- 1 lb boneless chicken, cut up
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- 1 cup rice
- 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp thyme
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- salt / pepper to taste
- 1 lb vegetables (usually carrots and peas, but green beans work too)
- 5-6 peeled and chopped potatoes
- 1 cup Cream or milk, split in half
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 stick butter
Preheat oven to 350F. Sprinkle rice over bottom of a casserole dish. Top with chicken and vegetables, 2 tbsp thyme, cumin, paprika, garlic, salt, pepper and cream of mushroom soup. Cover with 1/2 cup of cream or milk, then the 1 cup of water. Bake for 30 minutes
Cook potatoes in boiling water. Drain. Add 1 tbsp thyme, salt and pepper. Mash. Add butter and the rest of the cream or milk and mix well.
Take the chicken and rice mixture from the oven and spread mashed potatoes over the top. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden brown on top.
I know this isn’t real Shepherd’s Pie, but that’s what we called it in the early days of marriage, those days when nothing needed a proper name if a kiss was added to it. But this was tasty. Even if it was meat and potatoes.
What are some things you would eat, or have eaten, for love?
Below is a short excerpt from Pyromarne, Book 2 of The Heart of the Caveat Whale trilogy, which is a FREE ebook Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week! Book 1, will be free Wednesday and Thursday. If you enjoy the mirth you read here, you’ll love these books.
(Hint: Ulys, pronounced Oo’-lees, are the river people on the world of Aiqua Marrin. All the characters in the following scene are Ulys.)
The rich smell of fresh manure hit their nostrils as soon as Kedonta opened the smaller door on the side of the stables. The children sat on tiers of hay bales. Under the dim light from a single hanging lantern they whispered among themselves. A few of the sleeping horses huffed, then grew quiet.
“We’re trying to think of cheerful things,” one of the children told Kedonta. “Tell us one of your jokes.”
“Tell us a joke! Tell us a joke!” the children echoed quietly, clapping their hands together noiselessly.
“Is this the payment I owe for my breakfast?” Kedonta asked them.
There was a wave of mischievous nods from the children.
“Then one of you must make my breakfast,” said Kedonta with a sly grin, taking a seat facing them as if it was a theater. “Okay… What did the Uly say to the blueberry?” He waited dramatically in the silence, and then said, “I’ll be berry quick to eat you!”
There was a snicker from one of the younger children, but no other sound.
“What did the blueberry say in return?” He continued. He waited again for comedic effect before giving his answer, “Nothing! Blueberries can’t talk!”
The younger ones laughed, but the older children just smiled and rolled their eyes at him.
“Give us a good one!” said Rorktû who sat on the highest tier.
“C’mon,” said Kedonta. “I don’t have much today, and you’re a tough audience this morning. Let’s see… Why was the roving horse cranky?” He waited again in the ‘suspenseful’ pause. “He wanted a ‘stable’ home.”
This time the roar of laughter woke a few of the horses.
“I suppose I should feed them now that I’ve poked fun at them.” Kedonta pushed himself to his feet.
“Here,” Rorktû said, handing him a bowl of cereal with berries, “you’ve more than earned your breakfast, Brother Kedonta. I’ll take care of the horses.”
Obedience is so important to God. Jesus went as far as to say: “If you love Me you will obey My commands.”
There are times when obedience is like a windy path into the unknown. It’s frightening. It takes trust.
For some people, the request to obey is as bad as a string of swear words and spit in the face. For some, the desire to do what they want, instead of obey, is so strong, so overwhelming, it supercedes the desire for relationship.
The desire to obey the rules can do the same thing.
So is there balance? Is it found in obeying sometimes and not other times?
And is it important who we obey?
I believe the answer to many of these questions, and a few others, can be found in one of the most famous stories Jesus ever told.
Luke 15:11-32 (NIV):
11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.
“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate.24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.
25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
Both sons disobeyed their father, each in their own way: one by blatant disrespect and the other by his anger at another’s disobedience Both had their own brand of selfishness. Neither had relationship as a priority.
There is only One who has relationship as a priority all the time, and to that One we should obey. The Father always wants relationship with us to be restored. You can trust that and rely on it with your entire being.
Yet sometimes He asks us, as part of obedience to Him, to obey another *gulp* human being. That’s where it gets tricky.
There are a million trillion scenarios of ‘what if’ with that one. Most of the ones I think up aren’t that pretty.
When the possibilities are so frightening, why does He ask us to obey?
I have to confess, obedience is a sticky issue these days. And with good reason. When you obey another it gives them power over you. I don’t know about you, but that idea often makes my skin crawl.
I’d like to look at this from a different angle. What if obedience is another form of humility? In other words, if you want to be humble, practice obedience. This says, “I’m not the one with all the right answers.” It says, “I’m willing to put my relationship with you above the things I want to do right now, or with my life.”
I definitely don’t have all the answers to it, and there are times I REALLY wish I didn’t have to obey, but I’m thinking about it. Because Jesus deemed it extremely important.
What are your thoughts on obedience?
Enjoy some Keith Green while you share.
To this day, I still can’t believe they gave me the job. There I was, all my life referred to a ‘mediocre’ cook on my best days, and my favorite cafe, owned by a man named Bob*, hired me to work under new their amazing chef. Jeff was at least 6’6″ with a tattoo on half of his shaved head, he was one of the sweetest men at the coffee shop, so soft spoken, and the best chef I had ever encountered in all my 19 years. Before I tasted his food I had no idea what good food was like (aside from the sushi restaurant I visited at age 12). After one taste of Jeff’s Fettuccine Alfredo I was a foodie, sold for the rest of my life to the idea that food could be. that. delicious. My mouth waters just thinking about that creamy pasta.
How did I ever explain my credentials to someone of this caliber? I told him that I’d been cooking for my family since I was eight. And he deemed that enough experience to work under him.
I was never so excited to make $6 an hour. I mean, this was above minimum wage! And not only that, I got to work at the single coolest coffee shop in town, where I’d been hanging out since I was 11. People here were a second family to me. Not always sober, but family none the less.
I drank in every speck of advice Jeff had to offer, and although I was a sponge, I think he was exasperated by how much I didn’t know. Still, he was patient. And I had to learn patience too: the counters were built for his comfort, and I was slicing and dicing at my shoulder height. I’m a mere 5′ 1/2″.
But I learned, and tried my best to keep up with all the prep work, even when I needed a ladder to reach any spices.
It was a snowy evening. Bob, the owner, and I were the only ones working, and we didn’t anticipate many customers. This was New England, after all, and snows could lay on pretty thick in January. And since there weren’t many food orders that evening (the restaurant portion of the cafe was still very new) I manned the espresso machine as well as the chef counter. Bob, being the owner, had people to chat with.
At first it wasn’t so bad.
Then came the order for Fettuccine Alfredo, Jeff’s signature dish. I set the sauce on the stove over low heat to simmer while I made the three cappuccinos that had been ordered.
I looked up from the espresso machine to see five people had just come in from the blizzard. And Bob was still chatting away at the milk and lid counter. I really wanted to think well of my boss, but I wasn’t thinking well of anyone at that juncture of my life. I muttered many things I repented of later on.
Three orders down, four people in line, two more walking through the door, and the Alfredo sauce I’d forgotten about suddenly boiled over. I’d had it up just a little too high.
I rescued the Alfredo sauce, cleaned up the stove, wiped down the counter and rushed back to the espresso machine. “Bob!” I called out over the hustle and bustle of the crowd. “A little help please!”
“Oh.” He rushed behind the counter and began ringing customers up.
Once there was a lull again, I set a pot of rice to boil. I could easily make macchiatos and keep an ear out for boiling water. After all, a watched pot never boils. Right?
It turned out that I hadn’t cleaned the Alfredo sauce as well as I thought I had. There was some still under the cooking element on the electric stove. It bubbled and sparked against the element. Even though I didn’t see this, one of the customers had.
“Excuse me, there’s a fire. THERE’S A FIRE!!!”
After that, everything was a blur. Someone grabbed the fire extinguisher and started the sweep motion.
Someone was ushering everyone out of the cafe into the blizzard.
Everyone complained about the smell. The cold. The emergency vehicles swarming the cafe.
I don’t think Bob was very happy with me. He didn’t blame me, but he wasn’t happy with me.
And I didn’t want to imagine what Jeff would say.
“How’s the kitchen?” I tentatively asked one of the firefighters.
“It’ll be a long time and a lot of cleaning before you can use it again.”
I hung my head. A week later, I resigned from the job with profuse apologies to both the owner and to the chef I respected so much.
I had the biggest failure a cook could imagine. I’d burned down the kitchen.
After that, my cooking skills took off. I’d done the worst that could be done, and I could only go up from there, right?
Chicken and Spinach Alfredo (inspired by Jeff)
- 1 pint cream or half n half
- 1 c. or more parmesan cheese
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp garlic
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 handfuls spinach
- 2/3 – 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken
- 1 tsp. thyme
- 3/4 lb fettuccine
Sprinkle chicken w/salt, pepper and thyme and set under ‘broil’ for 5-7 minutes. Turn and cook another 5-7 minutes. Set aside, and chop when cool enough to handle.
Start water for pasta.
Heat olive oil in a frying pan over med-low heat, then add garlic. Once garlic is golden brown, add salt and pepper, then slowly add cream, whisking lightly. Add nutmeg. Whisk nearly continuously. Once cream begins to bubble, add parmesan cheese, 1/4 cup at a time, whisking each portion in before adding more. Once sauce begins to bubble again, add spinach. Stir continuously. When you’ve added the pasta to the boiling water, add the chicken to the Alfredo sauce and continue to stir.
Here’s a secret I’ve learned: drain the pasta while it’s still very al dente and add it to the sauce. Stir to coat the pasta. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for at least 5 minutes. The pasta will absorb some of the sauce’s yummy flavor during its last stage of cooking.
Okay, my mouth is watering and I’m going to go make lunch now.
I hope you’ve been encouraged–even if you’ve failed as massively as burning down a kitchen, get back up and follow your dream!
*Names have been changed.
I was so excited to be able to help get this paperback into an e-book! Peter Rodgers did a fabulous job of making the dry scholarly topic of NT textual criticism into an exciting novel. If you have a basic understanding of Roman history, you’ll be able to grasp the concepts and cultures represented in this book. One of my favorite aspects of reading this historical romance was that I felt planted in the time period, while at the same time finding characters I could relate to. You’ll see in the bibliographic notes at the end of the novel just how much study Rodgers put into this topic before he even sat down to write. And while some scholars have suggested that second century scribes tweaked the wording of the Gospels in order to combat heresies, Rodgers suggests the opposite: that there was a strong ethos about keeping the purity of the text. As one of the characters says:
“The original text must be copied…whether it helps or hinders our cause!”
The novel opens with accounts of persecution the Roman church faces, and the threat of persecution is almost always present throughout the novel. It throws into light what some Christians around the world face even today.
You can get this e-book FREE today until Thursday! Simply click on the cover below:
I love Shelley Hitz’s courage, tenacity and heart after God. I’m so blessed to host her on my blog as she’s releasing her new book, A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free from Pornography. So, without further ado, welcome, Shelley!
Healing the Brokenhearted and Setting the Captives Free
by Shelley Hitz
Over the past 12 years, God has taken me on a journey. It has been a journey of Christ healing my broken heart and setting this captive free. And now He is asking me to help others do the same. Isaiah 61:1 says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” In Luke 4:21 Jesus takes out the scroll and reads Isaiah 61:1 in the synagogue saying, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” Basically what Jesus is saying is that Isaiah 61:1 is his mission statement. Jesus has come to heal the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom for the captives and release prisoners from darkness.
Freedom for the Captives
One of the main strongholds keeping our culture captive today is sexual sin. Even in the church, many are getting caught up in struggles with lust, adulterous affairs and pornography. As a married Christian woman, I struggled with internet pornography for two years. It was a secret sin that no one knew about. From the outside I looked like I was the good Christian wife. But, I was living a double life.
However, the story doesn’t end there. Although it took time and has been a process of healing, I have now been free for a decade. God is using my story to help others find hope and healing in Christ. As I’ve heard it so well said, “God can turn any mess into a message, any test into a testimony, any trial into a triumph, and any victim into a victor.”
The Journey Continues…
My latest book, “A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free From Pornography: It’s Not Just a Guy’s Problem” is one way God is using this dark season from my past for His good. This book is not only for those struggling with sexual sin, but is also a resource for pastors, counselors and those in ministry. According to statistics published by Education Database Online in 2011, of the 40 million Americans who regularly visit porn sites, 33% are women. And in a survey we took of Christian women, of the 73% that admitted to being exposed to pornography, 25% said they were addicted.
It is a growing issue that needs to be discussed and we aim to open the door to confession and conversation among women in the Body of Christ who feel as though they are alone in this struggle. And our prayer is that God uses this book to heal many broken hearts and set many captives free.
Shelley Hitz has been ministering alongside her husband, CJ, since 1998. They currently travel and speak to teens and adults around the country. Shelley’s main passion is to share God’s truth and the freedom in Christ she has found with others. She does this through her books, websites and speaking engagements. Shelley’s openness and vulnerability, as she shares her own story of hope and healing, will inspire and encourage you.
Shelley has been writing and publishing books since 2008 including the book she co-authored with S’ambrosia Curtis, “A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free From Pornography: It’s Not Just a Guy’s Problem.” During their book launch on 9/26/12-9/27/12, you can download a free Kindle copy and also enter to win over $400 worth of resources. Find out more at www.ChristianWomenandPorn.com.
I wrote The Captives while living in Ireland, and I have to confess that the landscape and people did inspire me. I mean, how can they not?
This book is about an orphan named Shunda who travels the seas in search of other aquavians like him. Along his journey he meets Prince Mookori, who is fighting a war against the MerKing.
Mookori meets the beautiful and mysterious Qoshonni (pronounced kho ‘shawn nee). Was she sent to spy, or will she help win the crucial battle?
This book will be free today, tomorrow and Thursday.