I love to cook. It’s exciting to me to take a bunch of ingredients from my cupboard, throw them all in a bowl, stir, toss it all into a pan, put it in the oven and 30 minutes or so later watch (and smell) it all turn into bread or cake or something else great like that (cookies, muffins, biscuits…mmmm).
There are recipes that I’ve made dozens of time, but each batch turns out a little differently. There are different shapes, sizes, consistencies, and intensities of flavor that appear with each group of goodies that come out of my oven.
God made us each batch by batch. Yes, we all come from the same starter and some of us share the same basic flavor ingredients. But each loaf He bakes turns out uniquely. Each one is Artisan bread, formed by the one who birthed The Bread of Life. Each loaf has it’s own shape, size, color, texture, and flavor.
Recently, as I made bread, some questions came to my mind about this “loaf” God started to form some 29+ years ago…
What are you made of? I’m made from the same ingredients that God dusted His rolling pin with in the garden of Eden. I contain part of the starter dough that has the yeast of sin just like the rest of those formed by His hands. But the warmth of His love and forgiveness has given me a powerfully good flavor.
What makes you different than the others? The Artisan bread maker has given me unique characteristics with each careful kneed. He’s made me an introvert, yet an extrovert. He’s made me calm, yet passionate when something strikes a chord in my soul. He’s made me laugh and be able to make a selection of others laugh too. He’s made me to love to being around people, yet to love solitude just as much. He’s made me curious and made me content in His sovereignty. He’s made me Emily. He’s made me a new creation. He has a new name that He has given to no one else waiting for me once I’m completely done.
What shape have His hands formed you into? His hands have shaped me into a woman who hears of suffering and wants only to help through testifying to His goodness and faithfulness through Her own suffering. He’s moved me to a vision to reach beyond my reach. He’s molded my heart to travel this globe upon opportunities laid before me to learn from it and share His truth in love. His hands have left fingerprints upon me each place He has carried me.
What taste do you leave in people’s mouths? Is it unique to yourself or a trademark of the skilled artisan who made you? I must admit that there are some bites that are uniquely Emily and filled with yeast. Those bites aren’t lovely. But by His grace, there are other bites that taste of His goodness and leave flavors of His body and blood with those who partake.
How do you handle the heat? To follow up, do you cause others to melt as butter does into a good slice of bread or do you wreak of a burnt crust? As the heat hits, we each rise to a different level of “done-ness.” There are times when I smell a bit crispy because I’ve had all the heat I can stand. But there are others when a pat of cold butter melts right down as it reacts to the warmth of His love through me.
I hope you don’t think I’ve captured you to talk about myself. That’s not my intent at all. What I do hope is that you realize what an amazing masterpiece the ultimate Artisan has and is shaping you into. I hope you realize how much care He has put into working through the yeast of yuckiness into making you a new creation. I hope you know how valuable your unique flavor is to this earth. I hope that when the heat comes, you rise to the occasion and stand tall in His truth. I hope that instead of being a cold, stale entity, that your warmth causes even the coldest of hearts to melt in wonder of the Artisan.
And at the end of the day, when the loaf of you is gone, I hope that people come back looking for more and delight in the Bread of Life.
“Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35 NIV)