If you're a mom you probably do one thing on a regular basis. Feed hungry people. Over the years I've felt that heart-wrenching ache from viewing orphans in foreign countries and felt moved to do what I could to help and I'll bet you can relate to that. As I went through mundane mama tasks each day,I would sometimes feel so lost, and think things like "how can I help so many?" I'd begun to pray about it and slowly, God began to share His mission for me, for this season of life I find myself in. He spoke into the urge to help, and began to point His mighty finger into smaller, more manageable areas where He had placed me and my family, to make a difference. I wonder if you find yourself wondering what your mission is as well?
Surprisingly, one of the main places He showed me was my own home. Our neighborhood is filled to the brim with hurting kids. Broken homes, addicted or estranged parents, work-a-holic parents, you name it, there are hurting hearts all around me and these kids walk past my home after hopping off the bus. About an hour after school our doorbell starts ringing with lonely kids looking for a playmate and creating an opportunity for me to feed them. Sometimes it's physical and sometimes it's a quick hug and to listen to their dreams or fears and just be a general mama to them. I used to get kind of irritated, having to constantly dole out snacks and free babysitting to children that aren't mine, but ever since God has shown this to be my current mission field my heart has changed, and our home has become a much more relaxed place. I definitely don't always get it right and sometimes I'm even very human in my reactions and irritations and I forget the reason they come and the reason they are my mission.
The day this mission became very clear to me was a spring day last year. Like almost every day, school had gotten out and what felt like half the neighborhood descended upon my house. I had been baking a new recipe to share on my personal blog, and took a big plate heaped with a dozen muffins out to the group of boys sword fighting or nerf gun shooting, or whatever they were doing with faux weapons in the front yard.
With warm muffins in each of their hands, I shooed them all off the front porch and began setting up a little table so I could shoot a few photos of the other dozen muffins remaining. I kept darting back inside the house for this pillow, or that extra drinking glass and had gotten it mostly set up and looking how I wanted it. I had just placed all the extra muffins into a pretty basket tray, when the girls in the back yard burst in with a trampoline injury. I left the muffins for a minute so that I could go into the kitchen and examine an ankle. I needed to hug a few tears away from a neighbor girl and in the midst of that a friend stopped by with the materials for something I had agreed to work on for her. As she was leaving, I walked her out to the front porch. We were met by a swarm of bodies- all of the boys, now joined by all the girls, had almost finished inhaling the neglected, remaining muffins I'd left on the front porch table to photograph.
I was mad.
After doing a poor job at covering my frustration and explaining that "this was my job... and I do take it seriously... and you don't just go around gobbling up every last muffin in someone else's house for crying out loud," I sent everyone home in a huff. I'm not gonna lie, and it wasn't my finest moment.
After I stopped being mad, (which I'm ashamed to admit took a bit of time) I slowly began to remember that so many of those kiddos don't get to see a mama when they walk in the house after school. I wanted to shake myself for getting mad at all these hungry kids and realized that God was asking me to be faithful in the little things so that one day He might ask me to be faithful in something bigger. Oh how my heart ached that night. I realized for the first time that many of these kids show up at my house to get fed in every way, not just with food. I can't tell you how grateful I was in that moment, for the grace God extends our way when we get it wrong, while trying to get it right! It's not the first time that's happened, and I'm sadly aware that it won't be the last... but I love how God never gives up on us when He has placed a mission at our feet. I love that His strength shines in our weakness and that He can still make something very lovely even after we've broken all the pieces and burned something to the ground. Praise Him!
Once I'd gotten over my irritation, let go of my mommy guilt and begun to look at it all with a little bit of perspective I began to laugh. They say that laughter is the best medicine and I'd have to agree. I can't believe I left unchaperoned muffins on the front porch and thought they'd be safe! What was I thinking?! Afterward, (when it was safe to laugh at me) my man causally deadpanned, "Wow... they must have been some darn good muffins."
And in hindsight, I'll admit, yes those were darn good muffins. Better than the muffins, were the lessons and reminders that came from this moment and the mission that was birthed from my failure.
Vanilla Cinnamon Blueberry Muffins: (gluten free version)
2 1/2 cups thai rice flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp xanthan gum
*Combine all of the above dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.*
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthwise and seeds scraped (optional)
1 cup vegetable oil
*Beat the milk, cinnamon, vanilla and oil in a mixer for 1 minute, and add the following ingredients:
1 1/2 cups sugar
*Beat until combined. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
1 cup blueberries
*Fold blueberries into batter. Spoon into baking cups, about 3/4 full. (Dust unbaked muffin tops lightly with cinnamon and sugar if desired) Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.