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  • Writer's pictureAndrea O Smith

God Met Me by a Frying Pan

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." Philippians 4:8

One rushed evening, I was at the stovetop preparing dinner. I don't recall the ingredients or the aromas that were sizzling over the heat, but I do remember the conversation and it stopped me in my tracks.

"Yuck, Mom! I don't want to eat that!" chirped one child.

"Yeah, that's gross," complained another.

My initial reaction was to snap back at their ungratefulness.

"Oh my gosh! You guys just ate this a few weeks ago and liked it. I can't believe you would complain about food you like."

I was angry that they were acting spoiled. Angry that I was cooking, one of my least favorite chores, and they were not even showing an iota of thankfulness. (What kid does though?) I was put off because they didn't know how good they had it. So, I exclaimed, "You don't even know how good you have it!"

My blood felt like it was boiling hotter than the frying pan and saucepan beside me. God tapped me on the shoulder. It wasn't physically, but it felt like He was trying to get my attention. I was annoyed because I was already busy trying not to burn this food that was likely to end up in the trash anyways, all while teaching my kids how to maintain a posture of gratitude. I heard/felt the lesson: "How blessed are they that they can complain? They are beyond blessed to the point that they are picky. Recognize the favor your family has been given."

Immediately my anger was swept away and I was overcome with joy that these children had choices for food, clothing, toys, games, shoes, etcetera. WOW! My kids had the privilege of complaining about what type of food they wanted for dinner! Who knew that my kids grumbling could refocus my attention to gratitude? My eyes welled up with tears as I explained to them that I understood they didn't want that food, but that's what was being served that evening. I attempted to paint a picture of the beautiful reality that they were living in such luxury that they even had the opportunity for food preferences. My wrath laid to waste, I was able to show them how they could worship even when they weren't happy with what was on their plate. Of course they weren't completely let off the hook. You bet your bottom dollar we watched YouTube videos about those who survive on a cup of rice per day. I absolutely showed them photos of children who were literally starving. However, it was less a punishment to make them feel guilty and more a reminder to be constantly in Thanksgiving to our Lord for his abundant provisions.

I was reminded of the Israelites who had been wandering in the wilderness for decades after their exodus from Egypt. They were literally given bread from Heaven (manna) every morning. They ate the same thing for 40 years! Can you imagine miracle bread on your front lawn every morning?? Sign me up! No more cooking? I'm in! I can imagine wanting to belly ache at that though after a time, even if it was miraculous.

Have you ever caught yourself complaining about your blessings? Too many dishes to wash? Too much laundry? How about heating/cooling your house? Is your internet juts too slow?? Is that Starbucks line too long? It's easy to get side-tracked by the things that make us uncomfortable or feel like heavy burdens. In reality, they are enormous blessings that are not afforded to all. I have caught myself whining, many times (too many to be honest). "Well, I guess that's a first world problem," I'll say, catching myself in the midst of my groaning. It's completely normal to be upset when something doesn't go our way or the way we think it should. If we can take captive our thoughts and turn them into gratitude to our Heavenly Father, our spiritual, mental, physical and emotional health will flourish.

"I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will recount all of your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1

Lord, you are a good and gracious God; patient with us in our foolishness. Please help us to take our ungrateful thoughts and hearts and lead them toward marinating on what is honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy of praise. Let us shout our gratitude toward the Heavens. It is only by your grace and mercy that we are able to speak at all. May our words be used to bring you glory. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

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