Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Grace in the Kitchen

A year ago, I was three months from my wedding day, and I was feeling pretty scared. Not of getting married, mind you--I was counting down the days until I would be Steve's wife and had no second thoughts--but of the domestic responsibilities that would go along with being married. Specifically, cooking.

Those who know me well know that cooking has never been one of my major interests or strong points. I never really had a desire or a need to learn--so I was completely overwhelmed at the idea of having to cook for Steve every night. I had no idea where to start when it came to planning a variety of healthy meals, grocery shopping, budgeting for food, etc. My cooking repertoire was pretty limited, and it wasn't all that long ago that I was clueless when it came to even basic things like frying bacon. (I tried to put grease in the pan first--I didn't realize bacon makes plenty of its own grease. Duh.)

Frankly, being in the kitchen did not put me in a very good mood. At the root, it was--what else?--pride. I don't like being in situations where I feel incompetent or unsure of myself. I have an unfortunate tendency toward perfectionism. I don't want people to think I'm stupid when they see I have no idea what I'm doing. (I even hesitated to share the bacon thing above.) On and on it goes. So, I generally avoided cooking whenever possible. Pride kept me from even trying.

Steve was wonderfully encouraging as I voiced my fears; he reassured me that he didn't expect me to be Betty Crocker. He enjoys cooking, so he said we could cook together. Also, thankfully, he's not picky--he'll eat just about anything. But I was still nervous. And come last July, I had no choice but to get in the kitchen and start cooking.

The resulting nine months of marriage have brought nothing less than an astounding outpouring of God's grace in my heart. By and large, He has changed my attitudes about cooking. I can even say that most of the time (though not always), I *gasp* enjoy it. (Excuse me while I spoon another large helping of crow into my mouth.)

Grace is the only way to explain it. I have no choice but to say humbly, "I was wrong about this--God really can, and does, give me what I need to be able to do what I need to do." I now find myself eagerly cutting out and trying new recipes. I experiment with adjusting ingredients (sometimes too much). I've had plenty of flops, but I often find myself actually wanting to bake something. (It helps that my aunt, uncle and grandmother bought us a KitchenAid mixer for our wedding--I love that thing :)

Case in point: last Friday, I made a cheesecake for Steve, complete with pain in the you-know-where homemade raspberry sauce. Cheesecake isn't one of my favorites, but Steve absolutely loves it, and rather than spazzing about how it would turn out, or avoiding the prospect of failure altogether, I gave it a shot. And it turned out wonderfully (not because of me, but because it was a clear, easy-to-follow recipe from my old friend Bethany Hopeman...by the way, are any of you IWU bloggers still in touch with her?).

I say all this not to boast in myself. Left to my own efforts and attitudes, I would still be wallowing in resentment and self-pity, pride and fear, hating the responsibility of cooking dinner every night. And I have not "arrived," either as a godly woman OR as a chef--I still have plenty of growing to do! But I am boasting in God, because by His grace, I am serving my husband and thriving in the role God has given me. I don't have to cook begrudgingly, out of duty and full of complaining; I can find joy in blessing Steve and honoring God. This is a change that only He could have produced--and so I praise Him for His grace!


Anonymous said...

Good job, Amy! I have never attempted to make a cheesecake- I am more of a cook than a baker. But I have a great EASY chili recipe on my new blog: www.mommy-at-home.blogger.com. I like to make it spicy, but you can alter it how ever you want. It makes a lot, so you can freeze it or share with friends.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful example of how the gospel effects change within us in situations where we might be tempted to think it has no relevance. Great post!

Jackie said...

haha we both know that I can make some pretty good cakes .. cheese cake included ... STRAIGHT FROM A BOX! haha gotta love Betty Crocker! :-)But I'm glad you have found that you really are domestic after all! haha I remember when you thought you weren't .. haha I'm pretty sure ALL of PR remembers when you thought you weren't! :-) But we still love you!

Anonymous said...

Hey Amy...If you want Beth (Hopeman) Fuller's contact info i can get it for you. Matthew helps out with the youth group she and her husband sponser. I'm sure she will be so proud of your cheesecake! Just let me know!

Brianne Hummel

Christin said...

I had to laugh out loud when you mentioned the raspberry sauce! Thanks for the good chuckle. ;-)

Amy said...

Brianne! So great to hear from you. Yes, please do send me Beth's email address. I knew she had gotten married but couldn't remember her new last name, and figured she wasn't using her old email address with her maiden name anymore.

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy.. I know we didn't know each other too well, but I was actually one of Bethany Hopeman's old roommates in the townhouses. I was actually wondering if you had heard anything from her, and if you had her e-mail address. I lost contact with her when I moved out of our apartment in 2003, and since then haven't talked to her. If you can help me out, let me know.


Laura (Leonard) Barr