Leeks, Onions and Peanut Butter

Seasons are curious things. Just when we begin to feel that we’ve mastered the challenges of a certain era in our lives, God ushers in a new phase. This post was written during a time of great challenge in the life of our family. However, from our new vantage point, I can readily spot the abundant beauty which saturated those years. Be blessed today as you consider God’s unfailing faithfulness in every season of our lives

I flip open the cupboard for the sixth time that day, peering into the shadowy recesses. And for the sixth time that day, the same jar of peanut butter meets my eye: Kirkland creamy, unopened.

And that’s it.

I want to sit and howl. Or better yet, lay on my belly, kicking and screaming like an indignant, stubborn toddler.

This was NOT how things were supposed to go. The correct game plan had already been carefully crafted: we trust God for His leading and direction. We step out in faith and obedience, fully believing in His miraculous provision. He shows up, meets our needs, and provides abundantly, magnificently displaying His great power and bringing Himself all the glory.

Remember, God? We had a deal.

But I’ve marched around this mountain before. In fact, the landscape looks uncomfortably familiar. Same shrubs and scrub. Same dry-as-dust hills.  And last time we were here, Lord, remember how this ended? Not too pretty. These eleventh-hour rescues of Yours… not a fan.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy peanut butter. But come on, all things in moderation, right? And peanut butter does leave something to be desired after a time. All that sticky mess on the roof of your mouth with no milk to wash it down… ugh.

I much prefer leeks and onions.

And You promised provision, remember?

This manna business is getting old. I close the cupboard and move towards greener pastures.

Mounds of laundry greet me, each heaped up like the pile I carry on my back, the weight of the wrestling. I’m weary and I’m done.

A little quail in the mix might be nice, Lord. You know, something to break the monotony, the sheer struggle of it all. ‘Cause I know You promised, but I sure can’t spot any milk and honey flowing in this barren space. How long can I stomach this daily bread?  

And you promised provision, remember?

It’s in that moment, the every-day, every-life moment of the common place that I need the revelation. I need the grace to understand the unspoken answers, because the silence is roaring in my ears.

I’m pairing up the socks, black with black and white with white. Piles of black and white are staring at me, and I’m wishing that life’s challenges could be compartmentalized so easily. Folded and neatly put away, each in its own tidy space. Formulaic. Simple.

I poke my finger through an unexpected hole. It’s high time for the charis moment, I think. The moment of grace. It’s been time for a long time.

Behind the breath of my veiled accusation, the revelation hits.

Who holds sovereignty here?

Is it me, with my mile-long list of wants and desires and dreams, handily camouflaged as needs? Is it me, with my hopes and plans and visions of how it all should run? Is it me, yearning for leeks and onions when what You’ve given is peanut butter?

What You’ve given. You have given. You always give.

It’s You. The sovereign One.

What He gives rarely matches our checklists. It rarely fits our grand personalized bill of expectation. But He gives. And in His sovereignty, He gives beautifully. He gives more than enough: our breath, our life, our joy, our peace, our hope… one gift poured out upon another. A continuous stream of unending generosity, liquid love.

But I, in my longing to wrest the crown and play the part, I demand from Him what I know I need, what He should know I need.

He whispers back, and if I choose to have ears to hear, I can hear the sound of His love calling.

Here is provision: what I have given is always enough. There is always more of Me, more than enough of Me, your daily bread. The Bread of Life.

The question is, can I look at that lone jar of peanut butter and embrace it as the more-than-enough provision of my all-knowing Lord? Can I say yes to the fresh supply of what I really need, rather than pine and whine for what I really want?

Everything in me defies the surrender; everything in me longs for the peace, the joy of complete capitulation.

I drop the socks and just muse the question.

There, in the space of quiet, I build an altar. Like the patriarchs of old, I’m taking the ground of this dusty, day-to-day earth, and I’m consecrating it as holy in the presence of the Holy One.

Streamroots-32-a2I wrestle the offering onto the altar; pride doesn’t die easily.

It’s You, Lord. You are sovereign. Be my enough today. I choose You, my Daily Bread.

And for my grumbling, complaining, whining spirit, reeking with pride and self-pity, He gives back the Divine Exchange: washed-clean eyes and a renewed, right soul.

The socks are folded in close packets, all jumbled on top of one another in a glorious heap of finished disarray. It’s supper time.

Hello, peanut butter.


Photo by Rachel Allene.


 

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12 comments

  • This is so good Tiffany. We all have those moments when He wants us to decide; to gripe and complain or to allow Him to teach us to be like Him, to give thanks and praise Him with a truly joyful heart, no matter the circumstances. To truly be thankful for the peanut butter. ?

  • Yes! Time, and beyond time, to stop looking backward and start walking forward to claim the ground He has given to us! Great word, Tiffany!

  • Yes. Thank you Tiffany for opening up your heart and sharing. I can totally relate. Seasons. Some seasons seem to last way too long. I’ve been feeling stuck between Winter and Spring for a very long time. Right at the edge of the transition between the two. Hope deferred really does make the heart, and even the body, sick. The Lord has shortened my list of needs by changing many of them into HIS WANTS for me, and they always involve me drawing closer to Him. That’s His greatest desire. Abiding in Him. Dependence, intimacy, and surrender, all toward Him. He is so patient with me. Who is waiting on who? He showed me that the answer to the longing is to fill up with Him instead of my wants throughout each day, and to have conversations with Him instead of with myself , which always turn into a form of prayer. When I do that, the hard stuff floats to the surface and overflows right out of that cup I’m drinking from. He wants me to come constantly before His throne and lay it all out. Whimper, cry, and beg. Done it all. But that never bothers Him. He’s not annoyed with it. He welcomes it, as a matter of fact. He understands. He knows. Thankfully, He knows ALL, from beginning to end, in-between, and thereafter! He is ALWAYS providing, blessing, answering, even if I cannot see it all at the moment. This Collosians scripture has been so comforting to me:
    “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Blessings
    Colossians 1:17

  • I am on my lunch break…sitting alone in a pizza parlor…reading your post. At first I found myself giggling – recognizing a similar scenario…
    Then the tears well and I can hardly read the words… Again… You hit the nail on the head. My new job has thrown me into the depths of disappointment and challenged my courage and sense of capabilities. And then I am reminded of something my great grandfather one time said… Do you know how to make good jam? You have to heat the liquid to a high enough heat . The impurities are brought to the surface- you skim them away and then you turn up the heat to a rolling boil… It’s the only way to make the jam sweeter and clearer. Well, I think this is where the good Lord wants me… He allows the heat to build because he wants me dripping with the sweetness of Jesus.. And this heat is uncomfortable it causes me to squirm.
    So I pray and ask him to do His work in me….. You know… I am reminded afresh – I can do all things through Christ Jesus who is my strength…. I want to be transformed by this work…. In me.

    • Yes, the heat is always uncomfortable! I wish so often there was another way to gain that sweetness, but He consistently brings us back to this, doesn’t He? He’s so good.

  • I am so glad this was not a post for a PB/leek/onion…something. GROSS.

    I loved this post. I’m tellin’ you… so Francine Rivers.

    I haven’t encountered this particular cross you’re writing about, but I can relate to the emotions, all of which I think I’ve experienced, and some of which I still experience…though thank God, less and less over time. It’s not a straight line pointed down. It’s more like one of those mathematical waves–sine waves?–but is pointed downward at maybe a 45 degree angle. Something that resembles 2 steps forward and one step back.

    So much I want to share with you and ask you. Your email is sitting in my box, waiting to be answered. It will be soon 😉 xoxo

    p.s. the mathematical genius here did actually fail the mathematical question posed to prove I am not a robot. 12 + 16 = 18…right? I don’t have enough fingers and toes to count the correct answer. I told you I was concerned about this high-level math…apparently with good cause.

    • Yes, two steps forward, then back again. It’s the way we roll so often! But we ARE going from glory to glory by His great grace.

  • Hi Mrs. Tiffany!
    I nearly stumbled on this blogpost as I was thumbing through Instagram tonight. I love the way you write! This story touched my heart in a big way, and I just wanted to say thank you. I sometimes think of the laughter and love that existed in your home. It really ministered to me in high school. Miss you!
    Caroline Stremic

    • Caroline, what a delight to connect with you! I’m so thrilled that you reached out to share your heart, and I thank you for your kind words. I am always filled with such joy when I recall that season of having you and the rest of the FCS folks in our home. What a sweet era that was in our lives! I pray that you are thriving in the new season which the Lord has called you to. Please keep in touch!
      Much love to you.

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