Last week I made oatmeal for the first time in months.
We’ve been packing up to move out of our home next week, so many of the items we use daily are stored away in boxes. We will be living with my mom until we find our next home, so her dishes and cookware are what we’re using. But this day we were in our half-ours home, and I pulled out my trusty old slow-cooker.
Now friends. There’s nothing simpler than this oatmeal recipe. Cooked slow in the crock, it scents the house with comfort and gives my family a great start in the morning. I know I can prepare it once, pour it into a 9×13 pan, and my family will have breakfast all week. So it’s the best, but it’s still just oatmeal.
Which is why I was surprised when the steel-cut oats, milk, brown sugar, and diced apples served up peace.
I chopped and measured, poured and stirred. I rocked out to the music playing from my phone on my messy kitchen counters. I ran out of non-stick cooking spray and found that the cupboard holding the apple corer was full of crumbs from the toaster, jostled into its place. And as I prepared the simplest of meals in my very real life un-Pinteresting kitchen, I felt peace replace stress in my heart, my shoulders, my brain.
Frayed nerves smoothed, I was calmer the rest of that whole day. I was able to roll with the little things that sometimes derail my day. I breathed deeper. I was kinder to my kids and husband. I was motivated at work. I went to bed early, and I was satisfied with how the day had gone.
Was there some kind of magic extra ingredient in that oatmeal, to result in such a day? The only explanation I can come up with is this:
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.
The burning sand will become a pool,
the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
That day in my half-packed, running out of groceries, crumb-covered kitchen, God gave me a stream.
A cool, refreshing oasis in a parched land of daily tasks that had dried out my soul. He used twenty minutes of simple meal preparation to create a pool in the burning sand of my heart.
It’s interesting that in this passage, God doesn’t refer to geysers, oceans, lakes, rivers or even ponds. He says stream, pool, and bubbling springs — all serene, tranquil images of small bodies of water. The dictionary tells us a lot, as it defines a stream as:
1. a small, narrow river
2. a continuous flow of liquid, air, or gas.
“Small and narrow” tells us that God doesn’t need much to make much. He works with us, friends!
While it would be amazing to have a weekly day at the spa (or sometimes even just a long hot shower), let’s be honest — It’s not happening.
But ours is a God who makes much of our small offerings.
A few minutes of worship, snatched while the kitchen is miraculously quiet, can become a choir. Our chapel is His cathedral.
And “a continuous flow” lets us know that even when we no longer feel the stream of peace, it doesn’t mean God’s stepped away. The pool doesn’t dry up. The spring doesn’t stop bubbling. The stream doesn’t run dry. God’s love leaves a lingering calm that can reign in our hearts when we feel anything but peaceful.
Where can you make space for Him to meet you today? While doing dishes, running errands, picking up toys, or having lunch in your cubicle? Wherever it is, whenever it is, He will show up.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
“God doesn’t need much to make much.” I love this. What a wonderful Father we have who can take our meager offering and make it a beautiful worship experience. God does talk a lot about big things coming from tiny beginnings…the mighty oak from the little seed…faith as small as a mustard seed….being healed by touching the hem of His garment. From tiny acts of obedience, trust, and faith, He makes the angels sing. The key though, is to follow His leading (which you did). How often do I shrug off God’s invitation to a stream in the dessert or a bubbling spring in my parched heart?? Taking your post as an invitation to listen, watch, and see when and where He is leading me into His presence. Truly lovely!!
Bev, I love how you speak of the little, trusting offering being made big by the Lord in His grace. It makes me think of the beautiful intimacy that grows in these mundane places, in the quiet and louds of our day. Thank you for sharing your heart here in this, dear sister 🙂
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
You, likewise, An….love your insights!!
Patty Farmer says
This was such a blessing this morning! Thank u!
Michele Morin says
As I read your offering of Scripture from Isaiah, I could hear the sound of Handel’s Messiah singing its way through my thoughts, and I’m rejoicing along with you that there is no such thing as a small gift in the hands of our great God! Sometimes the “not yet” of God’s ultimate salvation comes crashing into the “right now,” and it’s a marvelous thing!
Oh I love this Anna! Thanks so much for reminding us that peace can be found in the “normal” tasks of the day.
I love this sweet reminder. Gid wants us to be faithful in the little things. The same God who multiplied two loaves of bread and a handful of fish is faithful to us…He will multiply our offering. The internet needs more posts like this, sweet friend!
Crystal Twaddell says
Yes, He always shows up! It’s interesting, I witnessed this very sweet moment in my husband this week during a rare moment in the kitchen preparing a huge baking dish of this very oatmeal for his coworkers. It was clear God was using this time to refresh and stir something up in him while he was doing his own stirring. I’m not sure if he realized it, but knowing how desperately it was needed, I did. I truly think inviting God into the cracks of our day can often be the most profound moments. Blessings as you move and settle in. Crystal~
Thank you so much Anna for these encouraging words! I too am in the midst of packing up to move soon & have been feeling a tad overwhelmed with things around the house being unsettled, not to mention my daily routines. What a good reminder that God will be there whenever & wherever I choose to make room for Him in my busy days, even if it is no longer the organized planned out quiet times I used to have (since every spare moment now seems to be spent sorting & packing). I’m looking forward to being settled in my new home and establishing new routines, but for now I will cherish all that God has in store for me through this transition. The oatmeal recipe sounds yummy.
Anna, thank you for these gracious words that the Lord has blessed you with, this glorious sharing. It is such an encouragement, refreshing my soul. How good our Lord is to bring such grace of living waters to our souls in the mundane of our lives, showing His presence in the little things of our day as we rest in the seeking. I love your words “a continuous flow” lets us know that even when we no longer feel the stream of peace, it doesn’t mean God’s stepped away, reminding that He never leaves but is there seeking and waiting for us to seek Him with all our hearts so that the “chapel is His Cathedral.” May each of us seek and find His peace and grace in our smalls today, these gloriously blessed place of life. 🙂
Jeanne Takenaka says
Anna, I’ve done the moving thing . . . a few times, compliments of Uncle Sam. I love how you were able to find that peace flowing like a river in your soul. My last week has been beyond crazy, snapping at my boys, trying to accomplish way more than any mama should with two boys in tow . . . peace hasn’t been my companion on many of my jaunts. I know it’s, at least in part, because I haven’t had my daily time with Him. Being in His presence seems to store up the peace in my heart that flows into my days. Thank you for your beautiful reminder that His love is always surrounding us, He is always near, even when we may not feel Him.
I hope you find a new house soon!
Pearl @ Look Up Sometimes says
I was totally enticed by the title! And it was good reading until, “A few minutes of worship, snatched while the kitchen is miraculously quiet, can become a choir. Our chapel is His cathedral.” Then it wasn’t just good; it moved me. Two tears fell before I could stop them. Thank you, Anna. So much. May God bless our meager loaves and fishes to feed as many as he decides. So thankful He fed me through your post. Oh! And do you have a recipe link you’re willing to share? The physical food sounds good too! Thank you, Anna!
Anna Rendell says
Pearl, your comment made my day. Thanks for reading all the way through! 🙂 Here’s the link to the recipe: http://wp.me/p3cCDz-1T9 I hope you love it!
Kelli McKnight says
Such a much needed story on the truth of small offerings. I’ve probably been nourished, refreshed, refilled most, not by the big blessings, but by the holiness contained in the small and everyday. Thank you for sharing!
Rebecca L Jones says
I saw a cute little stream the other day flowing gently over smooth rocks, polishing the rough edges. And I remember once on a mountain road stopping to catch water that was trickling down a rock formation. It was cold and crisp better than any I ever tasted. May we taste and see that the Lord is good today, our living water, refreshing, polishing off the rough edges of the day.
Crystal Storms says
What a beautiful reminder, Anna, when most days I don’t feel I have much to give. But oh, for His increase, for His peace, for His presence … it is more than enough! Thank you. : )
Beth Williams says
I love the title of your article. “Streams in the desert” happens to be a devotional book by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman. I believe the reasons cooking the oatmeal sent peace was that your mind was off the daily grind of moving, working ,etc. and you were worshipping God with your music. I love having music on when I’m working in the kitchen. I dance a little and praise God. I’ve heard it said that the best way to face the future with confidence is to begin praising God in the smallness of life. Our God inhabits praise. He loves it when we sing aloud to Him. It can bring a calm to our troubled soul.
Blessings 🙂 – P.S. thanks for the recipe!
This made me yearn for Him and His streams in the wilderness. It spoke to my heart and caused me to feel His always-there acceptance of me. Certainly a message from the heart of our Father. Thank you and blessings to you.
Thank you for the reminder that God is our source and comes in to renew and refresh our very souls in ways we would never expect Him to come; I don’t know if I can express this thought the way it came to me …….but I will try. God has done some pretty awesome things! He created all that is…..and yet the most profound things seemed to have been done through the most humblest(not sure a word) circumstances……. He sent his son Jesus to save us……..Jesus was born in a manger; Jesus died for us…….He was beaten, spat on and nailed to the cross…….but without that there would be no redemption; He arose and ascended into heaven but sent His Holy Spirit as a comforter…….. He is so big yet he considers man and cares about our day, our concerns, ……..our challenges. His Love is overwhelming!
Great reminder that our small moment can become a celebration of time spent with God. I have experienced this before and needed the reminder today.
Deidre T says
A big and extravagant God can make Himself near and simple enough to touch the seemingly unimportant parts of our day. God doesn’t require much to make much…He’s still performing miracles. There’s peace and hope in this.
Oh that was such a gem thanks. Bles s you.